SAA Expressly Frustrating
It is not often you hear consumers giving praise when it comes to an airline and SAA is no exception. As a South African government run and funded airline the only means of accurately describing SAA is the home affairs of the sky. As a reasonable person I find it perfectly acceptable that airlines cannot always control whether they run according to schedule or not. My major issue is that at the end of the day one’s opinion of an airline is based on the level of service and the quality of assistance one receives when dealing with the service centre for an airline. The responsibility of course falls to the staff and the policies in place.
I find it unfair that airlines will chop and change their flight schedules, no matter what the reason for it is, and expect a simple ‘we apologise for any inconvenience’ to suffice when as a consumer if you wish to change your flight plans you have to pay an additional fee. I understand that there are seats that need to be filled, but surely if you purchase your ticket at full price airlines could allow you one change at no additional cost? Also, being in the service industry one would assume that SAA would take the time to hire staff members who have the patience and manners to deal with consumers on a daily basis.
It should not be the duty of your consumers to lecture your staff on common decency. When a PAYING customer calls in to ask a question surely you expect your staff to be helpful and friendly? If that is not the case then I commend SAA on hiring the rudest, most disinterested, ill-mannered, unhelpful staff members they could find. I am sure there are one or two staff members who are a cut above the rest, but unfortunately all their hard work will be stunted owing to obvious reasons.
After extending my ticket for a week for an additional fee I then received three e-mails during that week telling me that the flight time had changed and it was 45 minutes later. I called SAA to double check and it was confirmed. When I arrived at the airport on time for the 45 minute delay I was told by the SAA representative at the check-in counter that there was in fact no delay and the flight would leave as scheduled. When she looked at my ticket she told me that was the incorrect time, yet the time being displayed on the board was the same as on my ticket.
As I was only boarding at 18:15 and it was 17:45 I decided to have a beverage before I went through security. At 17:55 they announced that it was the first boarding call for my flight. I ran through passport control and security but there was no gate on my ticket. At 18:10 they announced it was the final boarding call for my flight and when I heard the gate number I ran. Then I had to walk 2km’s to the aircraft. I was apparently the last passenger to board the flight much to the disgust of the airhostess. SAA have managed to prove on more than one occasion that they either have no clue what they are doing or that they pride themselves on being an incompetent airline.
Bronwyn May (@bronnmay)