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United-Continental Merger Causes Delays

United Airlines merged with Continental Airlines on Saturday morning to bring the reservation systems of the two airlines under one name, United Airlines, owned by United Continental Holdings Inc.  This merger of the reservation systems caused a number of glitches in the system.  These glitches in turn caused numerous flight delays.  The company spent months preparing for the merger, training some 15,000 employees on the use of the new software, but despite this preparation, airports all across the system experienced problems.

The biggest problem was with the airport check-in kiosks.  People who would have normally checked in via the kiosks had to line up to check in with a service agent, said spokesperson Megan McCarthy.  This slowed down the check-in process and were the main cause of flight delays.  However, by Sunday afternoon, the majority of flights were back on track.  As of 2:30 pm the airline had a total of 83.1% of their flights arriving on time.  This was a good number, since the airline has a monthly goal of 80%.  Earlier on Sunday the airline had only 75.5% of their mainline flights arriving on time and those that were late were within 14 minutes of their arrival time.  In contrast, 87.1% of their Express flights were arriving on time.

McCarthy said that their IT staff is still fine tuning the system.  In addition, the airline’s call center said that customers could expect wait times of up to an hour or more when calling in and they advised that customers wait and call another time if possible.  Another issue that plagued passengers was the air-miles reward system.  There were problems merging the reward system of the two airlines and one passenger, Danial Woo, who was promised by United that his points would be merged within 24 hours.  Despite this, on Sunday an editor with Reuters said that her frequent-flier number was not recognized by the check-in computer when it was entered in manually or with her United credit card.

See the original Google News article for more details.


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