Page 2-Friday, July 23, 1982-The Michigan Daily
Bias in airline ticket
From staff and wire reports
A battle is under way over the com-
puterized reservation systems the
airlines sell to travel agents, and it
could mean consumers will have to
shop even more carefully when they
The computerized systems were
developed by the airlines to deal with
the proliferation of flights and fares
that followed deregulation. Travel
agents who buy one of the systems can
check schedules, fares, and routes by
typing commands over the computers.
CONTROVERSY has arisen,
however, over the built-in bias of the
systems. This bias means that a
reservation system from Airline X will
show a flight from Airline X at the top
of the list - even if it is not the best
possible choice for the customer.
Here's a hypothetical example:
Suppose you want to fly from New
York to Los Angeles at 9 a.m. You go to
a travel agent who has bought
American Airlines' SABRE system.
Assume United Airlines has a flight at
exactly 9 a.m.; American hasa flight at
9:15 a.m.; and Trans World Airlines
has one at 8:45 a.m.
When the agent asks about flights
from New York to Los Angeles at 9;
a.m., the American flight at 9:15 a.m.
will be displayed first - before the
United flight at 9a.m.
"Every computer reservation
system that I'm aware of does that,"
said Ellie Ruthenberg, a travel agent
for Boersma Travel of Ann Arbor which
uses the SABRE system. She added
that even though SABRE "makes it
easier to sell Aemrican tickets," it "is
not really a biased system" in the sense
that it limits travel choices.
"When I trained on the Continental
Airlines computer system, we were told
to mention Continental first," Ruthen-
berg said. "But I've never been told
that by American, they've never
pushed us to do that."
Steve Conlin of Conlin Travel agrees
with Ruthenberg that "all systems are
biased." He added "Each system is
biased to their (airline's) own needs."
AMERICAN'S SABRE and United's
Apollo are the two most widespread
computer reservation systems, with
about equal shares of the business.
Now, United has begun a campaign to
boost sales of Apollo, offering incen-
tives to travel agents. And Delta Air
Lines has announced plans for what it
calls an unbiased computer system.
Conlin:Travel in Ann Arbor is one
agency that has decided to switch from
SABRE to United's computer reser-
vation system in the next few months.
"Apollo didn't really appeal to the Ann
Arbor market, and in order to get into
the marketplace they have to offer cer-
tain incentives," Conlin said.
"We were offered local retraining (of
employees) for the Apollo, and the
system had new hardware and advan-
cements in software," Conlin said.
BUT NOT everybody agrees with
Apollo's incentive approach. "I'm very
upset at what Apollo's doing," said
Ruthenberg, "I think it will change the
whole way travel agencies operate
when they offer incentives like free use
of their system. It will make it too
competitive, and that will be an advan-
tage for the big travel companies."
The art fair and its masses will continue to be blessed with clear, sunny
skies. Temperatures will be in the low 80s. Q
Dialing for sex
D IAL-A-PRAYER, Dial-a-Joke and other prerecorded telephone
message lines have been joined in New York City by an X-rated
newcomer named "Free Phone Sex" whose callers range from curious
youngsters to bored night shift workers. "We're averaging 2,000 calls an
hour," many of them long distance, said Ira Kirschenbaum, vice president
of High Society magazine. The call-in line is designed to bolster sales of the
magazine, which features pictures of naked women in various sexual poses
and is described by Kirschenbaum as "strictly a girlie book." The
prerecorded, three-minute "message" is an audio accompaniment to a series
of photos in the monthly magazine that illustrate a prurient story line. Kir-
schenbaum said 1.5 million calls have been received in the two months since
the magazine opened the line. "A lot of people call again and again. The
phone company is making a lot of money," he added. Callers to the New
York City-area code number pay only the price of the phone call. This mon-
th's offering is a sexually explicit dialogue between two panting, moaning,
screaming women who act out a fight-turns-to-passion scenario. "Listen to
'these foxy females in the heat of passion," High Society publisher Gloria
Leonard urges in her recorded introduction. "Free Phone Sex" differs from
services such as "Suzi's Lust Line" and "Julie's Hot Line," which offer
callers an opportunity to talk live with a women and require payment by
credit card. Kirschenbaum said the magazine received a call from a night-
shift supervisor at a factory in the Midwest who claimed he was fired after
his men ran up an extravagant bill calling the number. The Canadian Press
reports that in North Bay, Ontario, some parents have been saddled with
hefty long-distance telephone bills by youngsters dialing the number. A
mother of four boys between the ages of 9 and 14 said she received a $29 bill
for her sons' calls. "Kids are kids, they're going to listen to anything," the
woman said. "But this is bad, especially the bills." The telephone number
for the prerecorded sex conversation is 212-883-8877.3-
Ann Arbor Public Library - Oliver Twist, 7:30 p.m.
CFT - Three Stooges Marathon, continuous shows noon to midnight,
Blind Pig - John Mooney and Bob Cooper, 208 S. First.
Ann Arbor Chinese Bible Class - meeting, 7:30 p.m., University Refor-
International Student Fellowship - meeting, 7 p.m., 4100 Nixon.
Folk Music Club - folk dance instruction, 8 p.m., request dancing, 9:30
To submit items for the Happenings Column, send them in carp of
Happenings, The Michigan Daily, 420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, M. 48109.
The Michigan Daily
Regents discuss faculty
salaries, 15% tuition hike
(Continued from PageX)
adopt a course of action that will
prevent further erosion in the financial
position of our faculty, and sustain their
confidence in the future of the Univer-
Frye said the University will continue
to request increased funds from the
state so that a salary program for all
staff can be started, but he said the
prospects of getting more state aid than
the University received last year are
With state support at the same level
as last year, the University would ac-
tually be losing money due to inflation,
UNIVERSITY President Harold
Shapiro and some of the Regents placed
the blame for the general staff wage
problems, as well as a proposed 15 per-
cent tuition hike, squarely on the state
"The primary responsibility is in
Lansing and it just hasn't been met,"
said Regent Thomas Roach (D-
Regents also criticized the state
government for not providing the
necessary funds to avoid the major
tuition hike administrators have
"NOBODY WANTS to raise tuition,
but at the same time, if the governor
and the state legislature do not fulfill
their responsibilities.., we don't have
any choice," said Roach.
"If you want to have a quality
education in the state of Michigan, then
you have to pay high tuition," said
Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor).
Regents will vote on the reallocation
of the five-year plan money and the
tuition hike of 15 percent when their
meeting continues at 9 a.m. today.
THE REGENTS yesterday also
heard a report on the affirmative action
goals and the University's progress in
hiring minorities and women.
Affirmative Action Director Virginia
Nordby said that in the faculty and high
level administrative areas the Univer-
sity's progress is "so weak as to
represent a serious concern," although
some progress has been made in non-
Regent Sarah Power (D-Ann Arbor)
charged thatthe problems the Univer-
sity is having are due to a "lack of com-
mitment at the college level, perhaps at
the LSA administrative level and
possibly" among the Regents and the
administrative officers of the Univer-
NORDBY NOTED deficiencies in the
faculty where minorities and women
have made litle progress in gaining
professorships. There are currently
two fewer women professors than there
were three years ago, while the percen-
tage of women professors is 5.8 percent,
unchanged in the three year span, ac-
cording to Nordby's report.
Minorities also did not fare well at the
level of professor with less than a 1 per-
cent gain since the 1978-79 school year.
Nordby also expressed concern that
there are a very small number of
women and minorities at the entry
levels of the faculty where future
professors are employed.
Vol. XCII, No. 46-S
Friday, July 23, 1982
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