Jetstar’s 5 cent fail sale

Like all Jetstar (discount airline) members who’d opted in to their communications, I was sent 2 eDMs hyping up a sale which started at 10pm tonight. Here’s the web version of the eDM promising 5 c seats from Melbourne to Hobart and Brisbane to Newcastle and Gold Coast to Sydney.

So what was the catch? The only way you could book was clicking on the link from the eDM or the webpage version. And of course thousands of people were trying to book in the hour or so the offer was available. Of those thousands who tried to access the site, this is what they were presented with:

Jetstar's site fails on 5c sale

Jetstar’s site fails on 5c sale

What Jetstar wasn’t counting on was the very active Twitter responses when users couldn’t get through on the booking site. A sample response can be seen at Twitter Search and many more savvy Twitter users, combined the hashtag to #jetstarfail

How ironic then to see that Jetstar have just joined Twitter with all of 19 updates, they would be unaware of the ire and negative PR being spread on Twitter. The tweet pattern is only one every few days, indicating they’re using Twitter as a push channel, rather than as a genuine social media engagement strategy. Other dead giveaway is the lack of people they are following (sum total is Dave Hughes @DHughesy rather than following all the people that follow them)


  • No point in having a milestone (in this case a birthday) sale when you know that your webservers are going to crash and thousands of people are not going tot get through.
  • If you are using a single channel for bookings, (e.g. website) make sure its capable of handling the traffic
  • Get the marketing department talking to the website people. Scale your website servers depending on your traffic.
  • No point in having ridiculous (5 cents? WTF?) sale prices for airfares when people can’t get them.
  • Result of annoying people and having them waste an hour watching the website fail? Posting their annoyances on Twitter, and saying how they are now going to fly Virgin Blue, how they are going to unsubscribe from email list etc.
  • Negative publicity on Twitter not countered by any response from anyone at Jetstar as the Jetstar account isn’t in active use.
  • Overhype and underdelivery leading to poor customer experience and subsequent downgrading of the brand. Potential for more negative customer advocacy, as people continue to describe their waste of time trying to get a bargain via word of mouth, Twitter and blogs.
  • You push your customers straight to your competitors
  • Don’t bother using Twitter if you’re not going to engage. Having a Twitter account and only posting every few days is a tokenistic effort. At least put in the bio that you’re not going to respond.

Any more frustrations with Jetstar marketing? Feel free to vent.

Update: 7 May Virgin Blue cleverly hijacks Jetstar’s Birthday Fail Sale by having “It’s not our birthday bash” sale. With a smart tactical eDM, better destinations and more user friendly booking times and travel periods, here’s hoping they clean up. Smart move!

  • yep, number of my friends and my parents reported the site crashing.

    luckily, i was fortunate to get tickets through TIGER AIR for melbourne last week for $0 + taxes.

  • Pingback: Twitted by tcollins()

  • Glebe2037

    Nice work here Tip … summarised it well and provided some sensible and valuable advice. P.