There have been oodles of articles this week noting United Airlines’ system migration from Apollo to Shares this coming weekend, but very few offer any type of inside scoop as to what exactly will be happening. I found this one from a travel agency perspective that sheds a bit more light on the process and thought a few points are worth sharing.
Among the highlights:
- An estimated four-hour disruption to United’s automated systems and access to flight information in GDSs will begin at 1:00am EST March 3.
- Website functionality will be down during the same time period.
- During the “dress rehearsals” when issues popped up, manual workarounds had to be setup.
- United will have “hundreds of employees” on hand to deal with post-conversion issues.
- Some flights from points in Asia will depart earlier to later to avoid the transition period.
- PNRs containing CO segments will automatically change to UA segments.
- PNRs containing CO segments with schedule changes for UA segments will need to be manually updated.
- Changes to Continental tickets issued on 005 stock after the integration will require special handling.
- United will continue to accept 11-digit Mileage Plus numbers through the end of March.
- Travel agencies will not be able to sell Economy Plus seats through their GDSs after the integration (no ETA for a fix).
According to the United representative this reporter spoke with, “In general, we think we’re ready for it.” Not exactly the most reassuring statement, actually.
Here are my recommendations to best prepare your own itineraries before the changeover:
- Print (or save to a PDF) all itineraries with Continental and United and ensure the ticket numbers are included (they’ll start with either 005 or 016).
- Print (or save to a PDF) both your Mileage Plus and OnePass account activity to-date.
- Clear any schedule changes appearing on your Continental and United itineraries.
It will be an interesting few days (or weeks?) ahead. I’m flying mid-week next week, but I actually wish I had planned flights for this weekend just to experience the airport scene first-hand on Day One.