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."