Scoot's system glitch leaves hundreds stranded at Changi Airport

Hundreds of passengers were stranded for at least two hours at Changi Airport, after a glitch knocked out budget airline Scoot's electronic check-in system for six hours on Friday night. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM
Hundreds of passengers were stranded for at least two hours at Changi Airport, after a glitch knocked out budget airline Scoot's electronic check-in system for six hours on Friday night. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

Hundreds of passengers were stranded for at least two hours at Changi Airport, after a glitch knocked out budget airline Scoot's electronic check-in system for six hours on Friday night.

Airport ground staff had to manually check in Scoot passengers by filling up boarding passes by hand. This resulted in travellers waiting for hours in long, snaking queues at Terminal 2. For some, this meant a delay of as long as eight hours.

The outage, which occurred sometime after 11pm on Friday, affected five outbound flights to Hong Kong, Sydney, Tianjin, Taipei and Perth. Passengers who were returning from those cities were also stranded at the airports.

The check-in system, which is provided by United States-based Navitaire, only resumed operations about 5.30am yesterday.

Jetstar, Tigerair and AirAsia, which also use the same computerised check-in system, were also affected by the glitch. While their reservations and payment systems were down, their flights did not face any delay.

Affected passengers, especially those whose weekend holiday plans were ruined, took to Scoot's Facebook page to air their frustration. More than 130 comments were posted. Some posted pictures of the long queues and crowds at Changi and Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok Airport.

Passenger Kay Ying Shong said in a post: "We actually sympathise with the Scoot staff who had to bear with some demanding and unreasonable passengers... Of course no one wishes for such things to happen, but at least the CEO or someone from senior management should... make a proper announcement to hundreds of affected passengers at Changi Airport."

A spokesman for Scoot, wholly owned by Singapore Airlines, said the carrier had been working overnight with their vendor to resolve the outage. "This was a situation beyond our control and we apologise to affected guests for the inconvenience and seek their kind understanding," he added.

Scoot flies from Singapore to 12 places in Australia, North-east Asia and South-east Asia, including Bangkok. Scoot said that, on average, it manages to fill more than eight out of 10 seats.

A similar technical problem in 2012 crippled electronic check-in systems and affected Jetstar, Tigerair and AirAsia flights out of Singapore.

jermync@sph.com.sg