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America Online takes over Unimatic/Apollo Access

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Source: Archived Content

Date: Jan 02, 2002

Effective February 28, 2002, home Unimatic/Apollo access will be discontinued from the CompuServe service provider.  Instead, you will need to purchase an America Online account in order to access Unimatic/Apollo from home.

To say that this is a poor idea would be the understatement of the year, in our opinion.  Considering that CompuServe 2000, a similar product to mother AOL, was a terrible program for a variety of reasons, I can only imagine the problems that will be caused by forcing everyone to switch to that parasitic, ad-happy America Online service.

Forcing flight attendants to switch to AOL, in addition to generating a host of usability problems, raises all sorts of questions like:

  1. What happens to flight attendants who purchased new computers bundled specifically with prepaid 3-year CompuServe accounts under the assumption they would need that ISP?  Will they get their money refunded and/or be allowed out of those service agreements?
  2. Why, exactly was this change made?  Who specifically over at UAL was responsible for this decision---and more importantly, what, if any, was the financial motivation behind this change?
  3. What happens to long-held e-mail addresses in use by the thousands of previous CompuServe users?   Will we have to change from OurName@compuserve.com to some goofy one-of-the-very-few-not-taken AOL e-mail addresses like gh4jfsldfj@aol.com?
  4. Why was the flight attendant union, particularly their Electronic Communication Coordinator and MEC C&E Committee, not notified (as even a damn courtesy) of this impending change earlier (even a week or so would have been helpful) so that they could have sufficient time to provide helpful information and advice for the general flight attendant population?

I don't have any answers right now.  I just simply received this announcement from CompuServe like everyone else did---having to sign on to CompuServe and see the following corporate-fluff message displayed:  (we've dimmed the useless corporate BS-words in gray)

For some time, United Airlines has worked with CompuServe to provide United's Crews with online access to the Employee Channel and Unimatic/Apollo. As you have probably already seen in messages from United, we are pleased to announce a new partnership that will allow this same convenient service exclusively on America Online, the world's leading interactive service.

With this new relationship, you will get the popular and valuable online features of AOL 7.0, plus easy access to your flight schedules -- all on the same great service! AOL software kits are in the mail to help you get started.

You can access United's Employee Channel and Unimatic/Apollo on AOL right now at Keyword: UAL Crew.  For your convenience, this channel will also remain on your existing CompuServe account until February 28, 2002. If you no longer need your CompuServe account, you can cancel it by calling 1-877-340-1014.

More information about this exciting change will be made available early in January, so check back for the latest news.

We are pleased to welcome you to America Online. If you have any questions about signing on, please call AOL toll-free from the U.S. at 1-877-340-1014. Outside the U.S. call 1-703-476-0514. Remember to look for your special United/AOL software kit in the mail and sign-up soon!

 As more information becomes available, you can be sure I'll post it here.

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