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Router glitch spells weekend chaos for Virgin Australia

July 22, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A computer network crash at the start of the weekend knocked out Virgin Australia’s ticketing system, forcing it to cancel several domestic flights and send passengers home or to hotels.

Virgin Australia switched to the Sabre GDS from Navitaire in January, after several well-publicised problems with the previous system. But the latest glitch seems not to have been res-system related. Virgin blamed it on an Optus router.

“Please note there may be some delays to flights this morning [Saturday] and some cancellations as we accommodate customers affected by a temporary outage to our check-in system last night,” Virgin explained on its Facebook page.

“The outage was caused by an issue with an Optus router that has now been rectified. We are working hard to get people on their way as soon as possible and we encourage you to check our website for updates. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience during this time.”

Virgin’s ticketing system went down about 7.30pm Friday and was out for almost two hours.

Planes stayed on the tarmac at Sydney Airport more than two hours after they had landed as they hadn’t been allocated a gate, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Virgin said passengers were offered new flights and interstate customers were provided with accommodation vouchers.

The following morning, Virgin spokeswoman Emma King told Melbourne’s Herald Sun that the situation was almost back to normal.

As usual, passengers took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustration over the delay.

Virgin dealt with it all professionally, as this exchange shows:

“Can I get a boarding pass sent to my phone when I already checked in on the web because mobile check in was down?” asked passenger Kat Hopewell.

“Hi Kat, you’ll be able to request your boarding pass when you drop your bags. You can also head to one of our kiosks,” Virgin replied.

A really smart piece of advice was posted by one Luke Cassian Woodley. It’s worth repeating.

“Here’s a hint people,” Woodley posted. “If you want to get served faster at the counters don’t spend 5 minutes a piece yelling at the check in staff, the 200 people in front of you did that already and just lengthens the delays for everybody and makes the agent feel like crap. Secondly the call centre will obviously be backlogged. If you are calling just to complain, hang up, send your complaint online and free the phones for people with genuine need of assistance.”

Good thinking!

Virgin Australia staff worked long into the night helping to ease the situation, and some passengers recognised this.

“Whilst last night was a debacle, I would like to say thank you to Virgin in the end for sorting out accommodation and food. And your staff both on the phone and at the airports were great,” Tara Denaro said.

Written by Peter Needham

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