Flightradar24, the plane tracking website, has gone down.
Users were shown an error message that joked that the website had been “cancelled” in the same way a plane might be.
It made clear that the problem was on Flightradar24’s end, and was the result of a seeming technical problem.
The outage came amid an increased interest in the flight paths of a variety of planes.
On the same morning the outage hit, users were tracking a plane believed to be carrying Nancy Pelosi to a controversial visit to Taiwan.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 2, 2022
Just before the outage, Flightradar24’s website had highlighted the interest in that plane, noting that it was the most followed flight on the site and that it was being watched by 300,000 people.
In response, a user had asked whether the site was able to handle such a huge amount of interest. “We are monitoring the servers and adding as much capacity as possible,” it said in reply.
The flight believed to be carrying Ms Pelosi is still not the most closely-followed on Flightradar24. That record is held by a flight from Berlin to Moscow, which was carrying Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
Plane tracking data has also become a key point of criticism of a number of celebrities. A range of online trackers have been using publicly available data to chart the private flights of figures such as Taylor Swift, Drake and Kylie Jenner – leading to criticism of the vast amount of pollution emitted for their often very short flights.