The Web sites of Virgin Blue and Jetstar airlines are offline after a “special offer” triggered a buying frenzy that is believed to have overloaded the companies’ Web servers.
Jetstar, the new low-cost airline owned by Qantas, announced it would sell 100,000 seats from 6am today at a one-way price of AU$29 as a special introductory offer. The airline is due to start flying in May. Virgin Blue countered, announcing that it would match the AU$29 fare, but would offer 200,000 seats. Eager travellers have apparently jumped on the offers — both Web-sites have simply disappeared.
It’s likely they’ve been crushed by demand, says Mathew Proctor, managing director or Imagineering Technologies, which operates a data-centre.
“Being unable to support the level of interest they have generated wipes out any benefit in publicity or sales they might have achieved,” Proctor said. “Competing businesses have rushed to get their products to market without putting in place the supporting infrastructure.”
Proctor says it’s ironic that offering a good deal was, in affect, enough to put the two airlines out of business, at least temporarily.
Security consultant Adam Pointon, who spends considerable time figuring out ways to keep his clients online 24/7, says you can’t help but have a bit of a laugh about it.
“It’s pretty funny, and I think they should have seen it coming. It’s self-inflicted,” he said. “Obviously the marketing department didn’t consult with the IT department.”
Virgin Blue and Jetstar representatives were unable to comment at the time of writing.