Muppet Airlines

I booked a flight with EasyJet a few months ago. I created an account, and, as is my habit, used an automatically generated password consisting of words and punctuation.

When I went back later to log into EasyJet’s website to supply the passport details for the flight, however, my credentials were rejected. No problem; there’s a ‘forgotten password’ link. I followed it, and my password was emailed to my account. This was a problem on two levels:

  1. Storing passwords (rather than salted hashes) is bad practice.
  2. It was the same password that I had typed in and which had been rejected.

I still couldn’t log in.

I went through the customer service wizard and found the closest matching (mandatory) heading under which to submit my problem: ‘I have forgotten my password.’ Here’s what I wrote:

Actually, I haven’t forgotten my password. It just doesn’t work.

I asked for my password to be emailed to me; it was correct. However, I still can’t log in, even using the password emailed to me: I just see “Sorry, but your login details are invalid.”

I also did a bit of searching and found that I wasn’t alone. The website is broken, but someone else had (rather cleverly) worked out how to get around the problem:

When you enter the password, replace the special character with %HEX_Key. It should work after that (at least for me). Change your password to one without special characters if you’d like after logging in.

Easy. I looked up the relevant ASCII codes and typed in my password, then changed it to something without any punctuation. Everything was fine.

A month passed

Today, at last, EasyJet deigned to reply to my original issue. (I suppose I’m lucky it wasn’t urgent!) Unfortunately, their muppetry in web development is not an outlier: it seems to be an organisation-wide issue. The reply is a bizarre non sequitur:

Dear – Battley,

Thank you for contacting us.

I am sorry that you have been inconvenienced by the cancellation of your flight and regret that I was unable to respond sooner to process your refund. However, I note from your booking that this has already been done by my colleague.

Please note that due to the high volume of disruptions we experience significant delays in responding. Although we try our best to get back to our customers as soon as possible, we would advise that any urgent queries should be made by telephone on 0871 244 2366 (calls cost 10p per minute; calls from mobiles and other networks may cost more). However, be aware that there can be longer waiting times on the phones.

I do hope I have been able to answer your question fully, if I have not, please click here and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

Yours sincerely

Peter Tate
Customer Experience Champion

I can only assume that they pasted a response they’d earlier sent to someone who couldn’t log in to deal with a cancelled flight.

What a bunch of muppets. I hope they do a better job of flying aeroplanes than they do of websites and customer service.

Comments

  1. Mo

    Wrote at 2010-05-23 14:09 UTC using Chrome 5.0.375.29 on Mac OS X:

    “Customer Experience Champion”

    ahahahahahaha.
  2. Phil Champ

    Wrote at 2010-05-28 09:23 UTC using Opera 9.80 on Mac OS X:

    It’s SleazyJet, Paul. Why do you think the flights are so cheap?

    IMHO this represents yet more evidence against the monetarist theory that cheapest is best (if any were needed). You don’t just buy a plane ticket, you also buy decent support.
  3. Paul Battley

    Wrote at 2010-05-28 16:40 UTC using Chrome 6.0.416.0 on Linux:

    Funnily enough, it wasn’t all that cheap. I had a choice of two airlines on the London to Krakow route. The other one was RyanAir. You can probably see why I went for EasyJet.