Karl A L Smith

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British Airways website security upgrade stops ticket sales

British Airways security update stops ticket sales

I just logged into my BA account to book a ticket, but BA does not want my business because they have implemented new security without thinking about the impact on users.

After making my selection I’m shown the page below instead of a flight selection page. I could understand getting this if I’m not logged in, but I am so I have already authenticated my session. But there is no excuse for sending me to a blank screen, my firewall does not block Captcha, I know this for a fact.

When was this tested or has it gone up today without being tested, who knows?

—- A few minutes of testing later …

I have now managed to get it working and BA have fallen for the classic developer problem, the new security page has been developed on FireFox with Internet Explorer an after thought. The Captcha loads in FireFox but does not in IE.

Now here is a description of one of the worst user experiences possible;

  • In FireFox I first log into my account, I’m in they know who I am.
  • Then I do my search selection.
  • I get the Captcha page fill it out, great I’m in my results
  • Now the clear thing is and everyone who books travel online know is that (sorry back now, I was in Heathrow and had to get my flight, ironic that I was in the BA lounge trying to buy a ticket but being stopped by poor usability) searching and finding are two different experiences.
  1. The British Airways flight search tool has always been bad as it does not cross link results e.g. Date, Location, Tier unless you search again, this is because the person who designed it does not think like a passenger. Potential passengers want to get somewhere, that is their first requirement, not to select class of travel. If you want a good standard look at EasyJet flight search, if you can forget all the other painful experiences and thinking the search is really very good.
  2. Now some bright spark at BA has looked at the log statistics and thought we are getting lots of drop outs and re-searching, this could be a denial of service attack, it’s not, it is in fact the only way to find flights.
  • So my results only show me one class of flight, to see the other ones I have to search again, if I do I get Captcha again and again and again as I try and cross relate the various sets of results to get the best deal, that gets me where I need to get, when I need to get there.
  • Really, really painful experience, oh and I still have not booked a ticket because I was so angry at my treatment, I gave up.

What to do next?

  1. Sack someone, really, they made my evening hell!
  2. Hire a User Experience Architect (must be technical as they will lead the IT part too, so not a graphic designer) who will tell you how to redesign your search results and change how the back end IT works.
British Airways website security upgrade stops ticket sales
British Airways website security upgrade stops ticket sales
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