Dubai's government-owned airline, Emirates, forgot to renew its domain name this week, sending its website crashing offline on the same day it was trumpeting delivery of its first Airbus A380 superjumbo.
Travellers keen to be among the first to book flights on the so-called "premium hotel in the sky" via Emirates.com were met on Tuesday with a standard parking page placed by domain seller Network Solutions. It offered generic flight and Arabian travel-related text ads, rather than the fully-featured ecommerce site they were expecting.
One poster on passenger forum Flyertalk.com wrote: "I first thought what the?! Did Emirates liquidate overnight and management ran away to some remote island?.. or in the middle of their plane purchasing spree forgot to pay their domain fees?"
The answer is (b). Emirates sent El Reg this statement:
Due to an administrative error, our domain registration temporarily lapsed and this was addressed immediately. However, it did lead to some minor technical difficulties with the site which our engineers have now resolved. We apologise to our customers who have experienced any difficulties.
According to our correspondents, the site disappeared for several hours before re-emerging with the aforementioned snafus on board. Global availability took a while too, as various DNS providers refreshed their caches at different times.
Quite how an organisation with the clout and financial backing of Emirates can't manage to set up a $10 direct debit we don't know. We just hope its pilots aren't so forgetful.
That said, Emirates is by no means the first global corporation to suffer a bout of web address amnesia. Microsoft famously neglected Hotmail.co.uk in 2003. ®