Thousands of Virgin Blue customers have been left stranded for up to two nights in one of the airline’s biggest IT disasters since launching in Australia.
Customers first experienced technical faults at 8AM yesterday morning when the Navitaire supplied system failed during peak hour. The failure saw Virgin Blue’s national check-in system fail across Australia, leaving passenger chaos.
Up to 100 flights were cancelled yesterday, leaving around 100,000 people stranded at the airport with nowhere to go. Virgin Blue offered passengers who couldn’t make it home complimentary hotel accommodation to compensate for lost time.
It was little respite though, with 13 flights cancelled today, in addition to yesterday’s 100 flights.Virgin Blue also refused to pay for passenger’s flights on opposition airlines such as JetStar and QANTAS, leaving passengers with no option but to wait for a revised Virgin Blue flight schedule.
Virgin Blue made an official statement today in a bid to inform passengers of the reason for delays, in addition to offering an apology for any inconvenience:
“The Virgin Blue Group of Airlines is pleased to advise that our airport check-in and boarding systems are back online and will be operating as normal from the first flights of the day today.
“While all check-in processes are back to normal, the airline requests the ongoing patience of guests this morning as we work through flow on effects of yesterday’s network-wide disruption.
“While we hope for minimal delays today, we do ask all guests prior to going to the airport to check our website which will be updated with information on any cancellations or changes to scheduled operations.
“We again apologise to all guests who had their travel plans disrupted during the past 24 hours.”
Virgin Blue Group executive, Andrew David, told the Herald Sun today that Virgin Blue was considering legal action against IT supplier Navitaire, who implemented the system and is responsible for rapid response to technical issues.
Suffice to say, the debacle has left many passengers with a sour taste in their mouth. Virgin Blue will need to work overtime on rebuilding consumer confidence in the airline’s reputation.