US Airways Promises To Fix Its Awful, Broken Website

Call us skeptics, but when US Airways promises to fix its awful, broken website, we choose to wait and see if it happens. That’s because we’re mean.

On the other hand, a recent US Airways email to preferred fliers was, well, surprisingly candid about what they call their “numerous failures.”

We asked airline and travel expert Mark Ashley of the Upgrade Travel Better blog for his thoughts on the transparent nature of the email. Mark says:

Pretty uncommon, but US Airways had some HUGE problems last quarter with their kiosks, so it’s not surprising that they’re addressing it. There were some horrible travel days for US flyers in recent months, thanks to integration problems. The merger between America West and the old (“east”) US Airways has been slower than expected.

The email claims that US Airways is adding several “features,” such as support for Mac and Firefox, and the ability to see an updated itinerary. Travis Christ, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for US Airways writes:

We admit that some of these features are standard equipment on some other airline sites, but we started in a bit of hole at merger time and we’re quickly closing the gap. We intend to be fully caught up and more by…well, as soon as possible.

Read Christ’s email inside.

US Airways writes:

Dear redacted
Dividend Miles #: redacted

Welcome again to the latest edition of the Merger Update, where we provide the plain English scoop on issues important to you, our frequent travelers. No corporate double speak; just a rundown of details on the most pressing questions of the day.

So, first things first. You may be weary of us apologizing for the tough times we had this spring due to the migration of our reservations system, but here it is: We sincerely apologize for the numerous failures. After a pretty nice start to the merger we’ve learned some tough lessons through all this and received some very helpful advice from many of you, some of which we’re applying already and some of which is unprintable. So thank you for sticking with us as we climb back on the horse.

OK, enough groveling, here’s what we’ve got…

Res Migration, Part LXXXVII

Briefly, here’s the status on two of the big items we’re still working on.

* Problem: Kiosks. We tried to apply the “West” software code to the “East” kiosks and it didn’t work very well. Yes, there’s more to it than that, but we know that what you care about is a solution.
* Solution: First we upgraded the software so it works in most cases. But “most cases” isn’t enough, so we’ve ordered 600 new kiosks, with the first 100 arriving in June. Added to a base of 800, that’s a lot of kiosks. In fact, it may even leave one extra, since our CIO, Joe Beery says he’d like to be buried in a kiosk.
* Problem: Reports and functionality for our employees. We didn’t adequately replicate some of the processes that many of our employees use to do their job every day.
* Solution: We’ve formed teams of employees and programmers to get our staff what they need and are making good progress.

What’s new in Dividend Miles

Improvements to First, Envoy and Coach Class all coming up

By popular demand we recently announced several enhancements to our in-flight product that I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see, including upgrading and rotating First Class meals more often (you don’t want another calzone?). It’s a lengthy list that includes upgrades to our 757 and 767 transatlantic aircraft. – getting better every eight weeks

Our release cycle is eight weeks, with the next upgrade due in June. As is our custom in the Merger Update, here’s a list of what we’ve recently added and what’s on deck.

We admit that some of these features are standard equipment on some other airline sites, but we started in a bit of hole at merger time and we’re quickly closing the gap. We intend to be fully caught up and more by…well, as soon as possible.

Recent enhancements:

Right now we’re in a “pit stop” to focus on performance improvements, speed and eliminating errors, but we’ve still had time to add a few new features including:

* Support for Mac users. (We thought Apple was a fruit.) We now support Firefox 1.5 (and newer) for both Mac and PC, Safari 2.x+ for Mac, IE 6 and 7 for the PC and Commodore 64.
* Bar codes on boarding passes to speed boarding.
* Fixed Web Check-in for Firefox users.
* Improved reliability of flight information for departure times, delays, etc.
* Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) cards now accepted for all tickets and purchased upgrades.
What’s a UATP card?
* Ability to see and confirm your itinerary online when US Airways makes a schedule change that affects you.

Coming in June (unless otherwise noted):

* Show sold out flights. We’ll show you the entire schedule for that day, even sold out flights, so that you know what all the options are, or were.
* More options from our Star Alliance partners. We’re adding more flight selections regularly from all Star partners. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as just loading them all up at once. We’re trying to get the most requested in first and anticipate having the bulk in by the end of the year.
* Detailed flight status information for diverted flights during inclement weather.
* Fixes to several seat map problems we’ve had lately.

Additionally, you’ll start to see a whole new, modern look, feel and booking process as the year goes along. Take a sneak peek at the current design of the new site.

Helpful tools for you that have not yet been announced

These handy gadgets will be available to you over the next few months. Watch your email for details:

* for your mobile device – Before you say “every airline has that,” hold on. When you go to from your device, not only will it automatically detect that you’re on a mobile and format properly and give you flight information and schedules, but you’ll also be able to buy a ticket on the spot.
* Flight information via text – Here’s a new one also. When you text a number to TEXTUS (839887), we’ll immediately text you back flight information for that flight. (It’s not turned on yet so don’t try it; your phone might explode.) Once it’s up and running it’ll be pretty handy when you’re on your way to the airport or landing with a tight connection.
* There are more mobile and text applications on the way, including proactively sending flight changes to you and we’ll keep you posted on that.

Preferred program:

* One of the great benefits of achieving Preferred status is the ability to receive complimentary upgrades to First Class. We’ve been hard at work automating the way upgrades are assigned. If you’re splitting your travel between us and another carrier, our improved Preferred upgrade program makes now a good time to go for Preferred status on US Airways.
* Later this summer, we’ll be unveiling our new ‘Trial Preferred’ program, which will give eligible members a chance to experience the benefits of Silver, Gold and Platinum Preferred status for 90 days for a nominal fee. At the end of the 90-day trial period, members can keep their Preferred status if they’ve met certain mileage and segment requirements. If you want us to let you know when the program is available, send an email to .

Some promotions & new program features that might interest you:

* ‘Y B Ordinary’ promotion – Get a 50% Preferred-qualifying mileage bonus every time you fly on a Y or B Coach fare.
* 1st Time Club Enrollment Offer – Enroll in the US Airways Club for your first time and get 2,500 Preferred-qualifying miles.
* New redemption options. This summer, we’ll be unveiling additional redemption opportunities designed to give you more ways to use your miles. Stay tuned…

Now let’s all get back to work

I hope this update is helpful for you and thanks again for your business and for flying with us. We’ll keep you updated through these Merger Updates, although we’ll probably need to change the name soon, since our final “single certificate” with the FAA is nearing completion. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work to wrap up our final merger projects.

With Warm Regards,
Travis Christ
H. Travis Christ
Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Hey, at least they realize it’s broken. Baby steps.—MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: redjoe)

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