What Should an Airline Do When Its IT System Goes Down?

If you answered, “don’t send all of your passengers by bus to another airport over 160 miles away, only to have them turned away and sent back” then you’d be correct.

Apparently, though, that wasn’t the answer given for a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Lahore to Riyadh.

Administration of Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore sent all its passengers to Islamabad by bus in the wake of a glitch that occurred in the IT system of the airport on Saturday.

Boarding passes to the passengers of flight PK-755 headed to Riyadh from Lahore could not be issued due to a disruption in the IT system after which the relevant officials sent all the passengers to Islamabad by road.

Passengers were told their flight was going to take off from Islamabad instead. So they went there, only to be told the Pakistan equivalent of “just kidding” when they arrived there.

Apparently then the passengers went back to Lahore, where they received handwritten boarding passes since the airline’s computers wouldn’t print boarding passes for the flight.

(HT: Pakistani Correspondent. Go ahead and read her review of the airport lounge in Lahore.)

That’s all better for the passengers than if they were forced to overnight in a hotel arranged by the airline, because:

[S]ome officials were involved in taking advantage of the situation and sending the offloaded passengers to private hotels rather than the approved ones. “They receive commission from these hotel owners – Rs1000 to Rs1500 per passenger or per room,” sources in PIA revealed.

Sources also claimed that as per rules the PIA is bound to provide every passenger his independent room but hotels owners, with the connivance of these officials, keep two passengers in single room while charge the airline otherwise – one passenger per room.

The next time I complain about US airline operations, you have license to link to this post.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You might want to fix the link to “Pakistan*” IA from Lahore to Riyadh. It currently has a rogue /r/.

  2. I guess PIA is going to have to shelve that “South Asia’s First 5-Star Airline” ad campaign they had planned for next year.

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