IAH C-24 Testing Prototype Gate Podium

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by ssullivan, Aug 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Just arrived at IAH C-24 for my flight and found this. A brand new podium with UA people talking to the gate agents about what they like and don't like. Sounds like they like the computer terminal layout and look of it, but really don't like the flight information display right behind them (I don't like that part either). They're also call complaining that the adjustable monitors and keyboards don't go low enough for some shorter agents, and the heat of the monitor on their backs.

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  2. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    looks like the basic AS setup. Can't read the screen though.
     
  3. ssullivan
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    Yeah, the flight information screen is badly placed for a lot of reasons.
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    FIDS is bad but the lower counter is really nice.
     
  5. sdm1130
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    I like the open feel of the front of the podium but I agree that the information screen is too low and too close to the agents.

    I wonder why UA decided they needed to swap out the podiums at IAH. The current ones aren't that old.
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Who thought that it was a good idea to place the screen behind the agent such that they'd pretty much cover it up? I mean... seriously, that doesn't even require any testing to raise concerns, does it?
     
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  7. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    This is only a prototype. It may not be installed at IAH at all. Or, they may also be testing the design to use in Terminal B, which mostly has old podiums installed in the late 1990s.
     
  8. Captain Oveur
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    Given the colorful looks on the screen, it looks like it was a successful CAT scan of the gate agent.
     
  9. unavaca
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    GIDS is way too low to be useful.
     
  10. mikeschu
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    You would have thought that someone within UA would have designed it so a 6' GA would leave an unobstructed view. Worst case, couldn't they have made someone who's relatively tall stand in the prototype at the shop before it was installed?
     
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  11. SC Flier
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    The raised platform with a short slope/step is not a trip hazard for the agents?
     
  12. unavaca
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    I'm sure it looks good in the CAD modeling program the contractor used...
     
  13. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Tough crowd here.

    It's a prototype. You build one, you test it out and figure out what works and what doesn't and redesign as necessary. And that's exactly what was going on with this thing.
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    True, but don't you at least aim to get the basics right? (unless your goal is to burn through a project budget that's oversized for its needs)

    I mean, seriously, can you think of a reason why someone would say "let's put this monitor at a height where the agent blocks the view of it and see how that works in practice"?
     
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  15. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Wouldn't be the first time that has happened. ORD had monitors behind the agents for years that were about that height.

    I'm not saying it's a perfect design, but there's a lot of armchair quarterbacking going on here when none of us really know what they were aiming for here, or what the specs given to the designer were.

    Let's face it. There's a ton of stuff in this world that's poorly designed for whatever reason. Flown a CRJ-200 recently? At least the people on this project were there at the gate talking to agents and customers about what needed to be fixed on it.
     
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  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Welcome to the Internet :)
     
  17. ssullivan
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    Yep! And a forum where virtually everyone is a wannabe airline CEO despite almost none of us having any real experience with working for and running a business like an airline. :)
     
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  18. Captain Oveur
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    I have to echo what HaveMilesWillTravel said. We're not talking about NBA players standing at the gate, those are average-sized people standing, and blocking, the monitor.

    Even removing the acrimony out of how people feel about United right now, it's a head-scratcher how this design got that far.

    It's good that they're road-testing this first before fully deploying (if they do), but there doesn't seem to be a lot of forethought put into this.
     
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  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Yes. But you're welcome to ignore these threads and just focus on those about credit card churning :D

    Seriously -- I totally get what you're saying and have used the armchair CEO comment a few times myself. That said, "display must be visible to passengers" surely was a requirement that was spelled out to the designers of this podium prototype, no? And if it wasn't, shouldn't the designers have asked themselves if that was a requirement?

    I really don't see this as a case of second-guessing or not having enough information. This is like Boeing designing an airplane with just one wing (and I don't mean a stealth fighter style design) and someone here commenting "How did they think that thing would ever fly?"
     
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  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I will add a few explanations for why they may have chosen this design for the prototype:

    I suppose it's possible that they are fully aware that this is not functional, but their intention wasn't to test that aspect of the podium and they just wanted some mockup of a backwall while they test the desk and computer setup. Maybe they wanted to save material or make it easier to transport and thus didn't build a full-scale model.

    Not saying that that is really the reason... It looks to me like it's meant to be the real thing. But hey, might as well do a bit more armchair quarterbacking.
     
  21. mikeschu
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    Certainly we're not disparaging the process. What they're doing is very valuable and what I would consider essential before large-scale deployment. But I would consider this a beta test in public.

    It's almost like they didn't adequately unit test the design (to use a programming/QA term). I'm sure someone put it together in a shop to ensure it can be built first, so once that's done have a few stakeholders and end-users from the company eyeball it in the shop before it's revealed to the public.

    Of course, we're assuming that part was skipped entirely - who knows what goes on in those kinds of projects at UA. I think it's just more frustrating that several of us can see an issue when it's out in the public and wonder how that wasn't caught beforehand.
     
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  22. United Connection

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    Looks like a cop of VX's setup...
     
  23. AZjohn

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    No, go with your first thoughts, they are correct. Just another week of shaking my head what the newUA comes up with:confused:
     
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  24. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Except VX has better monitor placement. There are many things I like about some of VX's approach to counters and so on.

    Anyhow, monitor placement bad, but mostly it seems to be an improvement.
     
  25. sfogate
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    I don't like it. I prefer a counter to hide my paperwork, bag tags, etc from the public. I like having a moveable monitor and keyboard. I like having the departure screen behind me except for the low placement of this one. The worst thing is the platform this set-up sits on and the potential for tripping. While white is a nice clean color, how long is that going to last?
     
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