Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Qantas to Amadeus – what the hell was that???!?

In 2007 Amadeus and Qantas were riding high. A joy filled press release heralded that their relationship would bloom for another ten years. The then CIO John Willett was full of praise saying
"The development of Altéa [Amadeus' airline customer management system], which has become the leading customer management solution for airlines, has been a milestone for the industry and we expect that the next 10 years will help us to innovate further,"
A year later there was a new CIO at Qantas (Jamila Gordon) and the good times continued. The companies announced that the Altéa system was fully implemented. Gordon was filled with the joy and expectation that can only be found in press releases
"Exceptional customer service is a key competitive weapon and you can only deliver this by understanding the needs of individuals which is what the integrated Altéa system provides." She added, "As the operating environment for airlines gets tougher, it is essential that technology is able to both deliver greater operational efficiency as well as support the implementation of policies that build customer loyalty and drive increased revenues."
Remember those words “deliver greater operational efficiency”.

Fast forward to Jan 3 2010 and the Amadeus and Qantas bromance took a blow (though it does not look fatal) when the Amadeus Altéa system appeared to suffer a world wide hour long blue screen of death crash-a-doodle-do. Automated check-in came crashing down. Customers were stuck and airline crews abused. Qantas firstly called it “intermittent” (SMH) . But later an ABC commentator found out that the system had crashed on three separate occasions during the outage period. Delays, angry customers and twitter rant–a-thons ensued.

Unlike the PR love-ins of the previous announcements, Qantas was very happy to very publicly blame the whole thing on Amadeus. Newly appointed Qantas spokesman David Epstein used all of the tact that his former Labour party bosses are famous for by being very polite in his finger pointing but stating clearly and cleanly
"We are seeking assurances this won't happen again,"
(according to a report from the ABC)

The Herald Sun very neatly summed up the response from Amadeus to the blame game “Amadeus could not be reached for comment”. I bet they couldn’t.

Thanks to Aaron Frutman over at Flickr for the phot of Kobe in flight

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