Etihad warns of disruption during system upgrade this weekend

By John Walton, February 21 2013

Etihad is updating its reservations and flight management systems this weekend, joining partner Virgin Australia and numerous other airlines in using the Sabre platform.

While passengers can eventually look forward to a more modern system that interfaces better with partner airlines like Virgin, Etihad is warning of disruptions starting 6am Sydney time on Saturday 23 February during the switchover.

Virgin Australia frequent flyers have endured numerous system glitches since the airline's system migrated to Sabre in January. A major change at the airline's primary partner for European and African flights means another reason to watch out if you're travelling westwards on Virgin or Etihad in the next few weeks.

The airline is recommending that passengers book, upgrade and change flights well before the switchover begins. Upgrades must be organised at least a full day in advance of that, and changes must be made before Saturday morning.

"We strongly advise our customers to follow the guidelines, which will help reduce any potential disruption to their travel plans," says Peter Baumgartner, Etihad's Chief Commercial Officer.

According to the airline, you should arrive a full four hours early for your flight, try to check in online and print your boarding pass — and if you can't, make sure you have a printed copy of your reservation.

A statement from the airline notes that "during the 'Big Switch' weekend customers can still call the Etihad Airways contact centres but contact centre agents will be unable to take commercial or redemption bookings, make changes or cancellations, or process upgrades."

Once you've flown, make sure that you keep your reservation and boarding pass in case your frequent flyer miles don't appear as normal in your account. You'll need that if you have to log a claim later.

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John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

I just hope their fares dont jump up like Virgin Australia after the upgrade.

I don't know much about Sabre, but i did notice that VA fares were alot cheaper in the old days. Although they used to count status as a journey, not per sector like now.

so i guess you win some you lose some.


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