Outage ... the message on Virgin Australia's website.
Virgin Australia has warned passengers to expect some delays and cancellations to flights on Tuesday night after the booking system used by the airline crashed worldwide.
Thousands of frustrated passengers are banked up in queues at Sydney airport with Virgin, one of the several airlines affected by problems with the Sabre booking and check-in system.
A Virgin spokeswoman said the airline had cancelled 35 flights on its domestic and international network and there were currently delays of up to an hour at airports.
Flight status for Virgin Australia at Melbourne Airport as at 4pm on Tuesday.
Despite the temporary outage, Virgin advised passengers travelling on Tuesday night to be prepared for delays and to reconsider the need for travel.
It said passengers who did not turn up for flights on Tuesday would not be penalised and would receive full credit for the cost of their flight.
Customers will also be able to change their flight to the same destination to another service until August 13 for free.
Delayed Virgin Australia passengers at Melbourne Airport. Photo: Hayden Nelson/Ten News
Customers stranded overseas may be eligible for hotel accommodation.
The airline also urged travellers to check the status of flights on its website for updates of departure times.
The outage of the Sabre system has affected airlines worldwide, believed to include Etihad, American Airlines, Alaskan Airlines and JetBlue.
The technical glitch has forced airlines including Virgin to check in passengers manually, causing delays at airport counters. Virgin was also unable to take bookings via its website.
The airline said it was working with Sabre to get flight back on track. "We’re working to get it back to normal as soon as possible", said the spokeswoman
The airline said it was working to reduce disruption to customers, and apologised for any inconvenience caused by the outage. It was also busily arranging accommodation and new travel plans for stranded passengers.
Stranded passenger were given an $8 meal voucher and staff have been handing out water bottles.
Etihad also said it was operating a manual check in for all flights on its network, which could cause some delays.
But a spokesman for Etihad’s Australian business said it was not expecting the outage to have a major impact on its operations.
The airline advised passengers to arrive at airports earlier than usual.
Sabre’s website says its technology connects 350,000 travel agents to more than 400 airlines, 100,000 hotels, 25 car rental brands, 50 rail providers, 13 cruise lines and other global travel suppliers.
Virgin moved to the Sabre booking system in January this year.
The switch came after an embarrassing meltdown in 2010 that saw the Navitaire booking system offline for 11 days. The outage cost the airline an estimated $15-$20 million in lost earnings.
The latest glitch comes just a day after Virgin warned it will record a loss of up to $110 million this year, which it blamed partly on the switch to the new booking system.
The airline conceded on Monday that the transfer to the new system meant it had handed as much as $50 million in revenue to rivals such as Qantas and Jetstar.
Qantas and its budget offshoot, Jetstar, do not use Sabre.
- with AAP