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Virgin hoping for smooth system change


If all goes to plan, passengers travelling on Virgin Australia flights this weekend will hardly notice anything out of the ordinary.

Virgin Australia is making the switch to a new check-in and reservations system this weekend and while flights are operating as normal, the airline has asked passengers to arrive at the airport extra early.

Domestic travellers were advised to arrive 60 minutes before their scheduled departure time, while those jetting off on Virgin's international flights should be at the airport three hours before departure.

The advice will be especially important for those flying on Sunday as internet, mobile and kiosk check-in will be unavailable and passengers will have no option but to head to an airport counter to pick up their boarding pass.

And to be on the extra safe side, passengers should bring a copy of their e-ticket or itinerary.

The switchover has been a year in the planning and some 4,000 staff have been trained on the new system.

Virgin said this week extra staff will be at airports and in the call centre to help customers and ensure there is minimal disruption to flights.

In November 2011, Virgin said it would move its entire reservations system to the Sabre global distribution system, replacing the Navitaire and Amadeus booking systems used currently.

The airline hoped moving to Sabre will boost sales through travel agencies and travel management companies, allow greater recognition and more benefits for frequent flyers and offer better integration with Virgin's airline partners.

Also, the cutover to Sabre will mean all of Virgin's flight numbers will begin with the two letter code "VA".

Currently, Virgin's domestic flights have the two letter code "DJ" and its international flights "VA".

Staff from Sabre will also be in Australia to assist.

At 1421 AEDT, Virgin was down one cent at 42 cents.