United Airlines, Best Western, Vibe Software, Travelbug, Teletext Holidays, and Harris make our roundup of the stories that are driving the travel tech conversation on 28 September.
United faces another potentially turbulent computer transition
Next week, the world’s largest airlineÂ plans to giveÂ ticket and gate agents a GUI (graphic user interface), updating the old-school, command-driven system.
Customer-service and gate agents may struggle to learn the ropes of a fresh computer system while processing ordinary traffic loads.
The switchover comes seven months after a systemwide meltdown due to a similar transition to theÂ reservation system used by merger partner Continental and only five weeks after another system failure.
Best Western revamps its website
The tool for loyalty program members to track and redeem their rewards points has also been redesigned.
Vibe Software readies customers for ATOL deadline
Starting 1 October, new rules from UK civil aviation regulators will require UK agents to use new ATOL (Air Travel Organisers Licence) certificates.
In a free fix, Vibe Software’s booking tool will help agents meet the requirements by allowing customers to automatically assign the relevant status.
Travel companies wonâ€™t have to do it manually before receiving payment on a booking.
Vibe clients include Cassidy Travel, OMEGA Travel, and Emerald Travel.
New Zealand’s top homegrown OTA expands its listings with Expedia’s help
Travelbug has begun using Expedia Affiliate Networkâ€™s Chameleon platform to add 155,000 overseas hotels listings, as the site expands from its previous domestic focus on 3,000 New Zealand properties.
Teletext HolidaysÂ eyes database growth
Teletext Holidays says it hasÂ doubled the size of its database of affinity partnersÂ to 1 million in the past year and that it hopes to double the number again thanks to fresh marketing campaigns with Virgin Media and Samsung.
The company’s website received more than 20 million unique users in 2011, placing it within the top ten most visited websites in the UK for online holiday searches, reportsÂ Hitwise.
Harris wins huge FAA contract
The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded Harris, the IT company, a seven-year, $331 million contract to provide integration and engineering services for next-generationÂ air/ground data communications services betweenÂ FAA air traffic control sites and aircraft.
The goal is toÂ automate many of today’s routine air traffic control communications, replacing voice communications by pilot with automated data messaging equivalents.
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