As someone who flies American Airlines regularly, I place a high value on lounge access. It’s the people who keep me going especially during irregular operations, going above and beyond to get me to my destination.
Entrance to American Airlines Admirals Club Austin
So a recent tweet bears explanation,
What’s going on is that American’s premium services agents, who (among other things) staff the Admirals Clubs, used to work from a command line in the Sabre reservations system but are being transitioned to a graphical overlay that restricts what they’re able to do.
Club agents have been great to me. They’ve done things that aren’t technically procedure but make all the difference in the world as a passenger. For instance,
- They’ve regularly double booked me giving me ‘backup’ flights just in case I misconnect.
- They’ve preserved my complimentary 500 mile domestic upgrades when a flight is delayed or cancelled and they move me to another flight (technically only upgrades that have been confirmed and reticketed should be preserved).
These are things they’ve done to get me where I’m going when promised, and get me there in the class of service promised, and that only come into play when the airline’s operations go sideways. But there will be new limits on their ability to do this in the future. (I noted this was coming a year ago.)
The cutover to a single reservation system as part of the American-US Airways merger went smoothly in part because US Airways reservations agents were used to using a graphical interface laid on top of their computer system, and they got to keep a familiar graphical user interface (called Qik) when they transitioned to the American Airlines system.
Now American Airlines agents, used to the old command line system, are being trained in the graphical interface. And they’re not going to be able to use the old more flexible system.
The graphical interface is useful for training from scratch. It’s a challenge to have to transition to a new system once you’ve become familiar with your existing one. And the Qik graphical overlay enforces business rules to a greater extent.
This going to slow down transactions with legacy American Airlines agents until they’re fully comfortable in the system. One of the challenges with the US Airways integration with America West was that legacy US Airways agents — used to working directly in Sabre — had to be trained in the Qik interface and it was slow going when the US Airways website and kiosks failed.
The training is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2017.