Sunday, August 16, 2009

Functional Online Travel Booking System

Having given up trying to book airline flights with the Qantas, Jetstar and VirginBlue web sites, I was wondering what to do next. On my blog posting Google AdWords had placed a banner ad for WebJet. So I went to their web site (I didn't click on the ad, as that would violate the rules about clicking on your own ads). I found the WebJet web site allowed me to book multiple flights at once (which Virgin did not). It also allowed me to book one flight with Virgin Blue and another with JetStar (which neither airline's system would allow). I was able to register with the WebJet system after having selected the flights.

The system was still not completely trouble free. On Firefox for Linux the Web 2.0 interface tended to jump around. A screen refresh would result in blocks of content moving around the screen for a few seconds as content arrived. Also the left third of the screen was a plain block of colour most of the time.

Perhaps the company should introduce an accessible mobile version of their web site. That is one designed for a smart phone and for people with a disability. That would reduce the amount of stuff the web designer could clutter the screen with.

Just as I was about to confirm my booking I noticed an option for saving my travel search, I clicked this and found that rather than saving everything it erased the details and I had to start again. However, that was a minor glitch.

About the only other problem I found was that WebJet did not allow me to enter more than one frequent flier number when registering (but I was allowed to enter it later).

Overall the online travel website option was a much more pleasant experience than airline web sites. Perhaps this is deliberate, with airlines wanting to concentrate on providing flights and leaving the booking process to specialists.

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

Having been unable to use the QANTAS web site to cancel a booking, I phoned to do so. It was annoying to get an SMS several days later about the flight I had canceled. I called QANTAS again to be told that my cancellation had been entered into the system but only partially processed. QANTAS must have an exceptionally slow computer system, if it takes several days to process the transaction. The reason I was given by telephone was due to strikes. Clearly this is nonsense as a strike by aircraft engineers is unlikely to slow down the computerized ticketing system.