Etihad Switching From Amadeus to Sabre – Be Ready For A Bumpy Ride

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Etihad sent out an email about the forthcoming switch from Amadeus reservation system to Sabre one that will take place on 23rd of this month. You can read Etihad’s statement about this change here.

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Switching a GDS (Global Reservation System) is a huge task. The airline is required to convert and move all the PNR and eticket information from the old system to the new one. During the “blackout” period, the Etihad personnel is likely required to do manual check in’s at the airport, if the passenger has not checked in beforehand.

These system changes rarely go smoothly. The websites are often flaky for a while. Sometimes it can take a lot of time and typing at the airport for the agent to find your ticket and to issue you a boarding pass.

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There is a long article on The National newspaper about this change and what benefits it is intended to bring both the airline and the passenger. It is definitely worth reading.

Conclusion

I truly hope that Etihad is properly managing this change that is really huge for an airline. There are quite a few airlines that have switched platforms in the past few years. Some has gone relatively smoothly i.e. LAN and some were small disasters i.e. Virgin America

Here’s the frequently asked questions by Etihad regarding this change:

1. Why is Etihad Airways upgrading its passenger services system on 23 February 2013?
After 12 months of evaluation, Etihad Airways has chosen to change its systems to support our next 10 years of growth. The new systems will allow us to continue to innovate and to further enhance our award-winning travel experience.

2. Which services will be impacted during the system upgrade?
Our reservations, ticketing and Etihad Guest membership services, online check-in and website will not be available on 23 February (UAE time is GMT +4 hours). These services will resume progressively from the evening of 23 February. Flights will operate as scheduled throughout this upgrade period. The system upgrade will in no way impact the safe running of our Etihad operation.

3. How will this upgrade affect guests?
As we are upgrading our systems, there will be a period of time where guests will not be able to access our sales, website and check–in systems.

During this time, guests will not be able to:
1. Make a booking or purchase a ticket.
2. Check-in online.
3. Change or cancel a booking.
4. Redeem Etihad Guest Miles.
5. Purchase an upgrade.
6. Select a seat or meal.

4. I am travelling between 22 February and 25 February 2013. Is there anything I need to do?
If you are travelling on 22 or 23 February 2013 please check-in online 24 hours before departure where possible and bring your printed boarding pass to the airport. Please also arrive at the airport four hours before your scheduled time of departure.

If you are unable to check-in online, please arrive four hours prior to your scheduled time of departure with a print-out of your confirmation email or travel itinerary .

If you are travelling on 24 February, you will not be able to check-in online. Please arrive at the airport four hours before your scheduled time of departure with a print-out of your confirmation email or travel itinerary.

For passengers travelling on 25 February, where possible, please check in online and print your boarding pass to bring to the airport. If unable to check-in online, please arrive four hours prior to departure with a copy of your confirmation email or travel itinerary.

5. What is Etihad Airways doing to minimise the impact on guests?
Our sales, reservations and check in system staff have received extensive training in the new system and are fully prepared for the upgrade. We will also have more staff at our Contact Centres to answer calls and at our airports to provide assistance.

6. What should I do if I urgently need to book and travel on 23 February?
For guests who require to book and travel on 23 February, there will be limited options available.

For urgent travel on 23 February, please call the relevant contact centre number or proceed to the Etihad Airways sales desk at your local airport. Click on this link to select your local Contact Centre.

Our Contact Centre in Abu Dhabi is available 24/7 and can be contacted on +971 2 599 0000.

7. Which transactions can I perform on Etihad Airways’ and Etihad Guest websites during the upgrade?
All online sales and check-in services will be unavailable on the website from the early hours of 23 February (UAE time is GMT +4 hours). Also, you will be unable to access your Etihad Guest Miles balance.

8. When will normal service resume?
Normal reservations, ticketing and Etihad Guest Miles redemption services will resume progressively from the evening of 23 February (UAE time is GMT +4 hours). You will be able to follow our status on Etihad.com and Etihad Guest websites, Facebook or Twitter.

9. Can I check-in online during the upgrade?
You will not be able to check in online during the upgrade on 23 February.

10. Until when can I book or change a booking?
If you need to change a booking for travel on 23 February, please contact our Contact Centre before the evening of 22 February (UAE time is GMT +4 hours). You will not be able to cancel or change any bookings on 23 February.

For non-urgent travel, we recommend that you contact our reservation offices, contact centres, or website, from 24 February. You may experience slightly longer than usual call handling times in the week commencing 24 February when we resume ticket sales activities. Please bear with us during this time.

11. How will this impact me if I am travelling from Abu Dhabi between 23 and 25 February on Air Berlin, Air Seychelles or Virgin Australia?
If you are travelling on Air Berlin, Air Seychelles or Virgin Australia from Abu Dhabi between 23 and 25 February, please arrive at the airport four hours prior to departure and bring a printed copy of your confirmation email or your travel itinerary to the airport.

12. What is Etihad Airways doing to ensure that my personal details/Etihad Guest Miles will be safe?
The safety and privacy of our guests’ information and particulars are of the utmost importance to us. All information will be migrated securely over to the new system.

13. Can I purchase an upgrade during the system change?
You will be unable to purchase an upgrade at the airport during the upgrade. If you think you will want an upgrade, please call the relevant the Contact Centre on or before 21 February.

Our Contact Centre in Abu Dhabi is available 24/7 and can be contacted on +971 2 599 0000.

14. What benefits can I enjoy after the system upgrade?
Examples of benefits include the ability to manage your travel on the go via a smartphone and receive real time information via your preferred medium, keeping you informed of any changes to your travel arrangements.

15. Who can I contact if I have any issues during this system cutover period?
For further assistance, you can call the relevant contact centre number or approach our airport staff for assistance.

Our Contact Centre in Abu Dhabi is available 24/7 and can be contacted on +971 2 599 0000.

16. How will my journey be affected if I have a connecting flight in Abu Dhabi?
Your connection in Abu Dhabi will not be affected. The system upgrade will not impact the safe running of our Etihad operations.

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