Scoot's Longest Virtual Flight has problems taking off

A mobile app contest by long-haul budget carrier Scoot left many participants unhappy after the system suffered a technical glitch just as the contest was about to take off.

On Tuesday evening, more than 7,000 participants logged on to a special application to take part in the World's Longest Virtual Flight. The contest was an endurance competition commemorating the budget carrier's first anniversary. Contestants had to 'board' a virtual plane through the app and keep tapping a button on the screen of their smartphones every 60 seconds. The last person left tapping would win $20,000 cash and a year of free flights.

At the contest start time however, the app faced a technical glitch with contestants unable to log on among other things. In the end the virtual flight took off at 9.30pm with approximately 2,000 people; a far cry from the estimated 7,000 over participants who had registered beforehand. Scoot's Facebook page received more than 1,000 comments on this issue with many participants expressing their disappointment.

According to Scoot, the carrier had conducted numerous load tests prior to the launch Monday evening, with no problems even with "thousands of people" playing the game at the same time. The technical team is currently investigating the cause of the problems. A Scoot spokesperson told the Straits Times, "We apologise to those who had registered but were unable to participate in the challenge, and promise that we'll give another opportunity in the future."