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Iberia on-line check-in doesn’t work with free software

Apparently, there are still some 1990s-era websites which haven’t noticed that the web is not Windows. I realized this today when attempting to check in for an Iberia flight using my Ubuntu system and Firefox.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to use JavaScript and ActiveX to check whether the user has installed Adobe Acrobat Reader. If they don’t, it displays a helpful message:

Error message from Iberia on-line check-in

Error message from Iberia on-line check-in

…and refuses to continue. After all, if you might not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, why bother trying to check in? I’m glad you asked. Because it’s not the only program capable of reading and printing PDF files!

You may have noticed that the message offers us some information, just in case the script got it wrong. Perhaps it tells us how to continue checking in despite having different application preferences than their developers? Unfortunately, no. Instead, it explains how to configure Windows to use Adobe Acrobat Reader as the default PDF viewer:

Helpful guidance for configuring your Windows system

Helpful guidance for configuring your Windows system

I’m not the first one to discover this problem, as a quick search turned up instructions for working around the problem (Spanish, English translation) from September 2008.


Written by Matt Zimmerman

July 2, 2009 at 14:06

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

11 Responses

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  1. Actually, it doesn’t work at all but for different reasons.

    To fix the PDF issue I tried Firefox in Windows and the form validation didn’t work (and hence did not let you continue). I gave in and tried IE7 which had the same problem. So it is off to the airport an extra hour early tonight.


    July 2, 2009 at 14:41

  2. Well, to be honest, I think this is knitpicking at its best. I use Ubuntu myself and got around this problem easily by simply saving the PDF file locally and opening with Ubuntu´s standard PDF reader.

    Funny how we pick on dummy windows users but we want everything chewed up?!


    July 2, 2009 at 16:06

    • I think you misread the article. The problem is that the site won’t give you the PDF if it can’t confirm that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader.


      July 2, 2009 at 16:36

  3. Well, to be honest, their web page reflects how bad everything else works, so at least they’re honest.
    After 48 flights in the past year and a half, I can say without a doubt Iberia provided the worst overall experience.
    I mean, who leaves TV screens shining at your face with cheap movies from the early 90’s on for a 12 hour flight?

    Martin Albisetti

    July 2, 2009 at 17:37

  4. Try restarting the Internet. That might do the trick. :-P

    Eric Pritchett

    July 2, 2009 at 18:38

  5. In such cases where Linux+Firefox does not work (my particular cases are Linkedin.com or the Spanish lotteries transactional website or several Swedish sites) I always try Konqueror (I am Kubuntu user) and usually that is OK.
    Maybe Epiphany is a solution as well…
    I suspect some cases to be actually trying to discourage the use of Linux+Firefox or (worse) page developpers not assuming the use of generic code to make them accessible to every browser.
    I hope this helps.


    July 3, 2009 at 09:42

  6. Here in Quebec, Canada we have government sites that requires IE with ActiveX enabled.

    I had to run IE for Linux when my girlfriend gave birth to our first baby to get $ support from ou beloved government…

    And i experienced same thing with some “photo-developping” sites.

    I hate stumbling of sites made by lazy guys that don’t care about people that do not use M$ craps…

    Paul Ladouceur

    July 3, 2009 at 20:40

  7. mdz,

    I would like to know what the results of trying IE4Linux:

    Just curious… I have had to embrace Active X scripts in the past… it is a calculated risk.




    July 11, 2009 at 22:30

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