Flight purchase blues

Ordering flights online isnt usually too bad of an experience, just this week its be fraught with gremlins ūüė¶

I am trying to get some plane tickets to go home and see family, lately I have been disappointed at airline web sites.  I avoided using Easyjet this time make a quick journey back to my house rather than go to Luton, I am using them to go back as I need to visit Wales on the way back to Israel.

First is Jetairway an airline I am not familiar with but wrote about their new route between Liege, Belgium and Tel Aviv, I bought my ticket, then Google Chrome came up with an odd error message towards at the end of the purchase that some parts of the web site are missing and asked if I want to display the non-secure parts. ¬† I clicked yes. ¬† It then took me back to the first stage all over again!! ¬† ¬†Thinking I had not had my payment go through, I did it all over again and then realised I had bought two tickets. ¬† I regret not hitting ‘printscreen’ and getting a shot of this error now to prove this issue.

My fears were confirmed by this message I had a short while later,

Later I called up and was told nothing could be done by phone and I would need to email back, responding back to this specifically, which I thought was an automated generic response.

I got this message.

Ok, I got my funds back, but “contrary to your claim”???? the tone of the email lacks any kind of empathy or customer service and forces me that its my fault and not a technical issue with the site ūüė¶ ¬† ¬† It doesn’t make me think about using this airline again afraid. ¬† ¬†Wouldn’t of hurt to have a spell checker as well!!

As they have my name and title, its normally common¬†courtesy¬†to refer to me to as “Dear Mr Hayward” I think, and give the name of the person dealing with the complaint, you know, those usual business type traditions that show respect.

I looked at another airline Flybe to get the 2nd leg of my journey, to go from Brussels to Southampton. ¬† I wasnt sure if this combination was possible. ¬† Rather than a simple message why, when clicking on this link….

I was choosing different options between using Eurostar between Belgium and the UK, or flying.

So when ordering a ticket to go from Brussels to Southampton, I got this this rather oversized blue screen which means I have to scroll down to see Belgian airports¬†that is inconsistent¬†and vague to the user’s simple request to find out if he can go that combination of cities to fly is possible.

So why is it asking me to go flippin’ Dubrovnik?? (which is in Croatia)

Its most annoying that airlines don’t provide a simple method of seeing which combination of cities are possible, and this blue window has the bottom cut off, as the web seems poorly thought out.

Eastern Airlines could take me from Brussels to Southampton but at nearly £200.  Hmm.

I looked at one of the ‘best price’ type sites called ‘cheap flights’, with some odd results:

In other words, you have to use a German site, even I am using this on a computer in my flat in Israel!!    I guess the web site made a guess at my IP address and tried to give a page better for my location but got it totally wrong!

So next trying Eurostar….

Heres the ticket I wanted…..

Payment declined, oh man…

I called my bank who told me theres nothing wrong with the payment method, I called Eurostar to be told I could buy the leg of the trip that goes from Brussels to London, but not the bit for going home, I got on the phone to Eurostar’s customer support, with a nice friendly chap called Peter said it was simple to get Brussels to London bit booked. ¬† I was told ring someone called ‘Bob’ who could give me an explanation for the rest of of the journey, which was largely unknown why this part wasn’t possible to order online or on the phone (engineering works or something maybe)

Later I got this email….

This below also seems like a poor job of doing the emails out to customers as it seems some part of the formatting or any logos and branding are all messed up.  Might be Gmail sometimes screws this up a bit, something that ought to be tested given how popular Gmail is.

Should say “we¬Ņre sorry for these grammatical problems as well!”

I don’t want to put people off booking journeys online as it still is the best form of commerce the internet does best at, but I hope these odd problems could get notice but the airline and railway PR people maybe.

Does anyone want to hire me to test usability on your airline’s retail system from a customer perspective? ¬† Whether you offer a free flight or a financial payment, I could do with something like this to help me with the big costs associated with travelling for the volunteer work I do. ¬† Feel free to contact me on jp.hayward A T gmail.com


Bible translated into Inuit language

Exciting article about a new translation of the bible into a Inuit language, only took 34 years!

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/bible-translated-into-inuit-language-after-34-year-canadian-project-1.431288

This bit made chuckle:- “Another example is the translation of shepherd, which appears in the Bible often. In Inuktitut a shepherd tends to children of dogs, not goats and sheep, which aren’t found in Nunavut.”

Not sure why, but the arctic has something of a fascination for me, and seeing the gospel reach the very extremes of the world is exciting stuff.

Olympics and Palestinians

Various news sites I sometimes read came up with this:

Apparently the Olympics web site admitted an ‘error’ on their web site, and changed it later.¬† They also ought to realise that official languages in Israel are Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian too.

Also Israel is considered part of ‘Europe’ here: http://www.london2012.com/countries/area=europe/ the rest of the Middle East is under Asia: http://www.london2012.com/countries/area=asia/

Looking at the official web site via the search engine, there is no mention of the 40 years anniversary of the tragedy that killed 11 Israelis in 1972 Olympics in Munich.   There really ought to be a special moment to remember that sometime in the schedule this year.

I wasn’t aware that the Palestinians have a representation this year even though they are not a sovereign nation as of yet, I don’t even know that they have a national anthem if they were to get a medal, after quickly checking out Wikipedia there is one disturbingly, the lyrics shown translated into English have some worrying theme, read this Wiki article on it here.¬† Here is another article from Arabic Wikipedia also in case perhaps I am being unfair.

Is there any calls from any moderate Arabic speaking country to challenge them into having a song with less violent sounding words I wonder? Rather than a¬†¬†“volcano of my vendetta” or “And my intention a bullet and a volcano retaliation” or whatever it is.

The Olympics shouldn’t be a political event. ¬†But it should recognise people lost from terrorism in 1972, just as it should kick out cheats and dopers, and so far the authority are making a very poor effort.

Interesting related article:- Nazi Germany involved with the 1936 games in Berlin