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Virgin Australia checks in with Sabre booking system

Airline replaces Navitaire check-in system which crashed in 2012.

Virgin Australia has implemented a new booking and check-in system called Sabre across its domestic and international networks.

It replaces the Navitaire check-in offering which crashed in November 2012, causing long delays for Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger passengers at Australian airports. In 2011, Virgin Australia settled out of court with Navitaire after the IT company was deemed responsible for a failure in the airline's system during 2010.

The system crash left thousands of Virgin customers stranded and queuing for lengthy periods of time as staff were forced to switch to a manual system.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman told Computerworld Australia that the airline previously operated on two separate booking and check-in systems – Navitaire for domestic and short-haul international flights and Amadeus for long-haul international flights.

Virgin Australia's domestic partner airline, Skywest, also uses the Sabre system. In addition, international airlines including Virgin America, LAN and JetBlue operate the booking system while alliance partner Etihad Airways is about to move to Sabre in the next few months.

The spokeswoman added that there would be “longer than usual” wait times in some Australian airports as the Sabre system is embedded into its day-to-day operations.

“With our Web and mobile check-in options now available, we encourage all customers to check-in online prior to coming to the airport where possible,” she said in a statement.

Virgin Australia customers travelling between 14 January and 20 January 2013 have also been advised to bring a printed copy of their itinerary to the airport and arrive for check-in at least 60 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and at least three hours for international flights.

“We have stationed 30 per cent more staff in terminals and contact centres over the next week to support customers,” said the spokeswoman.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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