Sabre IT outage affecting Virgin Australia (and others like Rex)

8 replies

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

Virgin and Rex airlines hit by global IT outage, impacting flight

abc.net.au/news/2021-05-21/virgin-and-rex-computer-outage-impacting-flights/100157452


VA 2.0 and REx (Plus) carriers faces their first major disruption in service and on a Friday night too.

VA 1.0 used to manage these crisis like QF, but now that they are “value” carrier it will be interesting to see if they behave like JQ (cancel flights for the rest of the night, no accommodation, your refund in voucher or cash in 6weeks time or your got chase it yourself, good luck to those pax in transit)

REx used to simply reorganise planes and flight schedule for routes with country destination ie fly pax in the late of the night (or rather early wee hours of the morning) since they need to reposition their planes in their start positions for the next day anyway (the first flight back to capital city is delayed or rescheduled) but that is probably with the cooperation of country airport management. Not sure if that is practical for jet routes involving Sydney (and it’s curfew, which exempts propeller planes of certain MTOW like the Saab). Since they position themselves as value service as well, I wonder their resolution is going to be like JQ as well

Mind you in the brave new world of QF having less competition with full service carriers, QF response to these flight delays may not be as premium or noice as those of 2019 as well

Maybe readers caught in this outage can let us know how they are looked after (or not) by these 2 airlines


planesa380

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 05 Sep 2013

Total posts 76

I was caught in the Sabre (the booking system that backs Virgin Australia’s network) outage by Virgin Australia a few years ago.

A colleague in my office was also impacted yesterday and said that it was pretty much the same prosses as before (i.e. very little communication), with no real differences that he could see between both events.

He did say that most planes did travel but with a 2-to-3-hour delay once sabre was semi back online.

But there were some cancelations too, mainly if there were curfews at the airport or the airport terminal was shut for the evening or if the crew had maxed out their hours for the day/month.

What happened was simple if the flight was cancelled. It depends on if you are at your home port or not and if you booked via Virgin Australia or a third party:

A) Booked via a third party (including: travel agents both physical and online; and/or corporate bookings via GDS):

- Contact your ticket issuers disruption phone number or contact per your ticket details.

- They will rebook you on another Virgin Australia flight or moved to another airline, provide refund or credit depending on ticket type.

- Accommodation and other assistance may be provided (if not at home airport) and they will give you the information per your insurance or the insurance that they have for flight disruptions.

- Advised to look at your travel insurance to see if you were eligible for any supports.

- If no response by third party, you could access Virgins direct prosses after Virgin Australia passengers who booked direct were helped, but you would be pushed to keep trying your third-party booker.

B) Booked via a Virgin Australia booking portal, and you were at your home port (i.e. city of resident or within a close drive of it):

- No accommodation if rebooked the next day (you needed to return home, Virgin Australia did not provide free accommodation or cover for you to claim via Virgins internal insurance for accommodation or transport costs but your own insurance might cover these costs)

- You were rebooked on the next available flight depending on a variety of factors including: fare type; frequent flyer status; corporate booking; final destination; if you have international connections under same or separate booking (*outside of covid); other key urgent events (medical, funerals etc). Rebooked flight information was giving via the app, email or text per your booking contact details once more flights/seats were added.

- If you didn’t like the rebooked flight, you could change your flight via the self-service portals online or via the app, or you could cancel your booking for a refund depending on your fare type or a credit or claim via your travel insurance.

- Advised to look at your travel insurance to see if you were eligible for any supports.

C) Booked via a Virgin Australia Booking Portal, and you were not at your home port:

- Accommodation, transportation and food voucher: if your rebooked flight was on next day (only if accommodation was available, the hotel was booked via there booking partner and no options of hotel was offered, room type (twin or double etc) may be requested but not guaranteed). You would have been given a paper voucher with the information on it or an email/text with the details for the accommodation.

- You were rebooked on the next available flight depending on a variety of factors including: fare type; frequent flyer status; corporate booking; final destination; if you have international connections under same or separate booking (*outside of covid); other key urgent events (medical, funerals etc). Rebooked flight information was giving via the app, email or text per your booking contact details once more flights/seats were added.

- If you didn’t like the rebooked flight, you could change your flight via the self-service portals online or via the app, or you could cancel your booking for a refund depending on your fare type or a credit or claim via your travel insurance.

- Advised to look at your travel insurance to see if you were eligible for any supports.

It wasn’t just Virgin Australia and Rex that were affected by the outage of Sabre yesterday but also: Aeroflot; Alaska Airlines; Alitalia; American Airlines; Copa Airlines; Ethiopian; Etihad; JetBlue; Hawaiian Airlines; LATAM; Vietnam Airlines; West Jet and other airlines who use the Sabre booking system.

Sabre is blaming their cloud provider Dell/EMC for the outage.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

@planesa380

Thanks for the post

Glad to know there is still some courtesy and customer service at VA which is frankly not too different from what it was before.

The last time I was caught in one of those massive flight cancellations due to weather conditions, it was chalk and cheese how VA and JQ handled the difference, and I get to see that since the customer service booths the 2 airlines set up in the foyer is next to each other.

Many JQ pax found out the true value of low-fare service then; I don't even understand why they even bother to set up such a booth, since for most internet savvy JQ pax caught in transit, they probably get faster service going online and booking another flight for the next day than to expect the JQ reps to do their magic at little or no additional costs (and no AFAIK they don't transfer the value of the cancelled flight to cover the new replacement flights they organised for you - they were told that part of it will be refunded in 6 weeks from what I can tell from many upset JQ pax, within the hearing distance of the VA queue I was in, and no accomodation provided by JQ for transit pax)

It will be interesting to know if REx rise up to the occasion with their inter capital service (as I wrote before, the country shuttle generally gets flown as soon as they are able, but it generally meant the first flight out of country airport will be delayed due to fatigue rules but capital flights is another ballgame)


Last editedby XWu at May 22, 2021, 02:54 PM.
Last editedby XWu at May 23, 2021, 02:06 PM.

andyf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 07 Dec 2014

Total posts 53

My (Sunday) direct flight cancelled by Virgin. Rebooked for Monday morning (with stopover) automatically, got a text and email about 5 hours before the flight just saying my flight has changed, and that I could check in to the new flight.

Called VA Gold Line to see if there were any alternatives, essentially told it is what it is (no way Virgin can get me back home that day). No mention of accommodation, food etc (not my home airport).

I ended up booking a Qantas flight myself instead to get home same day (yay, full flex fare)... Looked like there were only a handful of seats left, and at check in the staff mentioned lots of Virgin passengers seem to be last minute bookings.

Big thumbs down for Virgin experience.

tommygun

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

Member since 16 Oct 2017

Total posts 182

How many times does it have to be said: the Federal government needs to fairly regulate rights, entitlements and procedures for all such cases, including time limits and monetary compensation. Then we'll all know what to expect and what should be happening.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

@andyf

I wonder if your flight on Sunday was part of a return flight itinerary or separate bookings from outbound flight (ie one return booking vs 2 separate booking) which may influence the way they handled your request or rebooked your flight.

I also wondered if you asked for accommodation/meal voucher? (I assumed you didnt as you were probably more interested in getting home on Sunday in any way you can)

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

Remarkably no reader have posted their experience with REx's approach to the IT outage last weekend; was there really no one reading this out there flying with REx's interstate routes last week?

andyf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 07 Dec 2014

Total posts 53

Originally Posted by XWu

@andyf

I wonder if your flight on Sunday was part of a return flight itinerary or separate bookings from outbound flight (ie one return booking vs 2 separate booking) which may influence the way they handled your request or rebooked your flight.

I also wondered if you asked for accommodation/meal voucher? (I assumed you didnt as you were probably more interested in getting home on Sunday in any way you can)

To answer these questions - the flight was the return leg of an itinerary (so one booking). As surmised, I didn't ask about accommodation because I fully intended to get home so I could get work on the Monday. I was just pointing out that neither the text or the email that informed me about the rescheduled flight proactively mentioned anything.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

@andyf

I thought so.

Thanks for the reply.

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