James O'Neill's Blog

November 2, 2007

The one hope against the database state.

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 6:23 pm

I blogged yesterday about the database stated and referred to No2ID including their example of International eBorders schemes that exchange Passenger Name Record information with foreign countries as well as collecting them

One of my ex-colleagues, a chap I shall simply call “Tim”, maintains that since all government IT projects descend into a morass of cost over runs and missed deadlines, there is very little chance that they will be able to construct the database state. It’s not just the government that can’t get things right: I’m off on Holiday for a week on Sunday, and on the way back I change planes and fly straight to Tech-ed IT forum without going home. I thought I’d give British Airways the Passenger name information they need for that flight. If you look at the full size picture you can read the error I got when I tried. British Airways want me to

  1. Check the country which I selected from their pull down box. WHY ?
  2. Enter my name as it appears on my passport. It has an apostrophe in it. Ah. They want it with only letters. 
  3. Enter my passport expiry date. WHERE ! ?

The deterioration of my relationship with BA is a matter of record; I’m also no fan of the on-line travel tool which we have to use at Microsoft (Doesn’t present options in a meaningful way, can’t find hotels you want to stay in, fails if you have ie7Pro installed, doesn’t use Active directory federation so only works if you’re NOT travelling and are connected to the corporate network etc ). But a system that could never work is a new low. I checked the HTML code on the form, there’s nowhere for the dates to go even though I’ve told British Airways they can store my passport information and use it to fill these forms.  

Oh well British Airways will just have get my data at the airport. And I hope they do a better check on their planes before the public get on them than they do with the web-site.

Update according to this page they don’t need my passport expiry date for a flight to Barcelona anyway.

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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