Virgin booking system takes off, flights delayed

VIRGIN Australia planes were delayed by up to 40 minutes on Monday on the first day of the airline's new booking and reservations system.

The airline's head of corporate affairs, Danielle Keighery, said on a network-wide basis the switch to Sabre's global distribution system had "gone reasonably well".

"Even this morning during peak hours the queues were not particularly long … when you consider this is the first time [the system has been operated] in a live environment," she said.

"While we have had some delays across the network, they have been minimal. We haven't had to cancel flights."

Some passengers had problems logging into Virgin's website on Monday morning but the problem was resolved.

So far, the biggest challenge has been a large increase in the number of passengers turning up at Virgin's counters at airports because they could not access the airline's website at the weekend to check in.

"Our focus is on the next two weeks and getting [the new system] into our operations so that we have stable on-time performance," Ms Keighery said.

The airline is still advising passengers to turn up for flights earlier than usual this week.

The airline amassed a small army of computer experts and support staff at the weekend.

Virgin has said the new system will allow it to better link its services to alliance partners such as Etihad and Singapore Airlines, as well as making its flights more visible to travel agents around the world.

Virgin will switch its flight code from DJ to VA.