Virgin Australia is about to roll out an upgrade to its booking and check-in systems. That should help improve reliability in the long run, but it means less access to Virgin’s online frequent flyer system next week, a messy weekend of travel during a planning upgrade on the weekend of January 12-13, and potential delays throughout the month.
Picture by Hamish Blair/Getty Images
From 1030pm on Wednesday January 9 through until the end of Sunday January 13, Virgin’s Velocity online frequent flyer system will be unavailable. That means no access to flight redemption or seat upgrade options, regardless of when your flight is booked. Following the IT upgrade, the system will have a revamped interface.
For flights on January 12 and 13, there will be no options for mobile or web check-in at all. As a consequence, Virgin is advising customers to be at the airport at least 60 minutes ahead of their scheduled flight time.
If you have any choice in the matter, I’d avoid flying on Virgin Australia on the upgrade days. Major IT shifts often cause unexpected delays; Virgin itself is predicting that check-in is likely to be slower for a full week after the upgrade (until January 20). It will be interesting to see if the change affects Virgin’s punctuality record for the month (though it will be at least two months before we see official figures).
Part of Virgin’s motivation for the upgrade is to move from the Navitaire system which has suffered frequent outages for the airline in the past to a new Sabre-based system. One other interesting consequence of the upgrade: Virgin’s flight codes will now begin with the rather more obvious code VA, rather than DJ.