American App WEBSITE and Technology vs UAL

Old Nov 22, 19, 10:18 am
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American App WEBSITE and Technology vs UAL

I just started flying American leaving United as the new E175 service from HVN is very convenient. Can someone please tell me why American's website and Android app are so inferior to United's There is a tremendous difference in the technology. United shows the standby by First class list , flights that might be cheaper,seat maps for your flight in the flight status category. American's is very basic and hard to maneuver. IS American going to improve this? Does anyone have some insight?
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Old Nov 22, 19, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by hvnflyer View Post
I just started flying American leaving United as the new E175 service from HVN is very convenient. Can someone please tell me why American's website and Android app are so inferior to United's There is a tremendous difference in the technology. United shows the standby by First class list , flights that might be cheaper,seat maps for your flight in the flight status category. American's is very basic and hard to maneuver. IS American going to improve this? Does anyone have some insight?
Perhaps it’s because AA relies on legacy IT that nearly dates back to the days of the Magnetronic Reservisor. A few years ago AA had a LOA with HP Enterprise Services to develop an entirely new PSS, to be named Jetstream. The bankruptcy put an end to that, and HPE and AA reached a settlement in 2012. Doug Parker chose Sabre as the platform for the AA PSS going forward after the merger.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 1:12 pm
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Because enough AA flyers dont complain
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Old Nov 22, 19, 1:16 pm
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I know complaining about their website and app may seem petty, but one of my biggest annoyances with AA is how UA's customer-facing technology is light years ahead of AA. The fact that I need to wait 4 hours to see the upgrade list, can't have airports saved in the flight status, can't see the seat map, can't request SWUs on my own, etc. - it seems like a 2019 Tesla (United) vs. a 1980s Honda (AA). My general experience with AA is quite positive, but their app is actually one of my single biggest issues that they don't seem to care about (excl. they don't care about their NYC passengers). The app doesn't need a facelift, it needs a complete overhaul.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 4:35 pm
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I completely agree. There's a compelling reason to make it better too - the more customers can self serve issues on the website and app, the fewer people you need to employ in customer service. I imagine this is a large part of UA's motivation but if it gets customers more functional technology I really don't care.

I've done relatively complex IRROPS changes and standby changes on UA's app that are nowhere near possible on AA. They've only just added boarding start notifications and before that inbound flight status (which was long overdue).

I hate United's program devaluations in recent years but the conveniences they build for everyday flying have honestly kept me more loyal than I would otherwise like to be.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Finsup72 View Post
I know complaining about their website and app may seem petty, but one of my biggest annoyances with AA is how UA's customer-facing technology is light years ahead of AA. The fact that I need to wait 4 hours to see the upgrade list, can't have airports saved in the flight status, can't see the seat map, can't request SWUs on my own, etc. - it seems like a 2019 Tesla (United) vs. a 1980s Honda (AA). My general experience with AA is quite positive, but their app is actually one of my single biggest issues that they don't seem to care about (excl. they don't care about their NYC passengers). The app doesn't need a facelift, it needs a complete overhaul.
UA’s app shows you how many are on then upgrade list, how many are checked in, how many seats are free. It’s quite nice. Much better than bothering the lounge AAngels with it when I check in.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 8:00 pm
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UA's app tells me how great I look while AA's app insults me.

On a more serious note, AA's app might be missing some pretty major features and present buggy features but I continue using it because of the pretty photo backgrounds.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 9:52 pm
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I'm just happy I can finally check my progress toward requalification on the AA app without it crashing. For a solid 6 months, it would crash every time I tried to get to that screen. My expectations are admittedly very low.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 10:32 pm
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Its not the app or the website that's the issue, both are frontends to a very dated backend system. Sabre was created in the 1950s, its been passed around through acquisitions many times since then and as you might expect a website or mobile apps weren't exactly top of mind in those days. While it's surely had some "upgrades" along the way there's only so much you can do with these old systems; you cannot attach cameras and a LIDR to a Pinto and expect it be a Tesla. At some point you have to bite the bullet and build/buy a new system, this would require a large investment and leadership...so enjoy the pretty photo backgrounds.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 5:04 am
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Originally Posted by ryan182 View Post
Its not the app or the website that's the issue, both are frontends to a very dated backend system. Sabre was created in the 1950s, its been passed around through acquisitions many times since then and as you might expect a website or mobile apps weren't exactly top of mind in those days. While it's surely had some "upgrades" along the way there's only so much you can do with these old systems; you cannot attach cameras and a LIDR to a Pinto and expect it be a Tesla. At some point you have to bite the bullet and build/buy a new system, this would require a large investment and leadership...so enjoy the pretty photo backgrounds.
but see to Mr. Parker.. that would be probably spending and spending a lot of money that he is afraid may come out of his bonus.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 6:36 am
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Originally Posted by ryan182 View Post
Its not the app or the website that's the issue, both are frontends to a very dated backend system. Sabre was created in the 1950s
A quick Google search shows that United uses Sabre as well...
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Old Nov 23, 19, 6:43 am
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Also for anyone old enough to remember, Legacy Continental was the entity with the good tech, website, and app. Old UA was awful. Not german perhaps to this discussion, but who doesn't love minutia!

Safe Travels
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Old Nov 23, 19, 11:41 am
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There are some really good aspects to the app: you can see maps of many of the airports that they serve, it lets you track baggage scan data, you can do seat selection (not sure why the OP says you can't), get boarding passes, there is dynamic IIROPS options that will be given if a flight delay or cancelation meeting predefined parameters. I agree that it would be nice if you could see PALL before 4 hours before flight time, but isn't that by design and not a technical limitation?
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Old Nov 23, 19, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
A quick Google search shows that United uses Sabre as well...
That would be incorrect... UA has never used SABRE for reservations/passenger facing tech. The current iteration of UA uses SHARES (Shared Airline Reservations System) which is a descendant of Eastern Airlines SystemOne (later SystemOne Direct Access or SODA)... This got pushed over to CO as part of the Texas Air kerfuffle and the sold out to EDS (now part of HPe)... Bit when CO sold SHARES they negotiated a lucrative perpetual licensing arrangement.

Legacy UA on the other hand developed APOLLO as a direct competitor to AA's SABRE; both UA and AA sold their interests in their respective platforms (to become subscribers) at roughly the same time in the 90s, and UA used APOLLO through the merger with CO (they had a contract to migrate to Amadaeus, IIRC, bit the costs vs what CO negotiated for itself with SHARES made that a nonstarter and that was officially killed shortly after the merger.

Aside from that the CO/UA licensing, the other major thing the current UA (CO before it) has going for it is that for a couple decades now they've been moving functionality out if the mainframe/core SHARES environment and building interfaces to COTS hardware running less monolithic workloads --SHARES is still a gateway to these systems, but the processing happens outside of SHARES so reactions can be made much more quickly and you don't have quite the reliance on TPF programmers and architecture... From what I understand the majority of this development at UA is insourced where AA has bee reliant on their platform provider (SABRE) and outsourced programming.

(I love airline reservations systems....been vacuuming this up for decades and have had UA agents ask me how to do things in SHARES. :-P)

Complicating things though Sabre Holdings has other non-reservations systems, like load planning and dispatch assistance... I believe UA uses some of these tools but none are passenger-facing.

And like the OP I'm surprised by how far behind AAs tools are -- 99.9% of my flying is UA but AA is my number 2 choice and Evey time I fly them I feel like I'm flying an information vacuum compared to what UA makes available.

Last edited by lincolnjkc; Nov 23, 19 at 3:59 pm
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Old Nov 25, 19, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
And like the OP I'm surprised by how far behind AAs tools are -- 99.9% of my flying is UA but AA is my number 2 choice and Evey time I fly them I feel like I'm flying an information vacuum compared to what UA makes available.
I've been flying AA a lot this year (went from 0 to gold in about 6 months) because I'm now covering a bunch of small American Eagle markets so I'm not on WN and UA as much as before.

The one thing that baffles me is I can't easily change a reservation online. If my travel plans change, I have to call someone who puts me on hold and calls someone else to book it. Either process is easy on WN and UA. You'd think they would want to make this a self-service process!
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