United hit by delays as glitches beset system merger

NEW YORK/CHICAGO – Mon Mar 5: United Airlines battled service problems including flight delays, faulty kiosks and jammed phone lines this weekend as it worked through technical glitches during its combination of the United and Continental Airlines reservation systems.

The airline on Saturday adopted the reservation platform of the former Continental Airlines after the companies merged to form the world’s largest carrier, now known as United Airlines. It is owned by United Continental Holdings Inc.

But after spending months preparing for the change – including training about 15,000 employees on the new software – United said on Sunday that technical issues had flared up at airports across the system, causing delays.

In particular, problems with the company’s airport check-in kiosks meant customers had instead to line up to see service agents, spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.

“We did have some issues with our kiosks and at times that slowed the check-in process,” McCarthy said, adding that the airline’s performance had improved by Sunday afternoon.

By 2:30 p.m. CST (2030 GMT), 83.1 percent of domestic mainline flights were arriving on time, in line with the company’s 80 percent monthly goal, McCarthy said.

Earlier on Sunday only 75.5 percent of United’s mainline flights were on time – arriving within 14 minutes of their scheduled slot – as were about 87.1 percent of its Express flights. The day before, just 75 percent of flights were departing within 30 minutes of their scheduled time.

“Our IT department still continues to fine-tune our system,” McCarthy said.