The Old Dog Saw a Cool New Trick

December 9, 2011 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

by Tony

I think most of our followers know I’ve been around for a while, but what you might not know is that I started my career in Travel over 32 years ago as a Reservation Sales Representative with United Airlines at a center they had in Rockleigh, NJ (at the whopping starting salary of $6.02 per hour :)). I made it through a grueling six week training class and graduated after demonstrating my competency in quickly recalling and using the hundreds of rudimentary Apollo CRS formats I learned that allowed me to find United’s flights, sell hotels and rental cars, and generally service UA’s customers.

I recall many things from that time, such as Marketing messages like, “fly to ‘our little corner of the world’, aka Hawaii”, or “First to 50” (UA was the first and only airline to fly to all 50 states at the time). I also learned my city codes, codes I have never forgotten 32 years later. Some of those codes made perfect sense and were easy like JFK (John F Kennedy Airport in NY), but others made no sense at all and required some little tricks to help recall them, such as New Orleans, where MSY makes perfect sense only when you consider how “messy” it gets after Mardi Gras :).

So why am I taking this walk down memory lane you ask? Well, curious guy that I am, I joined a webcast recently held by Travelport where they showed their new Smart Point technology. Promoted as being able, among other things, to have the ability to translate cryptic GDS commands across systems, it dawned on me that all the time I spent painstakingly learning all those format years ago is no longer necessary. As usual it got me thinking, in this case about how much easier the world is these days based on technology innovation, because it’s pretty easy to see how a TMC will benefit from this particularly when it comes to training their staff.

So kudos to Travelport because what I saw was pretty slick (and to be fair to my other GDS friends, I’m told they have developed similar stuff).   Another example of technology innovation that makes life easier for someone, even for an old dog like me, just in case I want to put my headset back on and take a few res calls for old times’ sake.

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