Poxy BA websites stuffed again!
6th September 2023 at 10:32SteveCroydon
Once again ba.com is stuffed. You login only to be asked to login again after another page or two. Backspace/forward-space pages and magically you’re signed-in again without retyping your userid/password.
Also hotelsandcars.ba.com is buggered. It will only show cars, no hotel selection/search tab. Needless to say I have “successfully” used these sites recently.
I’ve cleared history/cookies = the same rubbish.
I’ve worked in big IT data centres for 35+ years in technical and management roles with responsibility and budgets of £ millions. The quality of Internet coding is appalling and BA is one of the worst.
The contractors, sub-contractors, out-sourcers, developers, testers,managers and board level directors should all be booted for the poor quality of the operation.
I laughed when I heard BA was using 200 people to fix the problems. Presumably that’s 200 people scattered across the world who know sod all about airline logistics/processes and have never actually used the websites.
Quite obviously untested changes are just being randomly loaded to the live site.6th September 2023 at 10:38SteveCroydon
Of course I forgot to mention the ongoing:
* 403 Forbidden errors that started a couple of months ago at the same time as the 200 people
* the regularly disappearing BAEC Avios/TPs transaction history
* the regularly disappearing list of your upcoming bookings
* endless “sorry there was a problem” when trying to book a redemption seat
* the deliberate delaying of requests via the tagman website/function
Anyone else like to add to the list?6th September 2023 at 10:48JDB
Yes, BA’s IT is terrible, but so is that of many airlines and other companies that have grown by acquisition and tacked various different systems together. Legacy airlines and banks are major culprits.
In the case of BA, it wasn’t a founder member of Amadeus but now runs that alongside BABS together with bits of BCal, BMI, Dan Air etc. Iberia was a founder member of Amadeus but still has rubbish IT. QR, a much newer airline has terrible IT. As it turns out Sabre was a much better and more scaleable system.
IAG/BA has spent fortunes on consultants but nobody has yet come up with any sensible/ practical solution at any price. The TSB fiasco looms large when anyone considers a complete reset.
@SteveCroydon – if you have the magic solution, they would love to hear from you!6th September 2023 at 11:07SteveCroydon
I’m well aware about BABS/Amadeus/Sabre etc. I have friends who worked at BA for 30+ years. Even after many years running on Amadeus, it still didn’t offer half the functionality of the old IBM mainframe-based BABS.
I know other airlines have inadequate IT – that’s not an excuse.
Throwing 100’s of people at such projects doesn’t work. A small core team of the best people who know how the system works is the best solution. Cut out endless subcontractors/out-sourcing/consultants/etc and get some technically competent people and hang on to them. A few good individuals, not endless “bums on seats” from large companies with huge overheads and mark-ups on everything that moves!
Management/directors who don’t know their keyboards from a hole in the ground are a waste of space and money. You can’t manage something that you don’t understand.
With the Internet everybody thinks they can write code and work with computers – NO!
If I had written code like this or managed such a project, I would expect to be fired. I would also have fired people working for me who produced such garbage.
BA wouldn’t want to speak to me or deal with me. The truth would hurt and we know what the PLC directors fraternity are like. You stuff up in company A, leave with an undeserved payout and your colleagues at Company B then take you on. Repeat ad infinitum.6th September 2023 at 11:25davefl
@SteveCroydon … Standing ovation from the gallery ….6th September 2023 at 11:46AJA
I’m with Steve on this. I just tried to log in on the app, no dice. Then tried using the mobile website and just the direct manage my booking bit without actually logging in. Seems the IT boffins at BA have redesigned the page as it now asks you for your first name, your last name, the route you are flying and the flight number in addition to the booking reference. Stops short of asking for your inside leg measurement but it still errors out 🙁
Fortunately there is the option to return to the old style layout where you only need your surname and booking reference.
Unfortunately having successfully got in when I went to select my seat it told me I could do so for a fee! Except I am supposed to be able to do so for free 7 days out as a rust, sorry Bronze, member.
So will try again later. Maybe I’m just having a bad day along with BA.
It seems to me BA is trying to put the gloss on everything without actually fixing the underlying issues. It’s a form of distraction. And even that’s not working.
And excusing BA because other airlines are equally bad is just silly. That’s like saying there’s no point complaining.
If that’s the case perhaps @JDB would care to go to the Guardian and put them right on complaining of the issues the government is suffering with lack of investment in school building maintenance? I’m sure he’d get thousands of up votes for telling them other governments are just as bad.6th September 2023 at 12:03Andrew.
Yes, it’s all a bit rubbish. A standard multi-city quote will now only show the first 8 flights a day between Edinburgh and London, so excludes evening flights – the whole point of my positioning flight plan.
A BA Multi-city flight and hotel booking will only show the first flight of the day from EDI or GLA and on the return.
The former can be worked around by searching on Google Flights and clicking through, no use for package booking though.6th September 2023 at 12:10NorthernLass
For the first time in a few days it’s been fine for me on my laptop, bookings all showing and I’ve been able to price up a BA holiday itinerary and the system has agreed that my flights do actually exist! I then got a customer survey asking how my experience had been …6th September 2023 at 12:15JDB
@AJA – I have in no way excused BA, but merely pointed out they are not alone in struggling with the problem, yet nobody has a good fix and it’s not about money. They are acutely aware of the problem and it’s very costly for BA to operate with this flaky IT and if there were a good solution that cost hundreds of millions, they would do it. And the extraordinarily rude and sweeping dismissal of plc directors clearly shows the OP doesn’t meet (m)any!
Legacy banks devote billions to IT, yet do the UK big four have decent IT?
Re schools, have you seen schools/classrooms in France, Spain, Italy or the US or indeed some of their hospitals? Like us, they have good and bad ones, old ones and new ones. Again it’s no excuse but governments all over the world are desperately short of cash. Obviously you have fallen for the drama created by the media – but we are only talking about c.1% of the c. 25,000 schools in England affected by RACC!6th September 2023 at 12:29SteveCroydon
@davefl – Thank you.
@AJA – “putting the gloss on everything” – absolutely. Let’s change the font and background colour scheme, but not the underlying logic/code errors. Let’s spend our budget on something before we lose it. Let’s just protect our little empire, despite not having a clue what we’re doing.
Quite obviously changes are being made “live” without adequate/any testing or any consideration of the overall effect.
I’ve just gone to ba.com and I am getting:
Sorry. We regret to advise that this section of the site is temporarily unavailable.
This is on the home page! I was going to have a look at the dogs’ breakfast of the modified MMB.6th September 2023 at 12:32StanTheMan
Always amazes me how many of these 30 year plus IT experts are so quick to bury other systems without detailing which world class faultless systems they built in their careers…..6th September 2023 at 12:43Richard Peters
@Stevecroydon nice to see you off the long run and glad it wasn’t just me this am! Switched browsers/cleared history/changed computers etc and each time fell over once hotel chosen and went to pay! Called Goldline and booked with an explanation that “always difficult when a sale is launched” though tbf it wasn’t his fault and he was very helpful. So nice 480 TP bagged for 2024/25 It is however exceedingly annoying that BA are aware but do FA to sort!6th September 2023 at 12:45SteveCroydon
@JDB – the assertion that BA would fix it, almost regardless of cost is certainly not true. There was a recurring situation each time when there were en-mass flight cancellations, as with 9/11, Icelandic Ash Cloud, IT failures, etc. The IT systems would incorrectly lift/remove the e-tickets for 10,000’s of un-flown passengers when the flights were cancelled, thereby preventing re-booking. This required 100’s of backroom staff to hand-crank these back into the PNRs to allow the pax to travel.
Each time there was the usual wailing from management “why, how, what can we do to prevent this again?”.
Answer: spend a £ million or two to fix the bad design/code in the flight cancellation processes.
Response: oh no, we can’t do that.
Once again – repeat ad infinitum!
With regards to meeting with PLC directors and private LTD directors – I’ve met and worked with them. Also, just read the news about directors getting the chop/resigning, being paid off and slivering into another company, despite their obvious failure. It’s always their success (“give me the bonus”) but never their failure (“pay me to go away before I do more damage”).6th September 2023 at 12:49SteveCroydon
Just gone into MMB from the home page. Guess what? It only wants surname and PNR reference.
Another excellent change been backed-out!!6th September 2023 at 12:54NorthernLass
That’s always been the case.6th September 2023 at 13:14SamG
It has been particularly bad recently.
My understanding is they recently secured the funding from IAG to work on a brand new build of website and app which they’ve got 200 people working on. There is a particular focus on self service and shifting volume from the call centres back online – so bringing more changes into scope of self service, better disruption management tools etc. I suspect this is how they built the business case by promising to reduce cost of handling these transactions today.
These are actually things the US airlines are very good at so hopefully they’ve managed to find some people who can share knowledge / best practice (although as @JDB says – Amadeus is seemingly not great – none of the US airlines that have great apps use it and airlines that do e.g. Qatar, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines also have issues with their digital tech)
Anything happening in the meantime is by the BAU teams / vendors
This is the right thing to do and it will hopefully be much better and fingers crossed the fact they’re building it as a standalone version means they can do a long beta period and iron out any issues before shutting off any of the old stuff!6th September 2023 at 13:21AJA
Update: Good News! I successfully managed to get back in to MMB and it said “choose seats for free”.
Bad news: only 4 single seats to choose from. None of them im a row together. All other seats blocked out. So much for having seats to choose from.
So I am assuming that despite not actually having a seat allocated BA’s IT has secretly allocated two of the blocked off seats to me and OH next to each other.
Let’s now wait until t-24 hours and see if that’s actually the case.
On a positive note I see that the TP and Avios from the outbound flight have been credited to my account. Once the return is flown and the double TP from the BAH offer post I will have renewed rust and be half way to getting Silver back. 😀
@JDB I still think by saying other airlines are just as bad or worse than BA you are excusing BA from doing the right thing. Just because another airline is as bad or worse than BA does not mean that BA should not be doing more.
It really is in a pickle since the obvious thing would be to throw the whole IT system out the window and start again but that would cost a fortune that it doesn’t have. So instead we have BA applying sticking plasters to gaping holes in the bucket where the water floods out.
I was actually being sarcastic about The G and it’s criticism of the government. It is just using the scatter-gun approach to journalism of flinging as much mud as possible to a government they dispise in the hope that something sticks.
If Labour do get in next time around expect the line to be that the Tories have left the UK in a mess so we can’t expect Labour to enact miracles any time soon. In other words expect more of the same as today for the foreseeable and you won’t be too disappointed6th September 2023 at 13:41PeteM
It really is in a pickle since the obvious thing would be to throw the whole IT system out the window and start again but that would cost a fortune that it doesn’t have.
They do have the money, they just don’t want to spend it and don’t need to, as this patchwork of systems mostly works and they can keep making loads of money despite the occasional meltdown. And people keep flying them, so why bother?6th September 2023 at 14:00JDB
@AJA the “obvious” thing of scrapping the whole thing and starting afresh has been contemplated at length and discarded; the subject has been raised at investor events. The risks are deemed to to be unmanageably high and the spectre of TSB looms large. The financial and reputational costs to TSB were huge.
Interestingly, there’s a company called 10x which operates principally in the banking market that has a product which they say over time can have the same effect as scrapping and starting again; at the end of the project you have a brand new integrated system that has been built in stages.6th September 2023 at 14:19ChrisBCN
Throwing 100’s of people at such projects doesn’t work. A small core team of the best people who know how the system works is the best solution
Absolutely. If I was to fix their system for them, I would first need 3-6 months (maybe more, maybe less) to understand the current systems, use cases, pain points, customer journeys etc. Then, we work to a weekly cycle of delivering small incremental fixes/improvements. I would need a team of 12-15 people, to make the changes to the old/new systems. I would promise a constantly improving website/app over the next 2/3 years.
So, you take your choice –
1- do things right over a slower period and with a multi year commitment from the business.
2- get some contractors who promise the earth and say they will have everything fixed in 6 months for a bucket load of cash.
People who dont ‘get’ IT will usually choose option 2, so they can demonstrate how rosy things will be really fast – which of course won’t happen.6th September 2023 at 14:21Froggee
Thanks for this. I enjoyed the rant.
I think you’re missing the obvious solution though Steve which is to send a bearded man wearing a high-vis jacket into battle.
I thought a fundamental part of being British was accepting that everything is sh1t? In a weird Stockholm syndrome type way I enjoy battling with BA IT.
The second best piece of life advice I ever received was “if you can’t change it, accept it” and I guess that’s where I stand on this one. It’s far too long since by Computer Science degree to get back into doing tricky things.
I might go and try and price up flights from Edinburgh to Glasgow now which it’s been refusing to do for me.6th September 2023 at 14:23ChrisBCN
the “obvious” thing of scrapping the whole thing and starting afresh has been contemplated at length and discarded
With deeply ingrained ancient systems that nobody really understands – absolutely, you cannot scrap and start again. You have to gradually replace instead.
It’s like a wardrobe where all the screws are rusting away. If you take all the screws out to replace them at the same time, the thing will collapse. Replace one screw at a time, the wardrobe remains standing and the pain is manageable.6th September 2023 at 15:07TooPoorToBeHere
The problem is usually that the skills and experience to maintain the existing system and do incremental updates to it have not been retained.
Furthermore, in an accountant-led entity/society, as is mostly the case in Anglo countries, it is very unlikely that the skills and experience can be generated and retained – because they will always be optimised-away for short-term financial benefit (“accountant-led”) to hit some pressing short-term financial requirement.
“Staff with years of experience understanding the innards of your enormously complex infrastructure” are expensive, and offshore people with questionable qualifications and no ability to communicate in English, never mind work outside of their silo walls, are cheap. Stress the entity by demanding it reduce its costs and it will cheerfully dispose of all of the former.6th September 2023 at 15:13SteveCroydon6th September 2023 at 15:21SteveCroydon
@TooPoorToBeHere – agree completely with what you say.
@ChrisBCN – we need to get together and form an “IT Doing IT Group” – get it? Of course, we’ll need to appoint a couple of failed, smarmy ex-ministers to our board before any large corporate would even think of engaging with us. After all, what do we know?!
@StanTheMan – I don’t have to justify my comments and experiences with my complete, long CV. Needless to say it has been built by being in demand around the world many times.
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