[KOS mentioned that computers are glitching all over – this is definitely a glitch. Tony]
Wed Dec 16 2009
By Matt Bachl, ninemsn
Virgin Blue says it has flown out thousands of people trapped at Melbourne Airport overnight after a damaged Telstra cable at Tullamarine crippled the budget airline’s automatic check-in process.
Airline spokesman Colin Lippiatt told ninemsn the exact cause of the glitch was not yet known and that Virgin Blue was still waiting on a crucial report from Telstra.
“Obviously we’re looking forward to getting [the report] so we can ensure this type of situation doesn’t happen again,” Mr Lippiatt said.
Mr Lippiatt said around 4800 people were put on alternative flights by lunchtime today and “everything should be back to normal” by tonight.
Some 1200 people are yet to reach their destination, he told ninemsn at 2pm today.
Meanwhile, fed-up passengers have used Twitter to voice their frustration, including one woman who said the glitch would delay her by almost two days.
“After yesterday’s meltdown at Melbourne Airport Virgin Blue has me on 10 am flight 2morrow. Only a 40 hour delay … sigh,” said Yvonne Thompson.
Ms Thompson said she spoke to a Virgin Blue official on the telephone who told her: “I’ve got 5000 passengers waiting and no flights — everything screwed at the moment.”
Rebecca Habel from Brisbane said: “VIRGIN BLUE SUX. They cancelled my elderly/disabled parents’ flight after 2hr delay. They r 2 hrs from home, no car & no idea what 2 do.”
Others did not bother waiting for alternative flights and instead snapped up Qantas seats.
“2nd time in a row, virgin blue can’t sort their s*** out and get flights happen,” Aaron Michie from Sydney wrote.
“Thanks Qantas for saving the day!”
Virgin Blue sweetened the debacle for some by giving them free upgrades.
“Flight cancelled, now going via Brisbane. I’d complain, but they put me in a Premium Economy window seat. [I love you], Virgin Blue,” Hanna Burrows from Cairns said.
Passengers not wanting to wait any longer can still book flights with other airlines, such as Qantas, although many budget seats on afternoon flights have already been snapped up.
Tiger Airways has no available seats from Melbourne to Sydney for the rest of the day.
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