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Archive for August, 2010

Bad Aer Lingers after online booking nightmare

Flight company’s booking system, not only riddled with software glitches, but they are so un-customer friendly that in order for ME to do THEM a favour and let them know why their web sales are so poor – alerting them to the software glitch, I either have to pay £s per minute to call their website helpdesk or post a blog about their immense screw-up (thereby shame-facing them at the same time) There is simply no other option available on their website for getting in touch with their webmasters – Come on guys a simple email address wouldn’t hurt, would it?

Sorry, deep breath, this has just got me so riled!

So, knowing that I was planning a short break in Spain later in the year, a friend kindly forwarded me a promotional mail he had received from Aer Lingus, about a sale on flights to Malaga.

 air lingus offer

 Well, I’m in Marketing, so I was never going to be fooled that it would actually only cost £29.99 (not when you take into count that I wanted to fly at the weekend, I actually wanted a seat and to take a bag etc), but anyway, £102.56 each for me and my husband (plus a handling fee of £20) didn’t seem too awful.

flight summary page

  Happy with the flight times – check.

Think an extra £370 pp to be able to take checked bags, have seat selection and airport lounge is a bit extreme, but happy to run with the cheap option – check.

Flights cheaper than taxes – typical – £20 handling fee snuck in there – typical – check.

Well, ready to complete the booking then…

Click continue.

 confirm details page

Start filling in my details, scroll down – OMG!!! How come the price has suddenly hiked itself right up to almost £600!!!!!

Ouch, that’s a nasty software glitch. Working at a company that actually manufactures software testing solutions, I can tell you straight off, that this here is an application error – and not just a malicious ploy by the budget airline to part you from more of your hard-earned cash! It seems that Aer Lingus have not been testing their application very well. We’ve seen time and time again that choosing not to invest sufficiently in quality assurance can really come back to bite you on the rear end! With ample time devoted to testing, better test coverage, some validation rules and database effects, this would have been picked up way before it went public. Oh well.

Maybe some customers might not have double-checked the price again, and unknowingly proceeded, only to be ripped off by the good chaps at Aer Lingus, but more likely, customers like me, would have just been put off and decided to check out prices at BA instead! I guess I’ll do a good dead and let them know – perhaps suggest they buy our software while they are at it… An hour later and after crawling their website, I discover, to my annoyance, that unless I want to waste even more of my time and money phoning a premium rate number, there really is no way to contact their technical team! GRRRRRR! Oh well, at least it is good fodder for our ‘Software Testing Hall of Shame’!

In trying to re-create the error before I put this post live, I came across another, completely different bug , where the system now wouldn’t process to that last screen, but looped me back to the start again. Do they do ANY testing on their systems? It’s just riddled with bugs.


Software errors force Boris to back-pedal on hire charges

Bikes

A cycle hire scheme championed by Boris Johnson is having to refund thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money after it was hit by glitches.

This week my favourite London Mayor, the enigmatic Boris Johnson, makes it into our Software testing Hall of Shame!

I was alerted to the fact that there was an impending hall of shame contender on Friday when I read sky news’ article ‘Boris Bikes’ Launch Despite ‘Many Concerns’

Mr Johnson apparently told LBC radio: “I have no doubt lots of things will go wrong.”

He insisted it would prove a “great success” in the long run but added: “The reality is that the software issues and technical issues of getting the whole thing up and running for tomorrow has been extremely difficult.” “It will be more of a gradual launch than a big bang. I have so many concerns it’s hard to pick one out.”

It seems that the blonde haired buffoon had not allowed enough time for adequate testing of the scheme and ironing out the kinks. By this point they were left with little choice but to go ahead with the launch despite concerns, but as the saying goes: Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Unsurprisingly Monday morning came with numerous reports of mayhem in the capital over the weekend.

The London Evening Standard reported that a quarter of both the promised bikes and their docking stations weren’t ready in time. The Boris bike section of the TfL website froze on Sunday and users yesterday claimed their electronic keys were not working despite activating them online. Problems have emerged with people who purchased multiple electronic keys from the same bank account – the daily or weekly subscription charge is automatically levied on all keys as soon as one is used, even if the others are not in use.

Oh dear, Boris.

The Telegraph humorously reported that ‘Mr Johnson, who describes himself as cycling like a “very elderly French onion seller”, admitted he is expecting “delirious” criticism of the scheme.’