Shannon Airport has suspended online booking for its Santa Flights until at least Monday after the “unprecedented volume of traffic” caused the site to crash earlier today (Friday).
A spokesperson for the airport apologised “for the inconvenience caused” adding that they were “working hard to rectify the situation”.
Last year was the first year of the Santa Flights initiative which offers children and families the chance to fly from the airport with Santa transferring from his sleigh to board the aircraft some 15,000ft above sea-level during the 40 minute journeys.
Booking opened at 2pm on Friday but many parents were left disappointed as demand caused the booking system to crash. Initial problems on the Shannon Airport website resulted in an announcement on the its Facebook page that bookings could be made instead on the Shannon Heritage site. There were then technical difficulties with this system.
Hundreds of people took to Facebook to voice their dissatisfaction. Some said they couldn’t access the Shannon Airport site, others complained that when they tried to book, dates in November appeared for selection despite the flights operating on December 13 and 14 only.
While the flights are free again this year, a donation of €10 to charity was necessary to complete each booking. Some people complained that they had got through to the payment page before it crashed.
“Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented volume of traffic on our booking system for our Santa Flights offer, our system was overwhelmed this afternoon when booking went live. We would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and we are working hard to rectify the situation,” a spokesperson for the airport said.
“We have suspended our booking system until we are satisfied that we can cater for the extraordinary demand. We will give further updates on this on our website and Facebook at 12 noon on Monday. We wish to assure those who successfully received a booking confirmation this afternoon that their booking is valid,” he continued.
Ten flights are due to take off over the two days in December carrying almost 1,900 passengers. Eighty of those seats are set aside for Clare Crusaders and St. Gabriel’s School in Limerick, who are also the beneficiaries of the charitable donations.