JetBlue and WestJet: A tale of two IS projects

JetBlue and WestJet: A tale of two IS projects



JetBlue and WestJet: A tale of two IS projects

1. How important is the reservation system at airlines such as West Jet and JetBlue? How does it impact operational activities and decision-making?

The reservation system was at the core of the operations that both airlines carried out. Both companies founded their business on the idea of excellent customer service and affordability. Accordingly, the reservation system was a critical aspect of both airlines. Using the system, customers from both airlines could book flights at the convenience of their homes and make flight arrangements in advance. The system also helps the airlines streamline their operations, as they are able to understand how many people are booked for each flight and prepare accordingly (Laudon & Laudon, 2011).

2. Evaluate the key risk factors of the projects to upgrade the reservation systems of West Jet and JetBlue.

Both companies faced similar risks with the upgrading of their reservation systems. Firstly, both airlines founded their operations on good customer service meaning that failed upgrades risked annoying and frustrating loyal clients. This would have seen some clients move to rival companies. Secondly, failed upgrades would have placed the firms in situations where they would have had to cancel flights. This problem carried the potential of large losses and legal suits. Lastly, failed upgrades would have stalled the rapid growth that the airlines were experiencing at the time (Laudon & Laudon, 2011). 

3. Classify and describe the problems each airline faced in implementing its new reservation system. What management, organization, and technology factors caused those problems? 

            WestJet’s IT restructuring was hampered with a dearth of problems. One key management problem that emerged was the planning. The airline’s management planned poorly for the process. Resultantly, the transition was taking place at a time when the airline had booked many customers for future flights. This created many technological problems. A key organizational problem that emerged was a lack of proper preparation. The company failed to accurately anticipate the time needed to move files from the old system to the new one. Additionally, they did not have an adequate backup plan in case of failure. The main technological failure for WestJet revolved around the transfer of the files concerning tickets that clients had already bought. Delays in the process greatly hampered the airlines operations (Laudon & Laudon, 2011).

            JetBlue learned from their rival’s mistakes and prepared adequately for the process. Through proper organization and management, the firm avoided many potential pitfalls in the procedure. One technological problem that the group faced was a failure in some ticket printers and airport kiosks.

4. Describe the steps you would have taken to control the risk in these projects. 

            Learning from JetBlue, the first risk management step would have been to observe another company going through the process. It was important to foresee the potential pitfalls of the process so that proper action can be taken in case the problems arose. Another way to control the risk would have been to halt ticket reservation and booking a few days before the actual process. This would have caused many inconveniences for regular customers but such a situation would have been better than the debacle that resulted when WestJet were forced to handle more client data than they could handle.
5. Perform research to learn more about the Sabre system. What is it? How did come about? 

Sabresonic Customer Sales and Service (CSS) is a system designed by Sabre Holdings that helps airlines in the United States carry out core operations revolving around their clients. Using the system, airlines can provide essential services to clients while making it possible for the customers to serve themselves in some areas. The Sabresonic CSS system allows airlines to make reservations, control their departures, manage their inventories, control ticketing and handle pricing (Customer sales & services, n.d.).
6. JetBlue had the opportunity to learn from the problems encountered by West Jet during its migration. What options did West Jet have to learn from another company who faced a similar situation? What would you recommend to the leadership team?

Before WestJet introduced the Sabresonic CSS system, three hundred other airlines in the United States were using the system (WestJet chooses SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service solution, 2009). This means that WestJet would have had some chances to learn from other companies about how the process could go wrong and the pitfalls that the company needed to avoid. This could have helped them make a smooth transition. Accordingly, the leadership team at WestJet should be advised to seek external consultants the next time such as process is about to take place. Ideally, the consultants should have experience in a process involving similar variables and circumstances.
7. Do you believe the West Jet problem is mostly IT-related, or do you think that poor leadership and planning caused the catastrophe? Explain. 

            The WestJet problem mainly arose from improper planning and management. Firstly, the management allowed the IT transition process to take place at a time when many clients had already logged onto the system and booked tickets. This left the airline with a lot of data to handle and resulted in one of the crisis that it faced. Additionally, the situation had the potential to annoy many clients who would have been frustrated by poor services even after they reserved their flights. Poor organization also saw WestJet fail to prepare adequately for the process as the team carrying out the transition failed to assign enough time to the file transfer procedure, resulting in more problems for the airline.
8. Why do you think that West Jet has slowed down its growth plans, such as the RBC West Jet MasterCard? What does a credit card have to do with the IT issues? Explain. 

The problems that arose following the failed transition have left WestJet in a vulnerable position. Some clients may have moved to rival airlines after being frustrated during the debacle, while others may be unhappy with the quality of the services. Accordingly, WestJet is trying to avoid the potential scandal that would result from a failed launch of the credit card. If the credit card were launched unsuccessfully, more customers would leave the firm and join rivals. The best move for WestJet is to first regain the trust of its clients before launching any other risky initiatives.


Customer sales and services. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2011). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

WestJet chooses SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service solution. (2009). Bloomberg. Retrieved from

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