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System crash briefly grounds Qantas boarding passes

Mile-high pilot romp doesn’t help rep, either

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In just another workday in the perpetual crisis-management of Qantas PR, a system crash at Sydney airport had check-in staff issuing handwritten boarding passes.

It’s yet more bad publicity for an airline that early in November grounded its entire fleet to teach a lesson to unions; then last week nominated itself for “world’s worst social media campaign” by inviting Twitter users to relate their “Qantas luxury” experience, creating a veritable Tweet-storm of public abuse.

Today’s unexplained outage, which affected Qantas check-ins around the country, lasted around two hours, from 6.40am to shortly before 8am, during the morning business traveller peak. However, since the problem only affected printing rather than the ability to process passengers, the airline told the Sydney Morning Herald that the problem caused only “minor delays”.

The Herald says that although Qantas asserted that overseas airports weren’t affected, passengers in Auckland in New Zealand were also receiving handwritten boarding passes.

The embattled airline’s reputation is also suffering one of the worst embarrassments possible, with Murdoch’s Herald Sun airing passenger complaints that a pilot had a “steamy interaction” with a passenger on a long-haul flight between London and Australia.

The newspaper said the pilot was “not in uniform at the time of the incident,” which may be regarded as redundant if the pair joined the mile-high club on the flight. ®

Update: Qantas has stated on Twitter that the outage was caused by upstream IT systems provider Amadeus, and that it affected all Amadeus customers worldwide. ®

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