By Harry McCracken | Monday, May 16, 2011 at 12:48 am
Virgin America is my favorite airline. Actually, it may be my favorite company, period, at least among large ones that I give money to on a regular basis. It’s a tech-savvy airline for tech-savvy people, with Wi-Fi on every flight, power in every row, and an at-seat entertainment and information system with umpteen features (my favorite: the ability to order a Diet Coke at any time). Just as important, Virgin also has employees that live up to the concept of the Friendly Skies in a way that a certain other airline I used to fly a lot doesn’t match.
Usually, the Virgin Web site is part of what I like about it–it’s nicely designed and makes buying tickets and checking in pretty painless. But at the moment, the site is down. The notice alerting visitors to that fact has a timestamp of 5pm on Sunday night; as far as I can tell, though, it’s been suffering from nagging problems for days now. It’s been nearly a week since I started trying to book a trip to San Diego, and I’ve failed to finish the task every time–the site keeps choking before I get a confirmation. And the price of the tickets in question have gone up in the interim.
No, I can’t call Virgin and talk to a real person: the reservation system they use is down, too. And the computer problems are impacting people who are already flying, too, judging from the Twitter chatter:
It’s interesting that the people who are on flights seem to be a little less irate than those who are trying to use the site: it’s possible for a human staffer to make the best of a bad situation. Web sites, however, can’t show grace under pressure. I winder what’s wrong, why things seem to be getting worse rather than better, and when things will be back to normal?