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.”