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Issues with Data Storage Cause Flight Delays

The airline Jetstar suffered a major technology failure on one of the few days before Christmas. The company had issues with their data storage overnight. Despite resolving it by 7.30am the following morning, the outage meant that staff had to process passengers manually.

Jetstar is an Australian low-cost airline that operates to 35 destinations. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Quantas and was founded in 2003.

This manual processing of passengers was what caused the delay, as staff couldn’t operate as quickly as the computer systems would usually allow them to. The day affected is one of the busiest travel days of the year and it is estimated that around 70000 passengers were delayed for around one to three hours.

“It is a special time of year. We never want to disrupt our customers or delay our customers in any way,” said David Hall, the Jetstar CEO, when speaking to reporters in Melbourne. “Again I apologise and we are working hard to ensure they will get to their destination very quickly and as much as we can this afternoon.”

Hall said that Jetstar was working with Qantas to ensure that everyone affected would get to their destinations and make their connecting flights. Where applicable, customers were moved across to Qantas flights, ensuring that disruption was kept as minimal as possible.

A select number of Jetstar passengers took to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to complain about the delays and the supposed lack of communication from Jetstar, despite the issue being resolved relatively quickly.

On the other foot, one employee took to her personal account to call those complaining “a bunch of whingers”. Jetstar apologised for this individual’s comments and said that they were inappropriate and don’t reflect the views of the company.

Hall said that the data issue has been identified and that he was hopeful that a similar incident would not happen again.

While data outage or loss means that vital files can’t be accessed, have you considered and planned for what that really means? The majority of modern businesses rely on constant access to their data in order to keep operations running smoothly, as Jetstar found out.

Your company might have a backup plan in place, but consider the need to get this data up and running into the workflow at short notice. While Jetstar managed to get their systems back by the morning, employees still had to manually process their customers. They’ve no doubt rectified this issue for the future, but it’s best to plan ahead so such an incident doesn’t occur.

However, the bottom line is that it’s probably never truly possible to plan for every eventuality. If you’re a smaller business you may not consider it cost effective to invest greatly into your backup plan, but consider the loss of revenue or trust that your business might face if it suffers any sort of data outage. This is especially true if you’re an outward facing firm that has to deal with customers.


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