Virgin Australia Cites Flight Delays with New Check-in, Booking System

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 11, 2013 3:40 PM EST

Airline travellers taking Virgin Australia this weekend may have to expect come in early at the airport and expect some disruptions as the airline carrier effects a new check-in and booking system.

Virgin Australia cautioned its travellers to expect delays this weekend at the check-in desks as the airline company migrates to the new Sabre computer system.

"The new Sabre booking and check-in system will enable us to provide an enhanced travel experience for customers in Australia and overseas, aligning us with the global standards of the major full service airlines," Danielle Keighery, Virgin Australia spokeswoman, said.

Essentially, check-ins will be made available manually with the online check-in temporarily shut down.

"Things might take a little bit longer but we'll have a lot of extra staff (on hand)," Ms Keighery said.

In anticipation of the potential delays and disruptions, Virgin Australia will open online check-in 36 hours prior to departure for Saturday's flights, instead of the standard 24 hours.

"We have been working with Sabre and our various partners on detailed planning for the transition and we have implemented a number of measures to ensure minimal impact to our customers. This includes stationing extra staff in terminals and contact centres and the training of over 4,000 team members in the new system," Ms Keighery said.

The SabreSonic platform will replace Navataire for domestic flights, and Amadeus on international services. The move, which standardises Virgin's IT, is also seen to improve its interlining with partner carriers, work towards smoother passenger connections, and allow easier booking for travel agents.

At the same time, Virgin Australia will drop the DJ flight code. All flights will now begin with the code VA.

"We are advising customers travelling during and immediately after the transition to arrive earlier than usual for flights, to bring a printed copy of their Virgin Australia E-ticket or itinerary with them to the airport and to use kiosk or web check-in where possible," Ms Keighery said.

For Australian domestic flights leaving on Saturday, January 12, 2013, Virgin Australia will open a web and mobile check-in early to allow earlier check-ins.

For customers planning to book flights or make changes to a current booking, Virgin Australia advised it would be best to do this before Saturday or after Sunday, January 13, 2013.

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