Virgin Blue's Brand New Airline Reservation & Ticketing System Crashes

System Now Restored But Glitch a Bit of an Embarrassment

1 min read
Virgin Blue's Brand New Airline Reservation & Ticketing System Crashes

Australian airline Virgin Blue's  A$10 million New Skies reservation and ticketing system that just went live last weekend crashed today, causing flight delays across the country as the airline's agents had to check-in passengers manually. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the reservation system went down about 1525 and came back up about 1700, ABC News subsequently reported.

In an article earlier this week in The Australian, Virgin Blue said the cutover to its new system (after two years of development effort) went smoothly.

The airline also said that during the 28 hour cutover period, its agents had to process passenger check-ins manually, so at least Virgin Blue's agents were well practiced for today's outage.

In a Virgin Blue press release on Wednesday discussing the cutover, Chief Financial Officer Keith Neate was quoted as saying,

"The cutover to New Skies proceeded according to plan. We had a contingent of customer service agents in place at all major Australian-domestic airports and I'm really proud to say the cutover was very successful with minimal or no delays to our network or guests."

I suspect there are a few red faces at Virgin Blue's executive offices, but probably not nearly as many as when the new reservation and ticketing system at US Airways went into major meltdown mode in March 2007.

There was no reason given for why the New Skies system crashed.

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Top Tech 2022: A Special Report

Preview two dozen exciting technical developments that are in the pipeline for the coming year

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Photo of the lower part of a rocket in an engineering bay.

NASA’s Space Launch System will carry Orion to the moon.

Frank Michaux/NASA

At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report

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