Jetstar one cent sale crashes and burns Web site

Jetstar one cent sale crashes and burns Web site

Summary: Discount airline Jetstar remains unapologetic after its widely advertised one cent airfare sale last night proved impossibly difficult to take advantage of, after its Web site was unable to handle the volume of traffic generated by bargain hunters.

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Discount airline Jetstar remains unapologetic after its widely advertised one cent airfare sale last night proved impossibly difficult to take advantage of, after its Web site was unable to handle the volume of traffic generated by bargain hunters.

The promotion, scheduled for between 8pm and 9pm last night, attracted 300 percent more traffic than average to Jetstar's Web site, crippling its capacity to serve up tickets.

One registered JetMail customer told ZDNet.com.au he had tried to log-in some 15 times between 8pm and 9pm last night to no avail -- each time presented with a screen which read: "Sorry! Thanks for your search. Our current sale is proving incredibly popular, and our Web site is experiencing very high levels of demand right now."

A Jetstar spokesperson said the promotion worked, with 4,700 of an advertised 5,000 sold during the allotted hour, adding it was an unavoidable reality that people would miss out on the sale.

"We had 300 percent increases in page impressions compared to our day-to-day levels of demand," the spokesperson said. "We're talking 20,000 hits per second. We have a pretty big pipe, but the reality is that there is a finite capability of how many pages we can have open at any one particular time."

The spokesperson said that the one cent fare was not the first time the discount airline had ran promotions targeted predominantly at its Web sales engine but said that the airline could not have done more to prepare for the promotion.

Jetstar had done all it could, the spokesperson continued, to maintain availability of its systems -- choosing a time of relatively low traffic, borrowing additional server resources and investing in Akamai Web acceleration technology to disperse traffic more effectively.

"We can take a lot of heat, in terms of multiple page impressions. Our Web engine is the lifeblood of the airline, our predominate booking channel. It's a very capable piece of infrastructure."

"Our Web site is as dynamic as any other site in the country," Jetstar's spokesperson concluded. "I put it to any critic of our site that if they have this kind of unprecedented demand, the site will slow down. We host thousands of transactions a day and we think we facilitate these things very well."

Topics: Browser, Tech Industry

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14 comments
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  • Jetstar one cent sale crashes and burns Web site

    Easy way of getting them to pull their heads in and address the issue - "unsubscribe" from the mail list like I did! I thought it was a farce - and to let them get away with it twice is criminal... remember the $1 email that came out a day late and still crashed their site!!!!
    anonymous
  • Jetstar One Cent Sale

    From experience with a previous promotion (the 5 cent promotion a few weeks ago), I did not even attempt to get tickets this time around. Whilst the web servers can handle lots of traffic as indicated in the article, I think it is ridiculous to even offer such a promotion, because it only infuriates those unlucky to obtain the special and waste time trying. I for one will think twice before flyng again with the carrier, sale or no sale. It is obvious the Jetstar spokeperson does not care about such unlikely bargain hunters and it is doubtful they have to worry themselves about trying to obtain a low fare.

    Would it not be better sense to offer sale prices that are enticing (but not crazy) over a slight longer period of time (say a few hours), even if it means still limiting the number of seats? Evidently not!
    anonymous
  • a joke

    These campaigns are obviously just a PR stunt. There is no substance to them. It gets Jetstar a few mentions in the papers, makes them look competitive. But how bigger increase in traffic is 300%? A campaign of that weight could realistically draw far more than 3x the traffic.
    anonymous
  • jetstar one cent sale

    I agree this jetstar sales was a farce and nothing but a gimmick...i've tried to log on from 8 pm to 8:45 pm but nothing happen...it's either the sorry story or no internet connection..

    what a joke...anyway, next time i'll never believe or even attempt to do it...just a waste of time..'
    anonymous
  • Web Traffic Black Magic

    It is patently obvious that the contributors in this story have never run an active commercial interent connection.

    Whilst you can have a stab at traffic figures - temporarily incraese your bandwidth for any multiple of 24 hour blocks to the capacity of your terminating equipment (well with Telstra anyway - not sure about the others) - you never quite know what will come your way.
    anonymous
  • 1c sale

    There is no doubt despite our frustration jetstar probably see it as a big success. Their traffic increase is one thing, but they are probably most proud of how much their email subscriber list grows as subscribers forward the mail to friends to get them to sign up so 'we can all holiday together on the goldie for 1c'.
    I'm with the first comment, we should penalise them by unsubscribing and voting with our feet.
    anonymous
  • Anyone Score a Ticket?

    If they actually sold 4,700 tickets then there must be someone out there who managed to get at least one. If you were one of the lucky ones then please let us know to prove that this wasn't just a con job.
    anonymous
  • scamming for email addresses

    I was lucky enough to get to the stage where you enter your credit crad details and email address. The site crashed on the very next page and I never actually got the tickets or had my CC charged. I do get the jetmail alerts though so the email address was saved but not the purchasing details.
    Cynical? who me?
    anonymous
  • $4 sale has exactly the same problem

    Tonight JetStar were offering 24,000 seats for $4. I waited on timeanddate.com until just after 8pm to refresh the sale page, and then it took another 5 minutes before it was actually live.

    Then when the sale page finally appeared there was no hope of getting through. I tried repeatedly between 8 and 9pm, and just got a mixture of the "Sorry" page (www.jetstar.com/busy) and ugly 502 and 503 errors.

    Grrrr... wish I'd read this post before I tried
    anonymous
  • 4th birthday sale fiasco

    Well the 4th bday sale tonight is giving me the busy tone - will be unsubcribing from the emails - not going to waste my time or bandwidth on rubbish like this. Alteast could do a temp upgrade to their server and pipe resources to cover what woul dbe a massive load
    anonymous
  • $4 sale - crock of shite

    I have been trying for the last HOUR. Non-stop. And have only gotten the "sorry" page.

    This airline is a frickin joke.
    anonymous
  • Trying to unsubscribe

    HA! I pressed the unsubscribe button at the bottom of their email and got the SORRY page displayed...
    anonymous
  • same..

    yup. come in sucker. I don’t usually have very bad thoughts for people, but i really do hope this company collapses. Last nights frustrations did my head in. I was refreshing for 1.5 hours non stop, not to get through. I am cynical that anyone else got the sale, total conjob.

    Also wished I saw this and get 1.5 hours of my life back. *unsubscribes*
    anonymous
  • they did it again

    i got online at 10.30 and after two attempts .. the server is down and the phoneline is out. reckon thats good enough to end my membership with them.
    i expect better management from them .. if they cant handle this .. what other areas are they lacking in?
    good thing im still a member of webjet :)
    anonymous