The announcement that the merged United Airlines would be keeping the legacy Continental CRS system – SHARES – was made a few months back. Not particularly surprising given the lower licensing costs and the lower customization costs for the product going forward. When this decision was announced it was also suggested that the migration would include integration with a new front-end interface, similar to the FastAir interface that United has been using for many years now. Apparently that plan isn’t working out so well.
I’ve now received reports from two different sources indicating that the development on the replacement GUI software is significantly behind schedule and the migration date for the server-side systems is not slipping to match it. The net result is that United front-line employees will be switching back to a command-line interface to manage most transactions, switching away from the current Windows-based system.
|Buh-bye, pretty GUI (This is a generic shot, not the FastAir system)|
Reservations agents are expected to migrate to the EZR system which does provide GUI access to the GDS. It is only the airport agents that will be stuck with the old terminal interface.
Such a change in operational software, regardless of the amount of training provided, will result in a pretty messy consumer experience. The change is expected to happen either late this year or early next, with "native SHARES in use for several months." It will ultimately be replaced with a home-grown GUI that will interface with SHARES but it will apparently be several months before this is available for the agents to use. That is not good for customers.
This news certainly makes me wonder if maybe former CIO Keith Halbert was right to jump ship earlier this year. He tried an end-run to keep Apollo, even after SHARES was announced as the new platform, and it cost him his job. If he saw things like this on the horizon that might not have been such a horrible move, though I still think the way he did it was pretty stupid.