This past week has been about system conversions. In any design project they are fraught with difficulty. They've been brought to my attention in four different circumstances this week, two business and two personal:
a) The merger of United and Continental airlines
b) The trusted traveler program
c) The collapse of my personal laptop
d) My leaving one job to start another in a different organization.
First the merger of United and Continental: I fly United a lot and was interested to see how they would handle the merger with Continental when it was announced a couple of years ago. The main way I've experienced it is through their frequent flier program. So late last year I got a mailing saying my card that was due to expire in January, would be valid until the end of March. This mailing was sent to a prior address but it finally got to me. I checked to confirm that I had, in fact, changed the address in my passenger profile, which I had, so I don't know how that happened but put it down to merger glitches.
I liked the way that with this announcement came a little gold sticker, saying "valid until the end of March" that came with the instruction to stick it on the frequent flier card. I imagined a bunch of people trying to work out what the best method was of getting to this solution and wondered how much the gold stickers cost. What was the rationale for them? Couldn't they have instructed everyone that all cards expiring January 2012 would be valid till end March and saved on the stickers?