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Kudos For Straight Talk On Airline's Tech Integration Problems

In an environment where most CIOs have their own PR handlers and their IT organizations can do no wrong, it's refreshing to get some straight talk from US Airways about its tech integration problems following its merger with America West. US Airways' sales and marketing VP, H. Travis Christ, comes off as more sinner than savior in this missive to frequent flyers.
In an environment where most CIOs have their own PR handlers and their IT organizations can do no wrong, it's refreshing to get some straight talk from US Airways about its tech integration problems following its merger with America West. US Airways' sales and marketing VP, H. Travis Christ, comes off as more sinner than savior in this missive to frequent flyers.

"You may be weary of us apologizing for the tough times we had this spring due to the migration of our reservations system, but here it is: We sincerely apologize for the numerous failures. After a pretty nice start to the merger we've learned some tough lessons through all this and received some very helpful advice from many of you, some of which we're applying already and some of which is unprintable. So thank you for sticking with us as we climb back on the horse."

OK, enough groveling, here's what we've got…

Problem: Kiosks. We tried to apply the "West" software code to the "East" kiosks and it didn't work very well. Yes, there's more to it than that, but we know that what you care about is a solution. Solution: First we upgraded the software so it works in most cases. But "most cases" isn't enough, so we've ordered 600 new kiosks, with the first 100 arriving in June. Added to a base of 800, that's a lot of kiosks. In fact, it may even leave one extra, since our CIO, Joe Beery, says he'd like to be buried in a kiosk.

Problem: Reports and functionality for our employees. We didn't adequately replicate some of the processes that many of our employees use to do their job every day. Solution: We've formed teams of employees and programmers to get our staff what they need and are making good progress.

Christ goes on to lay out several enhancements to its Web site ("Some of these features are standard equipment on some other airline sites, but we started in a bit of hole at merger time and we're quickly closing the gap"), first class meals, reporting of flight information, and other areas. Keep the enhancements -- and straight talk -- coming.