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Etihad Airways Prepares for Big Switch; Warns Customers

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Etihad Airways will make its ‘Big Switch’ to new, state-of-the-art, passenger sales, website, and check-in systems next week, the most significant milestone in its US$ 1 billion, ten-year, deal with Sabre Airline Solutions.

The Passenger Service System (PSS) transformation project is the most challenging IT and business-critical initiative that the Abu Dhabi-based airline has implemented in its history. It has involved intensive training for 6,700 Etihad Airways and third party staff.

The Big Switch will integrate Etihad Airways’ current PSS into one platform that will utilise cutting-edge software across its reservations, inventory, e-commerce, distribution and departure control activities.

The new Sabre Airline Solutions PSS will offer significant enhancements to the customer experience especially in areas such as mobile and guest communications.

The Big Switch will start on 23 February, and is due for completion on 24 February. Therefore during 22 and 25 February Etihad Airways is asking its passengers to follow key guidelines to help ensure any disruption to their travel experience is kept to a minimum. The key messages for customers travelling during that period are:

• Arrive at the airport four hours before the flight is due to depart

• Where possible check-in online from 24 hours before departure and print boarding pass beforehand and bring to the airport

• If unable to check-in online bring a copy of email confirmation and/or travel itinerary

In addition to these guidelines, anyone wishing to purchase an upgrade must do so on or before 21 February and any changes to travel arrangements must be made before 22 February.

During the Big Switch weekend customers can still call the Etihad Airways contact centres on +971 2 599 0000 but contact centre agents will be unable to take commercial or redemption bookings, make changes or cancellations or process upgrades.

All booking channels will be down from 11pm on Friday, 22 February and are expected to resume during the day on Sunday, 24 February.

Etihad Airways has begun contacting customers and this will continue as the Big Switch draws closer. The airline’s website will also continue to feature key information as well as Etihad Airways’ Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts.

 “The new Sabre passenger services system will offer a wealth of new benefits to Etihad Airways and its customers and we are looking forward to its impact across the business and in particular to customer experience,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer. “The Big Switch to the new passenger services system however is a significant operation, involving thousands of members of Etihad Airways staff around the world, and therefore we strongly advise our customers to follow the guidelines which will help reduce any potential disruption to their travel plans.”

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