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ScaleArc Holiday Travel Survey: Nearly Half of Americans Fear Underperforming Airline Booking Apps and Sites Will Hurt Their Holiday Spirit

One in three Americans say airline booking apps underperform; 42 percent worry this downtime may negatively impact their holidays, including cutting into time with loved ones

Santa Clara, Calif. – Dec. 13, 2016 – ScaleArc, the leading provider of database load balancing software that provides continuous availability for applications, has released the results of its 2016 Holiday Travel Survey. The survey found that a full third of Americans have experienced underperforming airline booking sites and apps, and that Millennials are the least forgiving when it comes to inadequate site and app performance. Many Americans even fear that airline database downtime could result in less time with loved ones or flight delays.

Americans to airlines: No patience for slow sites and apps

One in three Americans say they have experienced airline booking sites running slowly or going down in the past year; nine percent say it happened more times than they could count.

Which booking sites are Americans most worried will go down over the holidays? It varies by region:

When airline booking sites and apps underperform, 68 percent of Americans admit to taking retaliatory action. Most commonly, this includes booking through a different site (31 percent) and flying with a competitor (17 percent). However, nine percent of Americans say that if an airline booking site were performing poorly or stopped working while they were booking a flight, they might never fly with that airline again.

Those most offended by underperforming airline booking sites and apps were older Millennials (25-34 year-olds), who were most likely to book through a different site (39 percent), fly with a competitor (19 percent) and never fly with that airline again (10 percent). They were also most likely to bash the airline on social media (7 percent).

Millennials are dreaming of a white Christmas (or Chanukah, or Kwanzaa)

Millennials, more so than any other age group, are relying on airline sites and apps to get them home for the holidays. Among Millennials (18-34 year-olds), 56 percent said the performance of an airline’s online site or mobile app was important for ensuring a happy holiday for their family, as did 48 percent of Gen Xers (35-44 year-olds) and half of Baby Boomers (45-64 year-olds). Seniors (adults 65+) were less concerned (37 percent).

What consequence of airline database downtime, in particular, would hurt their holiday spirit? Americans are united in their top fears: that time with loved ones will be cut short (21 percent), that they might miss spending holidays with loved ones altogether (19 percent) or that they might suffer flight delays (18 percent). Overall, 42 percent agree that airline database downtime would have some negative impact on their holiday.

“As we’ve seen in recent years, airline outages can cause massive problems for Americans, including thousands of grounded flights, cancellations and delays,” said Justin Barney, CEO of ScaleArc. “But what Americans might not realize is that when they can’t reach an airline website or app during a busy time, it’s the database that has been overwhelmed. While scaling infrastructure for big traffic increases is fairly easy, the hard part is scaling the database. The biggest technical challenge is that applications have to know how to leverage an expanded database. That takes time—it can’t be done in rapid response in the middle of a website meltdown during the holiday travel season.”

Barney went on to note that airlines and other enterprises have a couple choices for how to adopt these modern, scaled databases. They can recode their apps, teaching those apps how to send some traffic to additional database servers to spread out the load, or they can use technology like they have for their web server farms—load-balancing technology—in front of their databases and have that software redirect the database load automatically.

“Any infrastructure change like this takes time to implement and time to test,” said Barney. “Using an approach that eliminates code changes greatly reduces the time to implementation, but airlines that have had meltdowns in years past should take time now to better prepare for the busy travel in December.”

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted in the United States by ScaleArc in November 2016 among 1,008 adults ages 18 and older.

About ScaleArc

ScaleArc enables consumer-grade apps for today’s digital business – apps that are never down, are always fast, and scale anywhere. ScaleArc’s database load balancing software helps organizations of all sizes eliminate application downtime from database outages or maintenance, improve application performance, and scale database capacity – all without writing a single line of code. As a result, ScaleArc customers increase revenue, reduce operational costs, and accelerate time to market. Learn more about ScaleArc and its customers and partners at

ScaleArc and the ScaleArc logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ScaleArc in the United States and other countries. All brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

Media/analyst contact

Sara Black

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