IT s aaaaaabout time-Apollo the winner !! CHICAGO, April 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines announced today that is has renewed its partnership with
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, Apr 5, 2012
IT's aaaaaabout time-Apollo the winner !!
CHICAGO, April 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines announced today that is has renewed its partnership with passenger service system (PSS) provider TravelPort for PSS services using its Apollo system.
After a lengthy and disruptive transition to Continental’s SHARES reservation system last month, United has learned that the system that worked for one airline, does not necessarily work well for the combined airline. United will be transitioning to Apollo, the system previously used by its United subsidiary, by this summer.
“I appreciate the many hours and level of effort my co-workers put into the transition to SHARES,” United’s President and CEO Jeff Smisek said. “But the complexity of the combined operation necessitates that we move to a more robust system, and do so quickly.”
While there are revenue benefits to using SHARES, United’s auditing firm, RRWTB Accountants, estimates that after
integration costs, the company will be able to save $25 to $30 million per month by switching from SHARES to Apollo, as Apollo has several proven front end add-on applications that make day-to-day operation smoother for its customers and front-line agents. “While we will be spending more on license fees with Apollo, we will be able to streamline our reservations and airport operations using Apollo’s more efficient interface,” Smisek said. One of the popular Apollo add-on applications is FastAir which cuts average airport agent transaction times from 12 minutes to one to two minutes.
Employee training will begin in May for co-workers from the Continental subsidiary, who are not familiar with Apollo and its add-ons. “This training effort will be much simpler than the training exercise to train United subsidiary co-workers to use SHARES,” said Susan McCorquendale, Vice President of Employee Development for United. “SHARES was a
challenging system to use, so it took longer to train on,” she said. “Many of our co-workers weren’t even born when SHARES was last upgraded.” The company plans to hold one-day sessions on how to use the FastAir system, and they expect agents to learn the new system quickly, as it is an intuitive, Windows-based system.
United expects the change to Apollo will substantially reduce complaints and improve on-time performance. Department of Transportation complaints against United have increased ten-fold since the airline moved from FastAir to SHARES on March 3 as travelers have become frustrated with slower response times, long waits on the phone, and excessive delays for staff to accomplish routine tasks. United’s on-time performance has also fallen since the airline moved to SHARES, with just six flights having departed the gate on time in the 28 days since March 3.
Employees are excited about United’s return to Apollo with
FastAir. An airport agent in Chicago said, “I’m glad that they’re finally doing something about it. I guess management is finally sharing in the pain.”
Industry analysts have applauded the decision as well, including former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune. “My God, we used SHARES when we pulled Continental out of bankruptcy 20 years ago,” he said, while sipping on 25-year-old scotch. “Jeff [Smisek] has always been a young whipper-snapper, but to think he can run the world’s largest airline on that piece of junk, what was he thinking? SHARES is older than this bottle of scotch. …and it don’t age as well as the scotch!”
Hewlett-Packard, the company that runs the SHARES system for United, was also pleased with United’s decision to drop SHARES. “After our underperforming EDS acquisition, we were trying to get out of contracts that did not work well for us,” said Jack Dunwitty, HP’s Senior Vice President of
Managed Services. “Nobody expected the new United to actually keep the SHARES system, so we provided no incentive to them to sunset this system.” HP’s SHARES support team consists of three semi-retired programmers in a nursing home outside of North Houston who work on the system from laptops while in their beds. “We weren’t sure how to support this indefinitely,” Dunwitty added, “Retention is a big problem – every programmer we hire for SHARES quits within a week.”
United is providing service recovery compensation to customers who have been inconvenienced as a result of the SHARES migration and related difficulties. Premier members in United’s frequent flyer program will receive 500 MileagePlus bonus miles, while non-Elite members will receive 1,000 bonus miles. “We are providing additional compensation to our non-Elite members because our Elite customers already get a bonus when they fly,” said Mark Bergsrud, Senior Vice
President of Marketing for United. “Plus our Elite customers are more likely to stick with us anyway, as they are already vested with the airline, are familiar with our award-winning product, and are more likely to already own a state-of-the-art, ear-conforming headset which can be used on future United flights.”
A TravelPort spokesperson said the company was very pleased to be able to serve United again. “Honestly, I’m a bit surprised it took them four weeks to figure this out,” she said. “It’s been posted on Flyertalk for well over a year now.”
About United United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,656 flights a day to 376 airports on six continents from our hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. In 2011, United carried more traffic than any other airline in the world, and operated more than two million flights
carrying 142 million passengers. United is upgrading its cabins with more flat-bed seats in first and business class and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any other airline in North America. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has orders for more than 125 new aircraft deliveries from 2012 through 2019, including 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 25 Airbus A350XWBs. United was rated the world's most admired airline on FORTUNE magazine's 2012 airline-industry list of the World's Most Admired Companies. Readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for eight consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 189 countries via 26 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
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