by Mike Masnick

United Axes Troubled Denver Baggage System -- 10 Years Too Late

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

theodp writes "More than ten years after boasting that it would simplify Denver's troubled baggage project, United Air Lines is throwing in the towel on the $230 million computerized baggage system. The system has never been able to process luggage from flights arriving at the airport." For those who remember these kinds of things, the baggage automation system was a big part of why the Denver airport delayed its opening by over a year -- which was big news at the time. The fact that it took them this long to admit the system failed is impressive. Of course, again, it doesn't seem like the contractors who built the actual system received any punishment at all for building a multi-million dollar system that never actually worked.

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  • identicon
    dorpus, 13 Jun 2005 @ 10:09am

    Hell Yeah

    And I'm old enough to remember the 1970s TV commercial of the gorilla next to a luggage conveyor belt who smashes a suitcase into pieces.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TJ, 13 Jun 2005 @ 10:34am

    No Subject Given

    The article says "Lawsuits between the vendor and other parties were long ago settled", without elaborating. So it sounds like the vendor may have had to answer financially for the failure.

    On the problem when vendors/consultants get off free for a failed system, that often comes down to proper project planning and contracts. If you bid a 9-figure project without establishing clear deliverables, or pay the contractor despite failure, and/or won't sue/arbitrate to recover incremental payments from such a failure... the originator of the bid is responsible for that failure.

    Spending another $340 million to delay opening a year to fix a failed system, well that's mind-blowing foolishness. No wonder airlines keep going bankrupt if that is how they are managed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eponymous geek, 13 Jun 2005 @ 1:30pm


    This was just featured on an episode of the History Channel's "Engineering Disasters".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Greg Krebs, 14 Feb 2007 @ 12:00pm


    The vendor, BAE, has gone out of business, so they received the ultimate punishment. One reason for failure was the client changing the target while developing a new technology. Would you fly on the new Airbus double decker jet if the manufacturer couldn't finish a part without someone changing what they wanted it to do? Probably the weakest part of the system was the controls. Can you imagine what it would be like controlling all the vehicular traffic in a sizable city with a computer and no input but destination from the rider? Think about it. Maybe the baggage system wasn't the only thing broke in the project.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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