On March 3, we moved to the continental.com Web platform for the new United. While we work on improving the site's performance and functionality, we’re listening to what you’re saying and writing about the change. And, well, you clearly have opinions.
We’ve heard from:
Continental customers who are happy with the decision.
United customers who like the new Web experience.
United customers who are unfamiliar with how to book their travel on the unified website.
And customers who are disappointed that we didn’t launch a whole new look and feel when we transitioned to a single passenger service system on March 3.
In this brief article, we provide some background on the efforts involved in bringing together two major airlines with two complex systems. We hope this helps shed light on our decision to wait to update the unified website.
Our plan from the start
Doing the work necessary to integrate our reservations systems, loyalty programs and travel websites and give you an updated Web design would have been the ideal scenario. In fact, not long after we announced the merger, we considered redesigning the website in time for our move to a single passenger service system.
However, we knew back then that we didn't want to:
Deliver a compromised redesign in order to fit it into the established timeframe for accomplishing everything integration-related, or
Deliver a redesign at the expense of making sure the systems integration succeeded and we could continue to provide a reliable travel experience for our customers.
From the very beginning, our #1 priority was to keep safe any information you may have stored on our system and provide a website that you could rely on for managing your travel. That meant focusing all our efforts on the systems conversion project.
Achieving a massive, complex systems integration
On Saturday, March 3, we transitioned to a single passenger service system in what was the largest technology conversion in aviation history. This milestone represented a major step in completing our merger, with the new United now able to serve all customers on the combined network from a single computer reservations platform. We also moved to a single website (united.com) and a single loyalty program (MileagePlus®).
The work involved:
Converting two reservations systems to one by moving millions of reservations records onto a new reservations platform
Fine-tuning programming, databases and communications links to improve performance of dozens of other company computer systems and thousands of devices worldwide that connect with reservations data
Working with airlines worldwide as well as industry distribution systems to synchronize our new reservations system with our business partners
Training employees at airports and reservations phone-contact centers in preparation for the computer changes – equal to 1.7 million total training hours
Adding 600 additional reservations agents worldwide to assist with calls during the transition
With all that was involved in bringing together two separate airline systems, you can see why we wanted to make sure everything was working — the ultimate goal being to continue to serve our customers online during and after the integration.
Dedicating time and attention to website enhancements
We’re committed to creating the best travel experience for our customers, whether it’s at the airport, in transit or at home. Now that we’ve reached the major milestone of moving to a single passenger service system, we can focus our attention on creating the best possible online experience.