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62 percent of airline websites not as reliable as they should be

Last week we published a report about website uptime for airlines.

We had monitored the uptime of 42 international airline websites during a period of four months. The results were quite surprising so we figured we would share some of our findings here as well.

The full report is available as a free PDF, but below is a brief summary of the main points.

Key findings

Here are some of the discoveries we made:

  • Below average uptime. The average uptime for the entire group of 42 websites was 99.49%. Over a year, a 99.49% uptime is the equivalent of more than 44 hours of downtime. This is worse than the average for websites on the Internet which hovers around 99.6%, the equivalent of 35 hours of downtime in a year.
  • The most reliable. Only 13 out of the 42 tested websites (31%) had a 99.9% uptime or better: KLM (99.99%), United (99.98%), Japan Airlines (99.98%), Frontier (99.98%), Virgin Blue (99.96%), Open Skies (99.95%), Skynet Asia (99.95%), British Airways (99.94%), ANA Sky (99.94%), Air France (99.93%), NWA (99.92%), Eva Air (99.92%), Southwest (99.91%). American Airlines was close to enter this list, with 99.89% uptime.
  • The unreliable. 26 out of 42 (62%) had less than 99.8% uptime, which is what we consider the minimum acceptable limit for such important websites. In this sense, 62% of the airline websites failed this test.
  • The ones with the most problems. 5 out of the 42 websites (12%) had less than a 99.0% uptime. That is the equivalent of more than 3 days and 15 hours of downtime in a year. These sites were JetBlue, Cayman Airways, SAS, Korean Air and Egyptair.
  • The pattern. Among the websites that ended up below a 99.8% uptime, frequent short outages were the most common problem.

We consider 99.8% to be the minimum required uptime for websites this important. We know that this is achievable by professional websites run by companies with far less resources than airlines.

A 99.8% uptime means that a website can be unavailable for a total of 17 hours and 31 minutes in a year. This should be enough time to cover any maintenance needs, and a quick reaction time when there is a problem with the website can minimize any other downtime to acceptable limits.

Ideally, the aim for websites this important (i.e. business-critical websites) should be to consistently stay above a 99.9% uptime. Organizations with good resources (like airlines) should be able to manage this.

As you can see by this graph, a significant number of the websites in this test had an availability that was way below the acceptable:

By the way, don’t forget about our Uptime and Downtime Conversion Cheat Sheet in case you want to be able to easily convert between uptime/downtime.

View the full report for more info

The full report contains much more information than we have presented in this post, including:

  • Why high availability is important to airline websites
  • More information about the sites included in the test (including URLs)
  • More key findings
  • Uptime distribution chart (shown above)
  • Airline website downtime chart
  • The longest continuous outages
  • Conclusion and methodology
  • Appendix with all the data

The full report is freely available as a PDF:
Downtime for international airline websites

Please feel free to spread and share the report as you wish.


of course not all of them are reliable, only the genuine sites for the airlines should be consulted.


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