The following events were reported in "Eastern Sale Required New Products Fast; IBM Delivered," IBM News, Vol. 3 No. 4, February 25, 1966, pp. 6-7.
In early 1965 Eastern Airlines was looking for a new automated reservation and ticketing system to give it a competitive edge over rivals. To kick off the search, the airline invited 15 information technology vendors to Miami Beach, Florida, on May 20 to receive a set of system specifications that resembled "War And Peace" in volume and weight. Eastern gave the 15 vendors a July 31 deadline -- a tight window of 70 days -- to submit their proposals.
Although IBM already had a basic application package for the industry called PARS (for Programmed Airline Reservations System), much of the hardware and programming for Eastern's system would need to be unique.
Immediately, Charles S. Rose, who headed up the IBM airlines industry organization based in Atlanta, began spending three days a week in a branch office in Miami. He and members of the Miami sales team then engaged in a series of long commutes to various IBM product development facilities and offices in New York State to devise the best possible way to meet Eastern's requirements.
The Eastern sales effort was spearheaded by these men, working out of IBM's airlines branch office in Miami. From left: C. S. Rose, airlines branch manager, Southern Area; E. M. Bozarth, airlines account manager; R. C. Chaffee, D. P. Shoultes and T. U. Armstrong, airlines account representatives.
Other IBM players and activities in the Eastern project included:
The IBM Data Processing Division (DPD) provided design engineers to work out Eastern's custom system with IBM Systems Development Division people. DP airline industry managers who played key roles in developing Eastern's system are: foreground, W. B. Elmore, Airlines Systems Development; from left, E. J. Rozmiarek, Operational Programming - PARS (programmed airline reservations system); D. P. Henry, Airline Systems Support, World Trade Corporation; D. E. Purfield, Airline Systems Programming; J. E. Siwiec, Operations and Test - PARS; and J. S. Grant, Airlines Systems Design Engineering.
Working out prices of units invented for Eastern's system was half of the all-important winning "price/performance" package. Here, the matter is discussed by, from left: R. D. McIntosh, director, Transportation Marketing, DPD; W. G. Wilkinson, manager, Airlines Industry Marketing, DPD; and M. Lombardo, manager, Group Special Product Pricing, SD-SM Group Staff in Harrison, N.Y.
The actual writing of the lengthy proposal was taken on by another team at IBM's manufacturing and development facility in Kingston, N.Y., working on a day-and-night schedule. With the clock ticking down to the deadline the next day, printing it on July 30 was a rush overnight job. Charlie Rose, then in Kingston, took possession of the document less than eight hours before it was due at Eastern's office in Miami, and he personally hustled the vital proposal down to Florida and handed it to the airline just before the deadline.
On August 11, IBM was asked to make an oral presentation before Eastern's management. The presentation ran from 9:00 a.m. to 10 p.m., broken only by short meal breaks. After that there was a long wait through the autumn and into the early winter. But then finally, two days after Christmas 1965, Eastern informed IBM that it had been selected to develop and provided an automated reservations and ticketing system for the airline.