Is LAX really THAT bad?

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NM

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NYCguy said:
I"m no computer boffin (I can barely post on this board!), but it seems outrageous to me that it could take 6-7 hours to work out that the issue was with the LAN rather than a transmission problem. :shock: Just as well they are working for the government! Perhaps they are running whizz-bang software on hardware that has seen better days?
6-7 hours is unusual to fix some issues. It generally starts with someone blaming the network (in my experience, its always initially diagnosed as a network problem, no mater what the real cause is later determined to be). In this case they called in the telco service provider (Sprint) and they had a technician on-site in 4 hours. That may seem like a long time, but whether its acceptable or not depends on what is defined in the SLA (Serivce Level Agreement) between the service provider and the department. 4 hours on-site response is about as good as it gets in most cases, tough it is possible to negotiate quicker response times (for a price).

Then the Sprint guy has to prove that the problem is not his. That will involve various testing and reporting of results. All this time the management have been told by their people on he ground that its a Sprint problem, so nobody is looking any further. Then once they believe the Sprint technician that its not his problem, they start the proper diagnosis process.

Is that the way it should happen? Definitely not. But is that was really does happen? In my experience its pretty common - too common in fact. And as the guy who generally has to prove its not a network problem, I can fully understand how this one played out to 6-7 hours. Now I am not saying this is acceptable, and if I was one of those stuck on the plane for several hours I would have been mighty annoyed. But I am quite surprised that this does not happen more often for high-profile services such as this.
 

alect

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NYCguy said:
At least they got the toilets emptied and fresh provisions supplied to the passengers. Not like being stuck on a taxiway in the middle of a blizzard with the loos overflowing down the aisle and the pretzel-supply running dangerously low.

I"m no computer boffin (I can barely post on this board!), but it seems outrageous to me that it could take 6-7 hours to work out that the issue was with the LAN rather than a transmission problem. :shock: Just as well they are working for the government! Perhaps they are running whizz-bang software on hardware that has seen better days?

It could happen at any airport, but this incident certainly reinforces my disdain for :evil:LAX:evil:.

What is more outraegous than the 6-7 hours to fix it is that a mission critical system like the one involved clearly did not have the necessary redundancy/failover and disaster recovery it should have had which would have allowed things to keep operating (pretty quickly) while they diagnosed and fixed the problem. We're not talking about a retail check-out system here :confused:
 

simongr

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alect said:
What is more outraegous than the 6-7 hours to fix it is that a mission critical system like the one involved clearly did not have the necessary redundancy/failover and disaster recovery it should have had which would have allowed things to keep operating (pretty quickly) while they diagnosed and fixed the problem. We're not talking about a retail check-out system here :confused:

In all likelihood a retail check out system is probably pvery likely to have an effective and tested DRP.
 

Mal

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NM said:
Is that the way it should happen? Definitely not. But is that was really does happen? In my experience its pretty common - too common in fact. And as the guy who generally has to prove its not a network problem, I can fully understand how this one played out to 6-7 hours. Now I am not saying this is acceptable, and if I was one of those stuck on the plane for several hours I would have been mighty annoyed. But I am quite surprised that this does not happen more often for high-profile services such as this.

Yep, agree fully. It's easy to finger point when an issue occurs, be fed wrong information about the true issue and to drag a big IT issue out for longer than really needed if the cause isn't easily and quickly identified and false leads followed. The post mortem often shows how things could be done better... but of course that information wasn't available when diagnosing the original problem.

The Customs network is likely to be very complex and pretty historical. It references multiple databases of information and that would make troubleshooting pretty hard.

With Failover etc, not every component can be made fully redundant. Often only some components are. You can make something fully redundant - but then you start getting into the realms of Space Shuttle cost and complexity.
 

IainF

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In my company, we find that in 90% + of problems with our gear is due to what "Dave the wonder tech" calls an organic issue... I also know it as a PEBKAC error....

Standard diagnostics & problem solving for us include... "Turn it off, unplug it, wait a minute, turn it on again.....repeat."

We then remote desktop in to see that the mouse is unplugged......:D
 

NM

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IainF said:
Standard diagnostics & problem solving for us include... "Turn it off, unplug it, wait a minute, turn it on again.....repeat."
Lets hope there are better defined processes for diagnosing problems on an A380 :shock: .
 

NM

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alect said:
What is more outraegous than the 6-7 hours to fix it is that a mission critical system like the one involved clearly did not have the necessary redundancy/failover and disaster recovery it should have had which would have allowed things to keep operating (pretty quickly) while they diagnosed and fixed the problem. We're not talking about a retail check-out system here :confused:
Redundancy and fail-over should be dynamic processes. These clearly failed or the problem was not one that was covered by any planned redundancy or fail-over process.

Disaster Recovery is never a dynamic process and should always require the declaration of a "disaster situation" by the appropriate authority. It is most unlikely a DR situation will be triggered by such an event as was experienced at LAX. It would seem that through the entire process the authorities believed they were close to fixing the problem, even though they misdiagnosed the problem.

Triggering a DR situation generally comes with an enormous cost. And it is most unlikely that the US Government's DR plan for immigration processing would include provisions for a trigger event that involves a failure at a single location (LAX in this case).
 

Matthew Bawden

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Hi,

I was on an exchange program in late 2005, and the flight was good, the landing was good the weather was pretty bad but after we disembarked the plane we were met by an angry up tight security officer barking orders at us to get in line for processing. I thought it sent a negative tone towards visitors who have never been to the USA before.

Cheers
 

MelUser

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Travelled through LAX in August 2003 on way to YVR. UA - so Terminals 7/8. On arrival from Sydney while queuing up for immigration one man who was asking some questions in the queue was led away to "secondary processing" and not seen again.

Arrival into Terminal 4 (QF 26 from Auckland) Nov 06 fine although immigration officer questioned the name/address of hotel I was staying at!

Arrival into TBIT Dec 06 (LH from FRA) a bit slow in processing but otherwise fine.

Departure from Terminal 7 (UA) Dec 06 was a bit of a nightmare as very very busy - ie checkin, security etc.
 

simongr

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The only time I have had problems at LAX was flying SYD-LAX-LHR many years ago - as we were transiting we did not think we had to go through immigration - how wrong we were...

My last couple of times to LAX have actually been fine - much better than JFK last time :(
 
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dragonman

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Agree totally with Simon. My experiences once this year, and twice in 2006 were quite positive. Last time arriving at T4 i was on the street within 20 mins of touchdown.

The airports I will try to avoid from now on are LHR and CDG - they can be real nightmares.
 

IainF

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NM said:
Lets hope there are better defined processes for diagnosing problems on an A380 :shock: .

I can imagine it now....

"Hey Larry, reboot it again before we fall below 20,000 feet will ya!!"

Blue screen of death is REALLY bad......:p
 

straitman

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NM said:
Lets hope there are better defined processes for diagnosing problems on an A380 :shock: .

Sounds funny out of context BUT this was the first step in the process for the A320 a few years ago!
 

NM

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straitman said:
Sounds funny out of context BUT this was the first step in the process for the A320 a few years ago!
Which is why picked on the A380 this time ;) .
 

Optics

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simongr said:
The only time I have had problems at LAX was flying SYD-LAX-LHR many years ago - as we were transiting we did not think we had to go through immigration - how wrong we were...
I had the same issue in 2005 (and worse the QF FA told me I did not need to about with the VWP etc). Very p#&*#d off when I get fed through the funnel to the C&I desks with no way to escape to a transit area. As no paperwok completed, I lost the advantage of being J and first out, so I was way back in the interminable queu.

Knew what to do at next visit (transitting again), but still had a very long queu. Then to make it worse, once through C&I I, and the majority of the other pax, was steered off to some other desk for some reason I never did quite work out, Here I was queued up for nearly an hour, before arriving at the desk for the 30sec check. In a 2 hour stopover, I did not get my shower and only had time for 1 very quick G&T at the Flagship :evil: .

I hate LAX, even LHR is better I have found (but only just).
 

clifford

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dragonman said:
The airports I will try to avoid from now on are LHR and CDG - they can be real nightmares.

What don't you like about CDG? It works perfectly well for me.
 

Tassie

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I go to the US annually on a J1 visa. As soon as the INS guys see the white envelope in the passport, they are incredibly friendly. I have never experienced anything other than great service (though I've heard of lots of horror stories from other people.)

I too find LAX extremely fast to get through. It is much faster than JFK (arriving at JFK from the UK seems to be the slowest).

I prefer to leave from SFO though because it is a much more pleasant airport with decent facilities. Usually getting a night flight to SYD and at LAX all the stores, bars, etc seem to close long before the flight leaves.
 

NYCguy

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clifford said:
What don't you like about CDG? It works perfectly well for me.
Works fine for me to. All you have to do is arrive and depart on AF, in F, et voila, l'expérience est impeccable (a la différence de mon Français...);)
 

dragonman

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clifford said:
What don't you like about CDG? It works perfectly well for me.

Security last year on a flight ex-CDG to YYZ (via LHR) was a nightmare. Almost missed the plane. Was there 3 hours b4 departure.
 

JohnK

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I have been reading on this site for the last couple of years peoples experiences with LAX transits and I was terrified at having to transit through LAX last month.

On the contrary I found it absolutely painless. QF011 arrived into LAX around the same time as at least one other flight from Asia. It took less than 15 minutes to get through immigration on the VWP. Another few minutes waiting for bags and within 15 minutes I had received new boarding passes and deposited the bags at the x-ray. A short walk upstairs and through security relatively quickly and I was in the AA Flagship Lounge less than an hour after arriving into LAX.

Now LHR is a zoo, ORD is also a bit of a joke but I would not hesitate transitting through LAX again regardless of what other people have to say.
 
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