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Travel websites are down? Airbnb.com, Expedia.com
58 points by hamhamed 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 34 comments
Airbnb, Expedia, Hotels.com all seem down

AWS and/or Akamai are having service issues - naturally both of their status pages are green.

Why the heck are status pages so useless here?

In order for status pages to be useful, they need to be hosted externally, with no dependencies on the product/system/company they report on.

They're already fairly hard to automate, but making them external makes it even harder. So they're generally not automated. And, hopefully, they're not exercised very often, so they're often forgotten. The best way to manage this, IMHO, is to enable customer service to update the status page and delegate the duty to them. Generally, updating the status page reduces the customer service demand, so CS gets the most direct and timely feedback and is best placed to manage it.

Source: I ran a status page, poorly. It wasn't fully external either, but was far away from all the moving parts, so it would only have correlated failure if our hosting had a multi-site routing issue (which happened once, but not while I was there) or DNS problems, but we had mitigations for DNS not working in the clients, so not too bad.

Because status pages are now pages that express politics regarding SLAs for executives and lawyers rather than useful technical tools for developers and sys-admins.

Internal politics. Anecdotes are that org leaders face potentially serious consequences if the products they’re responsible for are down per status page. So they find ways to cover it up. This culture is passed top down as everyone is incentivized to downplay widespread outage.

Yep, the actual problem is lies about service uptime in marketing content or during contract negotiations. "Well, all of our competitors claim five nines so we have to, too."

One pessimistic argument would be that AWS has no incentive to be honest or timely about acknowledging service outages.

I'd call that the realistic argument. What's the optimistic argument if that's pessimistic?

That an entity the scale of Amazon and AWS just can't figure out how to report system status? Or they forgot? Or didn't have the demand to create it?

> That an entity the scale of Amazon and AWS just can't figure out how to report system status?

Yeah, that's literally what they've claimed in the past.. when the 2017 S3 outage happened, the issue wasn't reflected on the status page and they later claimed that they were having trouble updating it because the status page relied upon S3 somehow.

Maybe the 'optimistic' argument is more like the 'naive' argument...

> What's the optimistic argument if that's pessimistic?

They have some rudimentary automated checks that doesn't cover enough failure scenarios. After some time, given there are enough reports on twitter, they check manually if something is wrong and a human operator writes a status on the status page.

I've seen this behavior at every place I've worked. You get in trouble when the status page goes red, therefore never say that anything is down unless you absolutely have to do so.

akamai reporting issues now https://edgedns.status.akamai.com/

Ha, how do you end up reaching for "travel websites"? Like, what is the shared technology that they use that general internet sites don't? I clicked into the comments hoping to learn something interesting about the travel industry (like maybe Airbnb and Expedia and others are all part of some conglomerate - like how many of the dating websites are actually one company).

But, yeah, general infrastructure being down and affecting all kinds of disparate (travel and non-travel) sites makes sense and is boring.

Reminds me of an interesting study where researchers gave a list of numbers with some hidden property and let people ask if other numbers have that property, to try to figure out what it was. And people tend to generate numbers that agree with their hypothesis, to try to confirm it, rather than numbers that disagree, to disprove it. Wish I could find that study.

Travel websites actually do use certain shared back-end systems in some cases:


And these systems are ancient, think using-proprietary-keyboard-typing-commands-on-a-terminal ancient - and often the only access control is knowing the last name of the traveler, or an 6-8 character password.

Aha! Very cool, thanks for sharing that.

> and is boring

This is actually helpful to see a lot of unrelated sites affected by (likely) a similar cause. I've had issues with a couple different sites, and it's good to see confirmation that it's not just me.

Particularly since a) the number of affected sites appears to be growing, and b) as the downtime continues to increase.

Not just travel sites, it’s Akamai/AWS probably: https://downdetector.com/

Steam is down: https://steamstat.us/

Agoda's up: https://www.agoda.com

Fidelity (both the website and mobile app seem to be having login problems), I wonder if it’s related?

We are having multiple outages due to DNS. Akamai, Cloudfront hosted content is down.

Ally Bank is also down (the app, or if you try to log in on their site).

Watching some Olympics, Eurosport Player is also down

Vanguard down...

Kinda depressing how fragile the Internet is.

Airbnb seems to be back up!

Carmax & Autotrader

SkyScanner is also down

Concur is also down

FedEx.com is down

As is UPS.

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