I can't remember the last time I talked to a human being at an airline.
To get anywhere, you go online, you get some instantly concocted price that may be entirely different from that offered on other sites. Then you check whether the flight you'd like to choose might necessitate you getting on to one of the slightly creepy MD-83s with the engine at the back and only two seats on one side.
You might think that the airlines' own Web sites would be amongst the most reliable in the commercial world. They have to be, right?
Well, you might also think your urine turns purple after a starter of asparagus bruschetta, oven-roasted asparagus, and asparagus ice cream.
According to monitoring service Pingdom, airline Web sites are out of service 44 hours annually. Which compares to 35 hours for the average site.
I know you might find it odd that an airline has delays online as well as in the physical world. But there it is. Art imitating life.
Pingdom monitored 42 of the world's favorite airline Web sites from November 2008 to March 2009.
And, as in "Dancing with the Stars," let's talk first about those that passed the Pingdom judgment with flying colors.
KLM's site was up and running 99.99 per cent of the time. Then there was United Airlines--99.98 per cent.
Overall, sites in the US and Japan proved to be the most technologically alive. However, there were miscreants.
Yes, 26 airlines didn't even reach 99.8 percent uptime. In the dance-off for survival, you will find SAS (yes, probably affected by the huge amounts of Scandinavian pirating clogging up the Internet system) and, stunningly, Lufthansa.
However, Pingdom declared that last in line for takeoff are those interesting pioneers from JetBlue.
Personally, I find this result surprising, as I have generally found the airline's site both clear and efficient. However, according to the Pingdom people, JetBlue's site only had 97.37 percent uptime. This represents almost 10 annual days of disappearance from the Web radar.
On the other hand, JetBlue doesn't fly any of those pesky MD-83s does it?