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Virgin Australia responds to Sabre system issues

Customers complain about long delays and problems with check-in system.

Problems with Virgin Australia’s new Sabre check-in and booking system which led to delays for passengers earlier in the week have now been fixed, according to the airline.

On 14 January, the company tweeted via its @VirginAustralia Twitter account that it was aware of an issue with its online booking system and was working to rectify it.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman told Computerworld Australia that there were some “minor issues” yesterday as check-in was used for the first time.

“These have now been resolved and overall check-in is running very smoothly at airports today,” she said.

“We had extra staff in airport terminals handing out refreshments and providing advice on check-in processes, and any customers who experienced issues were assisted on a case-by-case basis.”

The spokeswoman added that it had made enhancements to the Sabre system since it went live on 13 January. This included conducting testing sequences and scenario planning, the training of more than 4000 team members on the system changes and stationing of extra staff in airports and call centres.

“As we have been proactively communicating to customers over the past week, it is expected with a transition of this size that the check-in process initially may be slower than usual,” she said.

“Therefore we have advised customers to arrive earlier than usual--60 minutes for domestic travel and three hours for international--and to check-in online for their flights where possible.” Computerworld Australia readers commenting on the new system reported flight delays and booking issues. “David” wrote that his friend’s flight out of Brisbane was delayed by more than an hour on 14 January. Another reader, “Rosemary Stevens”, wrote that despite checking in online her booking could not be found in Virgin Australia’s kiosk system at Melbourne Airport and that her flight was delayed by more than an hour.

Virgin Australia implemented Sabre as a replacement for its Navitaire check-in system. In 2011, the airline settled out of court with Navitaire after it was deemed responsible for a failure in Virgin Australia’s reservation 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.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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