News Article - February 24, 2007

Glitch hurts check-ins at US Airways  
  Long lines and delayed flights frustrated US Airways passengers at Philadelphia International Airport and elsewhere yesterday after the airline's switch to a new computer reservation system knocked its self-service kiosks out of commission. About 100 passengers missed flights but no Philadelphia departures were canceled as a result of the computer glitches, US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader said. The average departure delay from Philadelphia was 23 minutes, comparable to what the airline experiences during a snowstorm or thunderstorm, she said.

   The technical storm raged elsewhere, too, particularly at the airline's hub in Charlotte, N.C. In Pittsburgh, long lines persisted into the evening, travelers said. By midafternoon, the airline had 10 of 52 kiosks working at Philadelphia International Airport, and there were no lines at the counters, Rader said. The new reservations system, which was switched on between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. yesterday, replaced separate systems used by US Airways and America West Airlines before their merger in September 2005. The merged airline continued to use the independent systems as it worked to integrate the two operations. "When the reservations system came up this morning, everything worked well, except the kiosks didn't," Rader said. "Now it's pretty much walk up to the counter."

   US Airways has had a variety of service problems at its Philadelphia hub, where the airline has more than 50,000 passengers a day and operates 425 daily flights. Most of the service issues have concerned ragged checked-baggage service because of a shortage of employees working with dilapidated equipment and facilities, airline officials have said. Complaints about baggage service have declined in recent months after hitting a peak last summer. US Airways had more problems with the computer switchover at its largest hub, at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, where flights were delayed up to 90 minutes because lines at ticket counters were longer, the Associated Press reported. Some passengers said it took more than two hours to speak to an agent. Rader said Charlotte passengers had longer waits largely because there are far more kiosks in use at that airport.

Source - Philadelphia Inquirer