6 September, 2002: Ah, the New Economy!

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I just had the amusing experience of booking some airline tickets over the web via a telephone conversation. I was trying to buy tickets from Opodo, but their web site didn't work (because of some sort of dumb JavaScript thing, I think).

Normally at this stage I would have found someone else to buy tickets from -- on the basis that if a company can't manage to produce a simple web page which works it's unlikely that their order fulfilment software works either -- but airline ticketing has worked OK since the 1960s so it's unlikely that Opodo have managed to foul it up too badly.

It turns out that their site, rather than having a phone number on it, has a link you can click which instructs an Opodo employee to telephone you. So I clicked that and an they did indeed phone me. So I explained that I couldn't make a reservation using their website; the lady to whom I was speaking didn't offer any comment but went through the whole booking procedure by asking me what I should put in each box. (``Is it OK for me to click the box that says `I accept the terms and conditions'?'') Needless to say, this was pretty tedious, but it got the job done.

Isn't the New Economy wonderful? First, they pay over-the-odds to get some dumb JavaScript thing which presumably only works on Microsoft Internet Explorer, if anything; then, I view it and it doesn't work, so I use a service they've paid extra for to make them 'phone me, costing them extra. At the end of it the tickets cost the same. I don't know whether they make a profit, but I suppose that it doesn't matter, since they're funded by British Airways.

Copyright (c) 2002 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.