I’ve received confirmation from their PR team that Saturday, March 3 will be the big day where they standardize the combined airline on a single reservations system. This is an important step for the airline, but it could cause some short term hiccups.
Right now, the old America West is running on SHARES while the old US Airways is running on SABRE. On Saturday, old US Airways will migrate over to SHARES so that the entire airline will be running on the same system.
The switchover will happen overnight, because that’s when the fewest flights will be affected. To do something this massive, it requires an outage for probably a couple hours. That means that people leaving the Hawaiian Islands on redeyes will have to be checked in manually. Get there early if you’re on one of those flights. I imagine flights from Europe may be affected as well. Oh, and if you’re an insomniac and like to make reservations in the middle of the night, you’re going to be out of luck that day.
Hopefully by the time everyone wakes up on March 4, it will all be functioning perfectly. I REALLY hope that’s the case, because I have a flight on the airline that afternoon. Now, they’re confident that it’s going to go smoothly, but as with any major tech project, there can always be snags. I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed.
Beyond the actual migration, the benefits are great. Currently when you go to an airport, there are separate lines for old America West and old US Airways flights. That’s a systems issue. Now with the combined systems, they’ll be able to merge those lines. All reservations and gate agents will be trained on the same system, so now anyone can help with any problems regardless of whether it’s on old America West or old US Airways. Oh, and the website should work better and offer more functionality for old US Airways flights now. I’m sure there are plenty more benefits that will become readily apparent once the change is made.
So, have patience if you’re flying this weekend and remember it’s not the airline employees’ faults if their systems aren’t working right. By the way, March 3 really is National Anthem Day. The US adopted the Star-Spangled Banner as the national anthem on March 3, 1931.
UPDATE Feb 23 10:00AM – It figures that I received more information just after writing this post. I now know that the systems will be down early morning March 4 from 2a to 4a Eastern Time. There will be 33 flights that need to operate during that time including some Vegas redeyes, so get there early if you’re going to be traveling on those flights. Check in from home to get your boarding pass ready to go. And if you’re flight leaves after 11p Pacific, try to get there before that cutoff so you can check bags and be at the gate before the systems go down.