Databases and Information System

JetBlue Airways was facing a major storm and, though belatedly, a large number of flight cancellations. This was a major crisis, and there were several issues identified, that can be managed with the help of databases and information system applications. These include airline reservation systems-rebooking options and rescheduling of flights and the performance of the system that could be degraded by adding more agents from their providers, Navitaire Open Skies, the issue with recording and tracking lost bags or baggage handling require a computerized system, the issue of figuring out the best way to emerge from flight disruptions, keeping track of off-duty crews which was not possible due to lack of a database system.

A database management system (DBMS) is designed to manage a large mass of information. It involves both defining structures for storing information and mechanisms for manipulating the information. To address risks such as system crashes or unauthorized access attempts, the database system must provide for the safety of the stored information. An efficient retrieval of data stored in a complex data structure, and yet presenting a simplified and easy-to-use view of the data, is the major purpose of a database system. This abstract view of the data, describes parts of the database that are relevant to each user; while information system applications or programs used to access a database form part of the view level of abstraction. The size of a database can vary widely as required.

The Main Cause of JetBlue’s Meltdown

A combination of both managerial and technological problem was the main cause of the JetBlue’s meltdown. Despite the fact that it was the airlines policy to do whatever it could to complete flights, the management opted to wait along with the continuing bad weather without taking the necessary precautions in case of persisting bad weather. And therefore, when the weather could not permit even after several hours, it became too late to deal effectively with the high expectations of the infuriated customers still hoping to get on their flights. The management could have put measures in place, if they had an oversight of this outcome and so a damaged reputation could have been avoided. Another major management setback was lack of investment in an upgraded database and information systems. This delayed any counter measures that were being undertaken to deal with the crisis, and as well meant huge costs of setting or hiring the systems in a hurry and so late.

On the other hand, the lack of adequate technology interfered in a massive way with the effectiveness of the measures undertaken to deal with the problem. For instance, even with the boosted system by Navitaire to accommodate more agents, their system could only accommodate 950 agents at one time, without degrading its performance. There was also lack of a computerized system in place for recording and tracking lost bags. The system that was already in existence had not been a problem in the past, since airport personnel could figure out ownership by looking up a passenger record. In this case, an information system component to record the bags not picked up and their location was the problem. In addition, the huge number of flights affected, demanded keeping track of off-duty crews, which had not been experienced before. Therefore JetBlue did not have a database system for that, which added to the crisis, before it could be handled.

The roles of management in any organization are commonly viewed as liaison and leadership, monitoring and dissemination, disturbance handling and resource allocation. In modern management roles, especially touching on sensitive customer relations and handling, and in which the reputation of the company lies, the support provided by good Information Technology cannot be underscored. Managers are expected to define a problem, construct a model to simplify it, coming up with potential solutions and then choosing one solution which they implement. (Rainer & Turban 2008 p. 264). JetBlue Airways could have managed the crisis better by adequate preparation for disaster. It could have alerted and forewarned the passengers early enough for preparedness, instead of just opting to wait out the bad weather.

Also, systems could have been set for handling any unexpected outcome due to the bad weather, instead of last minute rush. In addition, the passengers could have been strategically attended to early enough, and some needful services hired to take care of issues before they could run out of hand. Technologically, the airline could have hired immediate IT expert services to handle the crisis instead of dealing with it piecewise as one problem followed the other. This could have reduced the costs, and at the same time curtailing the magnitude of the crisis, also it could have made use of other advanced information technology systems to update the passengers, like the LCD display systems. Conclusively, lack of disaster preparedness and inadequate technology were the major deficiencies of the airline.