Etihad Airways says it will be forced to entirely suspend online check-in for nine days from March 4 to March 12, with the exception of passengers starting their journey from its Abu Dhabi hub, due to a major IT systems update as it moves to a new software provider.
In a statement, the airline said it was preparing for the global rollout of a brand-new backend IT system, with the changeover date currently slated to take place between March 8 and March 9. In preparation for the changeover, however, Etihad will disable certain features, including online check-in.
A spokesperson for Etihad has admitted that the systems upgrade “may result in a travel experience that’s not as smooth as you usually enjoy with us.”
“Please bear with us during this time,” a statement from the airline continued.
Although passengers will likely be inconvenienced in early March, Etihad says the IT changes will future-proof the airline’s systems for the next decade and beyond.
Passengers starting their journey in Muscat, New Delhi, Singapore or Zurich won’t be able to access online check-in from February 27, and the system won’t be available globally, with the exception of Abu Dhabi from March 4. From March 6, even passengers in Abu Dhabi won’t be able to access online check-in.
Airlines have faced scrutiny for relying on decades-old IT systems, which can be prone to frequent breakdowns. These kinds of issues commonly affect so-called ‘legacy’ carriers that first adopted sophisticated booking systems but have failed to make the necessary investments to update their backend system with the latest technology.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.