Kiwi testbed for US online airline

New Zealand is to be the test bed for an online check-in and booking service for United Airlines.

New Zealand is to be the test bed for an online check-in and booking service for United Airlines.

The Chicago-headquartered airline has worked with Digital Media Design of Browns Bay, Auckland to offer the service, launched last week, that also features flight information paging to mobile phones.

United says New Zealand's small-size makes it ideal for trialling the service, which is hosted on a US server, before its adoption elsewhere. It is open to customers until four hours before departure, and claims counter times of just two minutes.

Users can book flights and confirm seats anywhere on the United global network, says United New Zealand general manager Stephen Pearce, as well as reserve accommodation and rental cars. All prices are in New Zealand dollars.

United says it has Web portals in every country it flies to, with transactions in local currencies and languages. It plans additional customer services for the Web sites.

The airline says in the US Internet bookings account for 4% of its reservations and expects this to grow to 20% by 2003.

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