What Happens When You Get It So Wrong

In my experience of releasing new features on a web site, never ever tell your users until you are completely satisfied they are stable. By that I mean, one can test like crazy on a separate test server but never until you go live do you know if that new feature is going to crash your server or site, if you don’t have the eyeballs of your entire userbase watching the site crash, it is easier to manage. Why I am telling you this?

Heathrow airport recently got it so so wrong. Now I am talking about a web site above, something that in reality does not affect the functionality of your life. We can all live without Fuelmyblog or a cell phone for the day or even twitter! But when you are set to go on holiday, one you may well have saved for two years for, one that requires your expensive skiing kit to start the holiday, one you are looking forward to relaxing on, and the chaos at Heathrow Airport happens, that is horrific. I watched many people on the news crying because they knew in advance that when they crossed the Atlantic, they’d have no baggage.. Others had their flights cancelled, others missed flights due to enormous queues..

This sort of thing should not happen, why not start off with a couple of flights per day and slowly increase it, just like launching features on a website, slowly increase the load until you are sure it is stable. Myself and Paul O’flaherty are off to Sobcon (Chicago) in 2 weeks, flying with BA through Terminal 5, we are taking things like laptops, video kit etc and it would totally ruin what we are doing if the baggage was lost, totally and utterly. Then the folowing email came in, phew!

“Dear Mr DIXIE,

Please note there is a change of terminal affecting all or part of your booking.

You may have heard the news that British Airways and BAA have agreed to defer the move of the majority of our long haul flights from Heathrow’s Terminal 4 to Terminal 5. The move, originally planned for 30 April, will now begin in June.

Although we have seen a steady improvement at Terminal 5, we want to be sure that our customers can be confident of high service standards when the terminal is handling larger numbers of passengers. Therefore, the majority of our long haul intercontinental flights will continue to operate from Terminal 4 for the time being.

All or part of your British Airways itinerary will now operate through London Heathrow Terminal 4.”

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3 thoughts on “What Happens When You Get It So Wrong”

  1. Very interesting Kevin. I hate to add fire to the fuel(no pun intended), but, we have been having enourmous problems over here as well with cancellations.

    The reason being given is that the FAA was too close and friendly with all of the airlines and were over looking obvious problems.

    As a result almost every major airline hd complete cancellations almost straight across the board all over America. Literally leaving thousands stranded all over the place. This went on for weeks. As of late, they are reporting that the issue has been resolved.

    But, now hearing that BAA is experiencing problems with cancellations and such, it does lead one to wonder if we are indeed being told the real story as to why the flights are being rescheduled and/or cancelled.

    Sorry it has taken me so long to get back here to read. But, I have had so much to get caught up with.

  2. Oh Kevin,
    Remember that picture of you posted in the Guardian? well, I think it was a great picture.

    Would you pretty please email me a copy of it? Or simply comment back here with the link to the post?

    I know you are busy…but, I am working on highlighting some International blogs this week. So us Americans can see just up else where around the world.

    And, I could never ever do a highlight week and leave you guys out!!

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