Gate agent musings

Old Feb 13, 20, 6:55 am
  #16  
 
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An experienced traveler would know not to walk up to the podium and say "what other flights are available." An experienced traveler would quickly do the research, determine the best option, look at seating (yes the seat map doesn't always represent how many seats have been sold on that flight), get on the phone and stand in line (or if available quickly get to the AC) and whoever is first, GA or TA, have them reroute based upon your number one or two preference. I certainly would off the top of my head know the alternative hub or non hub means to get to my destination, hopefully in a reasonable time. Asking the GA "for options" is what people that rarely fly would do and the "options" would probably be standby for subsequent flights or just wait for the delayed flight.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 7:10 am
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
By the way that monitor? It was a blue screen background and o felt like I was back in 1988 Att 2600 PC wordstar running.
Speaking as a software engineer, there's an expression "Never change a running system."

As a consumer we're all used to getting the newest / latest / greatest. Want the latest iPhone or whatever? Easy. Turn your old one off, turn your new one on, and off you go. Only affects you and there's really no interruption of anything.

Now consider a system that's the IT backbone responsible for the transport of over 500,000 people every day. Planes in the air 24/7/365, no let up.

If you wanted to wholesale gut and replace that - when do you do it? There's no downtime. Not to mention the tremendous risk of error or failure. And for what? A snazzier UI for a GA? Does that add value to the customer's end experience? No - there's no tangible benefit for them, only the risk to piss people off by having some IT bugs and issues of a new system behind the scenes.

For that reason, a lot of backbone mainframe systems have long lifetimes. If it's running and working, don't change it. Early in my career I was very much the guy that wanted to burn old stuff to the ground and make everything new and better... but after a while you become more risk averse and cognizant of the risk / reward trade off for making big changes.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 8:02 am
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Does anyone think today’s mx delay is worthy of a few thousand miles?
No. I would not lower myself to asking for compensation for trivial situations. You may choose to, however.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 9:24 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Speaking as a software engineer, there's an expression "Never change a running system."

As a consumer we're all used to getting the newest / latest / greatest. Want the latest iPhone or whatever? Easy. Turn your old one off, turn your new one on, and off you go. Only affects you and there's really no interruption of anything.

Now consider a system that's the IT backbone responsible for the transport of over 500,000 people every day. Planes in the air 24/7/365, no let up.

If you wanted to wholesale gut and replace that - when do you do it? There's no downtime. Not to mention the tremendous risk of error or failure. And for what? A snazzier UI for a GA? Does that add value to the customer's end experience? No - there's no tangible benefit for them, only the risk to piss people off by having some IT bugs and issues of a new system behind the scenes.

For that reason, a lot of backbone mainframe systems have long lifetimes. If it's running and working, don't change it. Early in my career I was very much the guy that wanted to burn old stuff to the ground and make everything new and better... but after a while you become more risk averse and cognizant of the risk / reward trade off for making big changes.
Agree. And, many of these older terminal like systems have an advantage of being extremely fast and stable. The downside is that they are not as pretty, which usually equals harder to train new people on them, but for those that know them, they work great.

I use applications in my job that have an older terminal interface available for those that know how to get to it. There's also a nice new shiny interface that 99% of our people use. I'm the 1% - and I can do things in seconds that take others minutes because of this.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 11:53 am
  #20  
 
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Never underestimate the power of a green screen application.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 12:11 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Does anyone think today’s mx delay is worthy of a few thousand miles?
No.

Originally Posted by rossmacd View Post
...I would not lower myself to asking for compensation for trivial situations. You may choose to, however.
Agreed. I can't recall the last time I complained to AA (or had a legitimate need to do so); would very much prefer NOT to be labeled a 'difficult customer'.

<puts on tinfoil hat> Yes. I AM sure they do this... <removes tinfoil hat>

cheers!

PS-a note to the fates: I am not tempting you--please leave me alone!
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Last edited by AAir_head; Feb 13, 20 at 12:14 pm Reason: formatting
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Old Feb 13, 20, 1:31 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Speaking as a software engineer, there's an expression "Never change a running system."

As a consumer we're all used to getting the newest / latest / greatest. Want the latest iPhone or whatever? Easy. Turn your old one off, turn your new one on, and off you go. Only affects you and there's really no interruption of anything.

Now consider a system that's the IT backbone responsible for the transport of over 500,000 people every day. Planes in the air 24/7/365, no let up.

If you wanted to wholesale gut and replace that - when do you do it? There's no downtime. Not to mention the tremendous risk of error or failure. And for what? A snazzier UI for a GA? Does that add value to the customer's end experience? No - there's no tangible benefit for them, only the risk to piss people off by having some IT bugs and issues of a new system behind the scenes.

For that reason, a lot of backbone mainframe systems have long lifetimes. If it's running and working, don't change it. Early in my career I was very much the guy that wanted to burn old stuff to the ground and make everything new and better... but after a while you become more risk averse and cognizant of the risk / reward trade off for making big changes.
Is that why pilots get their flight info at the gate from printers that use "Tractor" paper (or what ever technophiles might call it)?
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Old Feb 13, 20, 1:52 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by Dallas49er View Post
Is that why pilots get their flight info at the gate from printers that use "Tractor" paper (or what ever technophiles might call it)?
I think they use "Electronic Flight Books" (EFBs) now--all that stuff is pushed to a tablet from flight ops. The old-school dot-pin matrix printers and continuous-feed paper is just for pax manifests now; at least that's the only place I've noticed it lately.

cheers!

Last edited by AAir_head; Feb 13, 20 at 1:55 pm Reason: punctuation
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Old Feb 13, 20, 3:54 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by AAir_head View Post
No.



Agreed. I can't recall the last time I complained to AA (or had a legitimate need to do so); would very much prefer NOT to be labeled a 'difficult customer'.

<puts on tinfoil hat> Yes. I AM sure they do this... <removes tinfoil hat>

cheers!

PS-a note to the fates: I am not tempting you--please leave me alone!
I usually drop them a note a couple of times a year, although my complaints are almost entirely due to staff issues/rule violations. 3 that come to mind last year is that I cannot standby for a later flight, I cannot be upgraded if I clear standby and being refused access to the flagship check in as I wasn't CK.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 10:20 am
  #25  
 
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An experienced agent can do a lot more with the old green screen interface that with a GUI. I wouldn't complain if an agent had access to it and could use it.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 10:56 am
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
An experienced agent can do a lot more with the old green screen interface that with a GUI. I wouldn't complain if an agent had access to it and could use it.
I remember Eaasy Sabre. Difficult to learn, but once mastered it was FAST. Sigh.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
I remember Eaasy Sabre. Difficult to learn, but once mastered it was FAST. Sigh.
It's amazing how much faster systems can be when the focus is on what gets done rather than how it looks/is presented--this applies to sooo much more than IT...
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Old Feb 14, 20, 3:24 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by MrSyslogd View Post
Never underestimate the power of a green screen application.
Agreed! I miss the old VT320 terminals I used to use as a job back in the late 80s/early 90s. So much faster than playing around with mice and GUIs.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 3:50 pm
  #29  
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"Gate agent musings"

While a minor topic hijack, the thread title is perfect to reflect on something an ATL gate agent said about 8 or 9 days back. Boarded an AA 737-800 flight and about 5 minutes after scheduled pull-back time, the captain indicated there was a problem in the cockpit with an autopilot panel, that maintenance couldn't immediately remediate. They were looking for a replacement part from either Delta or Southwest, but if that failed there was a plane coming in about two hours later that would normally sit overnight, and they would use that airframe instead. Roughly 20 minutes later the pilot asked everyone to deplane and wait in the gate area.

The gate agent made a few non-committal announcements over the next hour, but then came on and said (slightly paraphrasing): " We'll need to wait for the plane that is coming in from Dallas, in about thirty minutes. We were unable to obtain the part, as it was too expensive".

Generally I appreciate gate agents not beating around the bush. But this may have been the first time for me that much honesty was counterproductive. Recognize Delta and Southwest may have been extorting AA a lot of $$ for the part, but it might not be a best practice for a gate agent to say that to a lounge full of frequent fliers. Just leave it as "the part was not available" .

Flight ultimately went wheels up just over three hours late. In-flight crew was great, BTW.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 8:33 pm
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Speaking as a software engineer, there's an expression "Never change a running system."
This is why I still run DOS 6.2 and Windows 3.1. I use WordPerfect 5 when I need to print something on my dot matrix printer for work so I can fax it to them. And, I use mosaic browser for my internet through CompuServe when I want to post on FlyerTalk.com. Now, pardon me while I get back to my game, just found out I got dysentery.
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