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May 3, 2010 / fayafshar

Jetstars not so user friendly error

Recently i booked a holiday to Cairns, flying with JetStar and i have to say most of the booking process was simple and straight forward. JetStar email you after you have paid for your flight, telling you that online checkins will open 2 days before your departure date (24th of April), and that you should checkin online avoid having to do this at the airport.

They even went as far as checking me in (22nd April), 2 days before my flight (without me initiating it myself), which i thought was a pleasant surprise.  🙂

What was strange however was that the day before my flight (on the 23rd) i received a another email from jetsstar telling me to check-in online. But how can this be, when they checked me in the day before?

Regardless i clicked on the link they provided, and was taken to the following page:

JetStar online checkin page

So then i thought to myself, “Why did the email ask me to checkin, when this says ive been checked in already? O perhaps JetStar want me to checkin for my return flight on the 26th?”

So then i checked that box and my name (altered on the screenshot), and was taken to the following page:

JetStar error, not so friendly!

Finally i saw the above error, which as a end user makes no sense to me what so ever. What is worse is the fact that at this point, the user cannot move forward anyway more. Pressing Continue does nothing. The error makes no sense, and you are left wondering what you did wrong to cause this.

Unfortunately users always blame themselves for errors, even when the system is at fault. This was experienced with Safari version 4.0.5, which is currently the latest browser. Perhaps not enough testing on Safari was conducted, or perhaps JetStar never thought of the scenario where the customer is told to checkin online, then jetstar checkin on behalf of the customer, then the customer is asked to checkin online again, which takes them  to a page that tells them they have already checked in, which then misleads them into thinking they need to checkin for their return flight, and then finally results in a nasty red error at which point they give up?

Solution

Im not entirly sure why this error has occurred, it is probably due to a combination of things. But here are a few pointers for JetStar:

  • If you want customers to checkin online within 2 days of their flight, do not check them in and confuse them further.
  • If you have checked in customers (after telling them to do it themselves) without their consent, do not send them another email asking them to check online.
  • If online checkins only open 2 days before flights, then design the form so that the returning flight (26th of April) is not visible and hence cannot be checked into outside the 2 day window. In this case it was visible on the 23rd of April.
  • Design your errors with then end customer in mind, so that in rare cases where a customer is exposed to them (and i mean RARE because this should really never happen), they are not frustrated or confused. Give them some direction, to perhaps refresh the page, or call your 1300 number, or something….

Well thats my 2 cents, what are your thoughts?????????

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