This upcoming weekend will be a really big one for JetBlue because it expects a degree of disruption and delays as it transitions its internal reservations systems from Navitaire to SabreSonic Customer Sales & Service.
In the short term, JetBlue.com will be down for a time over the weekend as JetBlue migrates customer records from Navitaire to Sabre. The airline also has reduced its schedules and load factors over the weekend, and has available an extra Verizon call center to handle customer calls if the disruption is significant.
During the airline's earnings call for the fourth quarter, in which JetBlue posted an $11 million profit, officials said the installation of SabreSonic does not mean the airline will speedily implement a first-checked-bag fee, although it's an option, but noted that it is indeed working on establishing onboard food sales, and sees selling vacation packages as a possibility.
The switch to Sabre will help JetBlue meet key objectives, officials said, namely pricing flexibility, bolstering ancillary revenue and establishing new partnerships, including codeshare and interline agreements.
Pointing to disruptions when WestJet transitioned to SabreSonic, JetBlue officials said any host-system conversion is challenging and that WestJet communicated with JetBlue about lessons learned. JetBlue employees have been training for the switchover for months.
JetBlue officials said the impact of the cutover to Sabre will be so far-reaching that it will affect revenue management, accounting and financial reporting.
The airline said it expects to incur $10 million in operating expenses related to the Sabre transition in the first quarter, and that new revenue opportunities will be back-end loaded and take a period of time to materialize.
In other news, JetBlue said it is considering moving its headquarters from New York to Orlando and will decide within 60 days.