Later this week I’m planning to add to the Hall of Shame with another post on more travel related market research I’ve seen that adds absolutely nothing to the combined sum of knowledge of those working in this industry; but today it is the opposite, as here is a research report that covers a very worthwhile topic. 

Pingdom monitored the uptime of 42 international airline websites during a period of four months. The findings are definintely confronting, as they name names – just the sort of thing I know that readers of this blog love, but which sometimes I have to be a bit more restrained on. So why don’t I turn the post over the findings from Pingdom’s study:

  • The most reliable. Only 13 out of the 42 tested websites (31%) had a 99.9% uptime or better: KLM (99.99%), United (99.98%), Japan Airlines (99.98%), Frontier (99.98%), Virgin Blue (99.96%), Open Skies (99.95%), Skynet Asia (99.95%), British Airways (99.94%), ANA Sky (99.94%), Air France (99.93%), NWA (99.92%), Eva Air (99.92%), Southwest (99.91%). American Airlines was close to enter this list, with 99.89% uptime.
  • The unreliable. 26 out of 42 (62%) had less than 99.8% uptime, which is what we consider the minimum acceptable limit for such important websites. In this sense, 62% of the airline websites failed this test.
  • The ones with the most problems. 5 out of the 42 websites (12%) had less than a 99.0% uptime. That is the equivalent of more than 3 days and 15 hours of downtime in a year. These sites were JetBlue, Cayman Airways, SAS, Korean Air and Egyptair.

Keep in mind that they are measuring just the airline homepage, whereas from my experience the much more common problems are downtime/unreliability with the faring technology, or even more likely, problems when linking to an external PSP during the booking flow. But I take nothing away from the work Pingdom have done, as for a market research study designed to generate some press and hopefully get them a few more sales leads, this one is excellent stuff. 

If you want to read the full report, here is the PDF file.