NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In March 2007, a year and a half after they merged, US Airways and America West sought to merge their reservations systems. The result was unfortunate.
The intent was to move from the US Airways Sabre system to America West's Shares system, with a one-day transition. But agents on one system couldn't see reservations made on the other, airport kiosks couldn't access many reservations and pilots couldn't access weight and balance numbers. Flights were delayed, bags were lost and complaints soared.
Now, as the management team headed by Doug Parker, which previously ran America West and US Airways, contemplates another reservations system transition following the 2013 merger of American (AAL) with US Airways, it is heeding lessons from the failed 2007 effort and from other airline mergers.
The American/US Airways reservations system merger is likely to begin in July and be completed 90 days after it starts, or sometime in October, said Maya Leibman, American's chief information officer, during a briefing with reporters on Monday.
A reservations systems switchover is "one of the most visible integration activities that any airline does," Leibman said. "It's a complex and kind of hairy process to make it all work seamlessly.
"Being the last of the major carriers (to merge), we've had a little bit of an advantage to see how everybody has approached this," she said.
"Doug (Parker) has been pounding the drum, 'We can't be complacent,'" Leibman said. "We have to be paranoid about every single thing that can possibly go wrong. There's 10 million other things we'd love to be doing, (but) we are setting that stuff to the side right now."