Report: Too Many Airline E-Commerce Sites Stuck on the Tarmac

Written by Fred J. Aun
April 29th, 2009

Fortunately for Lufthansa and JetBlue, the skills needed to keep airplanes up is very different from keeping E-Commerce sites up. Those airlines were among the 62 percent of major airline E-Commerce sites that had significantly “unreliable” uptime performances.

Airline E-Commerce sites in general enjoyed “considerably worse” reliability than most other E-Commerce sites even though their availability is crucial for customers trying to get urgent ticketing, flight status and other real-time information, according to Pingdom, which monitors site uptime.

Despite those issues, many airline sites place a much lower priority on strong uptimes because airline customers are generally much less likely to change carriers based on slow site performance. An unhappy customer visiting Barnes & Noble’s site will jump to or with the least provocation, but an unhappy Continental customer is much less likely to go through the extreme hassle of switching airlines.

Pingdom rated JetBlue as having the worst uptime while KLM and United Airlines fared the best. The firm also found that airline sites have an average of more than 44 hours of downtime yearly, noting “this is considerably worse than the average Internet Web site” downtime of 35 hours annually. “The outages deny time-critical and vital information and transactions for customers, investors and other stake holders,” Pingdom’s report said.

The company monitored the Web sites of 42 major airlines between Nov. 19, 2008, until March 19, 2009. It found the KLM site up and available 99.99 percent of the time and the United Airlines site functional 99.98 percent of the time.

Pingdom said 26 airlines failed to reach the 99.8 percent uptime level it considers to be the “absolute minimum for a modern E-Commerce site.” A 99.8 percent uptime means that a Web site can be unavailable for a total of 1 hour and 26 minutes per month (30 days) or, put another way, 17 hours and 31 minutes in a year,” the Pingdom report said. “This should be enough time to cover any maintenance needs and a quick reaction time when there is a problem with the website can minimize any other downtime to acceptable limits.”


One Comment | Read Report: Too Many Airline E-Commerce Sites Stuck on the Tarmac

  1. NPS Says:

    Hmmm, so it didn’t count CRS problems with actually making a booking, just HTTP error 404 or similar. So those of us who fly United and AA and had MAJOR booking issues this last year don’t get into the mix.

    The worst that was counted; Lufthansa and JetBlue, I’ve yet to out of 10 bookings on each find a flaw or problem using their sites. In fact, the Lufthansa site I find to be one of the easiest to deal with for a non-US airline.

    I find some of the Asian sites the worst as their e-commerce sites are nothing more than a “part online” “part offline” approach. They take all the info, check availability and check your payment – BUT don’t issue a ticket. That is done my someone manually, and upto 12 hours later. So much for true e-commerce


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