AMERICAN AIRLINES t "SABRE" ELECTRONIC RESERVATIONS SYSTEM
w. R. Plugge, American Airlines, New York, New York M. N. Perry, American Airlines, New York, New York Summary The American Airlines Sabre System, a joint development of American Airlines and IBM, is a major step into the field of total data procesSing. This system is designed to solve the problems confronting the airlines in passenger sales, seat inventory control, and maintenance and retrieval of passenger records. After six years of jOint effort, a complex of programs and hardware has been developed which will be the largest commercial data proceSSing system in existence. At the heart of this duplexed system are two IBM 7090's. At the extremeties are agent consoles built to American Airlines specifications. This system will automate all of the daily reservations processes with the exception of the vital agent-customer contact. The Sabre System will give, in addition to the obvious customer advantages, the availability of current, detailed and summarized data for the use of American Airlines' management in their constant endeavor to improve passenger service. Purpose Of The Sabre System Progress in the air since 1930 from the DC-3 to the DC-7 was matched with similar, but less dramatic advances in our Reservations offices. The dynamic and revolutionary burst into the Jet Age with the Boeing 707, DC-8 and now the Convair 880 and 990 has presented the airline industry with new problems in the Reservations function because of the jet aircraft size and speed. These airplanes which can carry up to 150 passengers can depart an airport and in some instances arrive at the next downline city before our present day reservations systems has adjusted the passenger inventory. In the year 1960, American Airlines carried 8,615,000 passengers. In terms of reservations' phone transactions, this figure must be multiplied by a factor of 3 or a total of 26,000,000. The Sabre System being installed for American Airlines in 1962 will assist us in proceSSing 85,000 daily telephone calls -- 30,000 daily requests for fare quotations -- 40,000 daily passenger reservations -- 30,000 daily queries to and from other airlines and 20,000 daily ticket sales. All of this processing for most individual interrogations will be handled in less than three seconds. Sabre's main purpose is to carry out on a nation-wide baSis, the functions associated with the sale and control of air transportation from the customer's first call for information to his arrival at his final destination. To achieve this purpose, Sabre will perform a large number of different functions which can be grouped into three main areas; Passenger Sales, Reservations Record Service and Management Reporting. Passenger Sales The primary role of reservations sales agents and ticket sales agents is to sell American Airlines' space and provide the quality of customer service which will encourage passengers always to turn to American for their air travel needs. The Sabre System was designed to help the agent provide this kind of customer service with increased speed and accuracy. Reservations Record Service The electronic processing center will perform a number of record service functions, which also support the sales efforts of agents in the Field and promote efficient flight loading. These functions can be grouped into three main areas; information maintenance, distribution of schedules and operating changes, and teletype message handling. Management Reporting In addition to Sabre's Passenger Sales and Reservations Record Service, the system will provide as
From the collection of the Computer History Museum (www.computerhistory.org)
an important by-product, management control information. The electronic processing center automatically can and will prepare several management reports at given intervals. Over six years of joint American Airlines - IBM development effort has been devoted to this system,...