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Why Is The CO Website So Faulty?  
User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2781 times:

Now, I know how contrary to popular belief running even a simplernwebsite is no simple task. It costs a lot of money and I am sure arnhuge, profitable airline like CO would run a website that does notrncontain any faults that can be noticed by a sixteen year old who doesrnnot even work in the business (even though, I might know more than some who do). So, look at this page of the CO website, one of some which arernfaulty.

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...nflight/businessfirst/default.aspx

For one, CO does not fly from EWR-EZE so I do not know why it is listed from EWR and also, it says select service for the 777, yet on no other column either on the 757 or 767 is listed to serve EZE from EWR so obviously even if they did have service, it would have to be on more than one fleet type to have this symbol (*) next to it.


Also it says that the service from IAH-CDG is select service on the 777, yet this flight is not listed under the 767 or the 757 service. Also, it is the same thing for service from IAH-AMS. It is listed on select 767 service and yet it is not listed on the 777 service from IAH and there are no flights on the 757 TATL from IAH.

Also notice how on this page MAD service from EWR is listed on select service on the 777. Also notice how the service from EWR-BOM service is only served by the 777 (which makes sense becausethe service could never be served with a 767 or 757).

Now, look on this page.
http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...el/inflight/businessfirst/777.aspx

Notice how MAD is not listed as served by the 777 and how BOM is listed as select service. Lastly, look how on the main page under 777 it lists FCO as select service yet on this page FCO is not even listed!

Now look on this page.
http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...el/inflight/businessfirst/767.aspx

To start, MAN is listed as 767 service and yet on the main page, it is not listed as 767 service. Also, BOM is listed as 767 select service which is phisically impossible for a direct flight! Notice how MAD is not even listed at all as 767 service on this page and yet it is listed as select service on the main page under 767. Lastly, notice how FCO is listed as constant 767 service yet on the main page it is listed as select 767 service.

How can there be so many mistakes on a website for an airline like CO! I mean, even if I ran just a restaurant I would spend ample time making the website as perfect as it could be and I would want to do that because....it is my website! I mean for a company which requires so much money and is so complex such as CO, wouldn't they go over the simple task of proofreading their website? And, I would guess that there would be at least some people who were airline crazy just like I am who work for CO and would easily perfect this information.

Seems a little unprofessional. I mean it does not look very "shnazy" for standards of an airline such as CO. I mean to even own one 737 is a big enterprise!

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4499 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2739 times:

I guess some pages of their website need to be updated manually, instead of being automatically updated with some sort of link to the current schedules (which I suppose would be the most goof-proof way of doing things).

User currently offlineRichM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 803 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2702 times:

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
Now, I know how contrary to popular belief running even a simplernwebsite is no simple task. It costs a lot of money and I am sure arnhuge, profitable airline like CO would run a website that does notrncontain any faults that can be noticed by a sixteen year old who doesrnnot even work in the business (even though, I might know more than some who do). So, look at this page of the CO website, one of some which arernfaulty.

You're wrong in my opinion. I have worked in the web hosting industry, and I can tell you that running a simple website can be a simple task, in addition, it can also be relatively inexpensive. Obviously the expenditure for larger and more complex websites will be greater. However, for an airline, the advantages of having a website will far outweigh the disadvantages. This is because of the fact that they reduce overheads by decreasing the need for staff, call centres, equipment and property. So in essence, airlines are probably paying little when you consider what they can actually achieve from it.

I apologise for not commenting on your other paragraphs. I noticed so much repetition in your flow of writing that I found it somewhat hard to follow. The information you provided is also unstructured, which isn't very helpful either. But then again, it is late here and I am rather tired, so it could just be me!

- RichM

[Edited 2008-02-07 18:46:22]

User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2689 times:



Quoting RichM (Reply 2):
You're wrong in my opinion. I have worked in the web hosting industry, and I can tell you that running a simple website can be a simple task, in addition, it can also be relatively inexpensive. Obviously the expenditure for larger and more complex websites will be greater. However, for an airline, the advantages of having a website will far outweigh the disadvantages. This is because of the fact that they reduce overheads by decreasing the need for staff, call centres, equipment and property. So in essence, airlines are probably paying little when you consider what they can actually achieve from it.

In this day an age, even a small restaurant has to have a website, not to mention the fifth largest airline in the world. They are paying little in comparison to the benefit of having a website. It is not that expensive but my point is, if a small business can perfect their sight, then a huge airline like CO can too.

Quoting RichM (Reply 2):
I apologise for not commenting on your other paragraphs. I noticed so much repetition in your flow of writing that I found it somewhat hard to follow. The information you provided is also unstructured, which isn't very helpful either. But then again, it is late here and I am rather tired, so it could just be me!

As stated before, when I press spell check many letters appear in between my words. Also, there is repition because I am pointing out how they keep making mistakes over, and over again.


User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2654 times:

The only problem I have ever had with the CO website is that it would not let me change my seats. Their friendly customer service personnel were able to do so promptly by email though.

User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2643 times:

And if you were running a restaurant, the *only* thing you'd have to do is proofread your website because it probably wouldn't do any e-commerce. In other words, your restaurant would be a piddly squat operation with a read-only website. Oh sure, you could put a "contact us" page on there, but that's nothing.

Continental, on the other hand, runs a major e-commerce site as the *primary* point-of-sales for a multi-billion dollar per year, publicly-held company. You can browse for flights and prices, purchase flights, change itineraries, check-in, print your boarding pass, check flight status, get reward travel, and even book hotels and cars directly through their website. At one point, I flew about 75 round trips in 18 months on Continental. I booked every single flight on Continental.com and it worked flawlessly everytime. And, to further show how far off your assessment is, they rewrote their classic ASP site in ASP.NET and deployed it nearly seamlessly. I remember when the new site rolled out, but I don't remember any problems.

Your complaint reminds me the backyard tinkerer who is sure that the major automaker who produced his car doesn't really know what they're doing. And why does he think this? Because he changed the airbox on the intake of his engine and gained four more HP! To put it in your parlance: "I mean, didn't they know that they could have given me more horsepower by doing that? I mean, don't they ever think creatively? I mean, my car would really be much faster if they had given me four more HP!"

By the way, I actually had a discussion like this on a car list to which I've belonged for 10 years. But such a complaint only comes from the little guy who's never seen inside the big guy's world. His assertion was that the little guys know things the engineers don't. Wrongo. They knew that putting that airbox on would increase HP and they chose not to anyway. It's a matter of priority for them. Maybe they don't have enough manufacturing capacity to produce the better box. (That happens a lot.) Maybe the better box cost 25 cents per box more. Betcha a dollar that it doesn't get approved because it won't sell one more car. Maybe it's part of an emissions-certified system on the car and changing that part costs them an extra $2 million in dyno and emissions testing.

So it is with Continental.com. You're complaining about things which amount to nothing. It is highly unlikely that the things you want to be perfect will not earn them one extra sale nor cost them a single sale. They are a profit-driven company. All companies make mistakes; we're all profitable despite ourselves. You just happened to read a couple of their mistakes. Perhaps in your world those are egregious errors. In Continental's world, they're simple oversights because real mistakes result in loss of profit, disrupted labor relations, and even customer/worker deaths. Makes a few errors on flight-city information a little insignicant, doesn't it?



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2633 times:



Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 5):

Wow, you took that very personally. Jeez, I mean your reply did not even adress what I am saying! I get that they have a much more complicated websit nthan a simple restaurant, but....they are a much more complex companyrnthan a simple restaurant so it is all relavent. I mean you are filled with such anger about my complaints.

My point is, if I, a sixteen year old can point out all of these errors on their own site, then they should catch them. My cousin made a small film and it was ridiculous how meticulously every single detail of the film was from where a bowl a fruit was placed to seating people in a restaurant scene that would make sense and be realistic to the type of restaurant he shot the film in. Also, the pages which I was referencing to are read only pages. They look like they were done a simple word document in Times New Roman. This is matter of CO not even being familiar with their own product.


User currently offlineAznMadSci From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 3675 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2627 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
For one, CO does not fly from EWR-EZE so I do not know why it is listed from EWR and also, it says select service for the 777, yet on no other column either on the 757 or 767 is listed to serve EZE from EWR so obviously even if they did have service, it would have to be on more than one fleet type to have this symbol (*) next to it.

EZE-EWR-EZE is direct service via IAH. CO 51 (EWR-IAH-EZE) on Thursday and CO 52 (EZE-IAH) on Friday are operated with 772.

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
Also it says that the service from IAH-CDG is select service on the 777, yet this flight is not listed under the 767 or the 757 service. Also, it is the same thing for service from IAH-AMS. It is listed on select 767 service and yet it is not listed on the 777 service from IAH and there are no flights on the 757 TATL from IAH.

Yeah, this part is a bit confusing. I've only known IAH-CDG on CO to be flown on 772 prior to it being a DC10. As for IAH-AMS flights, both flights are 767s, but the earlier one is usually a 762 while the 7pm flight is 764. There are no TATL flights on the 752 from IAH, just don't have the range. CO did use the 752 BF for IAH-LIM, but that has been changed to traditional F/Y flown on the 753.

As for the rest of the post, I do understand the confusion. If you're on flyertalk.com, post a msg on the CO board and see if you can get CO Insider to take a look. He does a good job investigating and trying to get things changed if customers do have problems with any of CO's products.



The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
User currently offlineMKE22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1143 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2621 times:

I noticed that the US website is also sometimes like this, or at least used to be.


If Your not pissed, your not trying
User currently offlineChase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2540 times:

I used to work as a programmer for another carrier's website, so I guess I should chime in here.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 5):
It is highly unlikely that the things you want to be perfect will not earn them one extra sale nor cost them a single sale.

Very good point. I don't know the size of CO's web group, or whether they're employees or outsourced, but it's pretty certain that each programmer has his/her assignments pertaining to the next major feature that will be rolled out on continental.com soon, or fixing some medium/major bug, and those assignments take up all of their working hours.

Secondly, there is programming knowledge, and there is domain knowledge. If you know Java, HTML, C++, ASP, etc. you can probably get a job as a programmer at General Motors, Pfizer, Continental, or any other big company, regardless of whether or not you know the first thing about cars, drugs, airlines, or whatever other industry that company is in. Programming knowledge is seen as essential, and domain knowledge is seen as a "perk" that would be nice for a prospective employee to have. When hired, they teach you the domain knowledge that you need to know.

So my point is, Joe Programmer at CO is probably too busy working on his 400-hour project to do ____ to go looking at some completely unrelated page, scrutinizing every word, and even if he did do so, probably doesn't know or care whether or not CO flies EWR-EZE.

Now, the software tester *is* responsible for looking at every page in every (or most) possible scenario, but in my experience that's generally only done when a page changes. I don't know much about CO's history - maybe at the time the page you saw was created they did fly EWR-EZE, but when that changed the website just wasn't updated?

And, as ContnlEliteCMH said so very well, there is no comparison between a restaurant's website that has a few pages of static text and images, and (for a non-chain) probably not too much traffic, and a high-volume eCommerce site with dynamically-generated data-driven content. I've done both, and it's like comparing a Hot Wheels to a real car. Although admittedly, yes, all the pages/errors you mentioned are almost certainly static content. This brings up another point - the person who generates the content isn't necessarily the person who puts it onto the website. The programmer probably got a list, or a Word doc, or something, and was told "go stick this on the ___ page". The person who generated the content probably did have domain knowledge. But maybe they made a mistake and told the programmer the wrong thing. Or maybe the programmer just copied it wrong.

Lastly, in a corporate environment, you generally have a release schedule for the websites. This is to allow testers time to test the code, to reduce downtime, and (since releases are generally done during non-peak hours) to allow the programmers and build team to actually have personal lives. At my last job, we rolled out new code ONLY on the 3rd Saturday night of every other month, unless something really major broke. "Really major" means a significant portion of the site is unavailable to all customers, or all of the site is unavailable to a significant portion of the customers. So it's possible that someone has already noticed the errors you listed but the fix can't go in until the next scheduled update.


User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2524 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
My point is, if I, a sixteen year old can point out all of these errors on their own site, then they should catch them.

Just because they can catch them doesn't mean they do catch them or that they should catch them or fix them. What you appear to be missing from ContnlEliteCMH's post (with which I agree) is that there are perfectly valid reasons to not look for certain types of errors and to not fix an error you know about.

All businesses must do a cost/benefit calculation of some kind on their activities if they want to remain profitable. Obviously, for something like a website typo you'd never do a formal cost/benefit analysis but you can be very certain that Continental is aware that there are errors in their website (though they may not be aware of the specific ones you noted) and that they've decided the cost to them to find and fix those errors doesn't justify the benefit. If correcting the website won't sell any more seats, and won't cause them to lose any sales, then they have zero reason to correct it. It would actually be a bad business decision to correct it when you could spend those resources doing something that actually would increase sales.

To put a little perspective on this, aircraft and engine OEM's are aware of a whole littany of things that are wrong with their products all the time. Not things that are unsafe, but things that don't work the way they should. There are, literally, thousands of these kinds of things on any aircraft you fly. Some of them will never be fixed because you can't justify the cost of the fix. Simple website typos that don't have a material effect on the business fall in the same camp.

Tom.


User currently offlineTtango From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2496 times:

CO built their own site from the ground-up with help from EDS. It's more "patchy" than most sites because of this and that results in frustations for consumers sometimes...

User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 12, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2379 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
Wow, you took that very personally. Jeez, I mean your reply did not even adress what I am saying! I get that they have a much more complicated websit nthan a simple restaurant, but....they are a much more complex companyrnthan a simple restaurant so it is all relavent. I mean you are filled with such anger about my complaints.

I didn't take it personally, and I'm not angry. And I have far better things to do with my life than take your posts personally, be assured.

I most certainly did address your point. Essentially, you think that because you can see errors and know what the fix is, then Continental should also be able to detect the errors and fix them. I pointed out that this view is nearsighted in the extreme, not to mention pedantic. Now, I can be quite the pedant myself, but I don't use my fascination with the mundane and irrelevant to cloud my judgement.

You actually said this:

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
Seems a little unprofessional.

This is where you lack any sense of perspective. "Unprofessional" would be that the site fails to show me the proper flights and fare classes that I requested, or that it fails to complete my transaction, or even worse, that it divulges my credit card information to somebody outside of Continental. In that light, a simple proofreading error is merely an annoyance and only seems unprofessional if you aren't involved in any of the money which changes hands on that site.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 5):
It is highly unlikely that the things you want to be perfect will not earn them one extra sale nor cost them a single sale.

Correction. This should say, "It is highly unlikely that the things you want to be perfect will earn them one extra sale or cost them a single sale." Sorry for any confusion.



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21534 posts, RR: 59
Reply 13, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2346 times:

While there is a bit of confusion as some pages seem to be current and others a little older, with a star in the wrong place here and there...

when you actually book a flight, you will see the aircraft type you will be on. there's no confusion there. then you can check out the service to expect on that flight. no confusion there.

so maybe you need to relax?

they have more important things to fix, like their crappy change engine, and the fact that my flight never showed up for online check-in today, even though when i called Co.com help, they were able to do online checkin on their end (yes, they did it through the website, not the res system). Even after this, still no way to reprint boarding passes. So they emailed them to me.

I'd like them to sort that out before they worry about some fluffy informational page...  Wink



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineTrekster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2316 times:

They should do an FR. Shut down and upgrade then lol


Dan


User currently offlineNzrich From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 1522 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2275 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 13):
While there is a bit of confusion as some pages seem to be current and others a little older, with a star in the wrong place here and there...

when you actually book a flight, you will see the aircraft type you will be on. there's no confusion there. then you can check out the service to expect on that flight. no confusion there.

so maybe you need to relax?

they have more important things to fix, like their crappy change engine, and the fact that my flight never showed up for online check-in today, even though when i called Co.com help, they were able to do online checkin on their end (yes, they did it through the website, not the res system). Even after this, still no way to reprint boarding passes. So they emailed them to me.

I'd like them to sort that out before they worry about some fluffy informational page... Wink

Totally 100% agree with you .. Making sure their website works full functioning is more of a priority than tiny wee details that dont really effect the customer ... You can go to a lot of websites and see mistakes .. But in the end the IT people will probably have more important things to work on than correcting some small mistakes ..



"Pride of the pacific"
User currently offlineBNAtraveler From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 411 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2257 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR



Quoting Nzrich (Reply 15):

Totally 100% agree with you .. Making sure their website works full functioning is more of a priority than tiny wee details that dont really effect the customer ... You can go to a lot of websites and see mistakes .. But in the end the IT people will probably have more important things to work on than correcting some small mistakes ..

My issue with the Continental web site is speed to first page complete rendering. I use WN, NW, DL, AA and CO regularly and every time I access the CO web site I am taken aback as to how slow it really is to render the first page. I use Firefox on a Mac most of the time, but I have repeatedly seen the issue on IE on a PC and on Safari on a Mac. Part of the issue is the volume of customized content the place on the front page -- I am not aware of another airline on my list that displays so much detail on the first page, even before you log in. However, the issue is not entirely due to the customized content, as the web site always initially appears far to the right of my browser and as the remainder of the page loads it then shifts to the left. The DL web site can be slow and I believe that it was written primarily using Java whereas CO is ASP.Net, so the issue is not tied specifically to the coding language, but probably due to the complexity (layers in DL's site and customized content and frames on CO's site).

To me, the speed of the site encourages me to look elsewhere before I decide that I must buy the ticket on CO's site. I would imagine that to be an issue for the storefront of the 5th largest airline.

Anyone else experience the same?


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