A veteran gate agent in Miami asked American Airlines CEO Doug Parker at last week’s employee town hall about the user interface Qik that she’s required to use — instead of working directly in Sabre like she used to — and she calls it “a Pinto car… it does not perform to the standard we’re used to. Qik is not efficient” and she says in Miami they call it “despacito Qik.”
She suggested if American Airlines is going to be a low fare carrier maybe they could charge for carry on bags and use the money to pay for decent software, “it really stinks.”
Parker described Qik, the graphic interface on top of Sabre that lets you click instead of learning code to type. And that lowers the cost to train new agents. He says “there shouldn’t be anything that you were able to do before that you can’t do now,” then he says “I see you looking at me. I know there is, because I’ve heard from others.”
Indeed what he’s not saying is that the graphic overlay limits what agents can do for customers on purpose compared to what they could do entering codes into native Sabre.
A graphic overlay lets them train agents faster. It was a great way to port US Airways agents over to Sabre (veterans at US Airways who were there before America West took over did actually work in Sabre). But it also restricts agents ability to do things the company doesn’t want them to do when they’re trying to take care of customers.
There’s a new version of Qik coming out in May.