TonyBurr
Topic Author
Posts: 1059
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:26 am

I have been booking flights for over 20 years. I have NEVER had as bad an experience as I have had with SAA. I am trying to book a roundtrip for a friend from Durban to New York. You cannot book online unless you have a South African credit card and address. I made the reservation and want to pay with my credit card. They said no problem, it would be a pre paid (with an additonal $75.00 charge. Yes, they can do electronic, but not if you live in the US). I faxed my credit card information, not once but FOUR times within five days. I have received a phone call each day for FIVE days asking if I still wanted the ticket. Each day when I have called back I have waited 20 - 40 minutes on hold.

They admit they have TWO copies of my credit card information. But that means there are also TWO copies of my credit card, front and back, floating around their office in Florida somewhere. What kind of security/confidentiality is this?

I called SA)">UA to see if I could book it as a code share. I could. The price through SA)">UA was $5,000.00. The price with SA was $1,800.00 (the price on the website if I could buy it in South Africa was $1,300.00).

They told me I cannot have any kind of reciept/paperwork on the ticket. I will just have to "trust" that everything is in order. No way do I trust them.

They are not ready to be part of Star Alliance. Do not, do not, attempt to book with them outside of South Africa. In 20 years, this was my biggest travel mistake.
 
JoKeR
Posts: 1758
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:34 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:38 am

Quoting TonyBurr (Thread starter):
They are not ready to be part of Star Alliance. Do not, do not, attempt to book with them outside of South Africa. In 20 years, this was my biggest travel mistake.

I would contact their customer service department in JNB and detail the whole incident; they are quite good and you are likely to receive a fair explanation.

Pity about your experience, they are very good onboard but obviously need some "tweaking" in the customer services arena...
Kafa, čaj, šraf?
 
AirScoot
Posts: 667
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 6:44 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:38 am

Looks like the flights JFK-JNB are your problem in that they're no eticketable as far as I can see. Have you considered going through a travel agent, getting the ticket, then sending it down there? Should still be cheaper than handling this through UA dealing with their people in Lauderdale.
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:55 am

Purchasing tickets for origin outside of the country your credit card can be problematic.

I've personally had problems in purchasing tickets online for travel within Europe for both BA and LH on their respective web sites as my credit cards obviously shows my US address.

Besides trying to limit CC fraud, I have been told point of sale restrictions exist on certain fares that are marketed and can be sold in only certain countries and the airlines must somehow control internet sales to be in compliance with such restrictions. One easy way of doing this as the internet does not allow easy tracking of where you might physically be located is to restrict sales based on credit card addresses.
It does indeed become frustrating in not being able to purchase cheaper fares one sees online as with your case, however may fares have such point of purchase restrictions.

As far as your copies of CC floating around the SAA office, I would not worry too much about it. From experience I have had to fax mine and other corporate CC over to various companies including hotels, airlines and such hundreds of times over the years. If some one wanted to commit fraud with your CC numbers they would not even need to faxes.
At the end of the day, you as a consumer are protected from being responsible for any unauthorized charges as long as they are reported immediately.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
Posts: 1059
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:12 pm

I finally got someone who knew what they were doing and stayed on the phone until the ticket was actaully issued. By this time I had spoken to at least 7 people over five days. I should have gone to a travel agent. I will NEVER book SAA again. They might be good on on-board service, but their reservation department needs tons of work. Poor Star Alliance dealing with them!
 
User avatar
TK787
Posts: 3069
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:43 am

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:01 pm

Quoting TonyBurr (Reply 4):
I will NEVER book SAA again.

That is hard to believe. Last month I bought two RT JNB-CPT tix online from SAA using my US credit card in minutes. I was also pleased the seafood selection I requested was served earlier than everyone else, and the mileage went to my DL skymiles without showing any mileage cards at checkin.
 
GuyBetsy1
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2001 4:00 am

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:33 pm

Not to be blunt.. but since you are in the US... have you considered booking through a TA in the US? They can contact SAA for you... or even price and issue the ticket for you! That's what they are supposed to do.

Otherwise, my suggestion is that if you have an american express card, to contact an AMEX office in either JNB or CPT and do your booking through there.

Alternatively, you may contact one of the many reputable travel agencies in South Africa for assistance.

Like www.travel.co.za

They're great to deal with.
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4049
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:16 am

Quoting TonyBurr (Thread starter):
You cannot book online unless you have a South African credit card and address.

= Now you understand the frustrations many have with many US airlines when credit card is not issued in the U.S. As someone mentioned, this is a systematic problem with many airlines across the globe which restricts CC for security reasons. You can well understand how someone in the U.S. might go on a tirade having given their CC info to a "3 rd world airline" and just happening to be a victim of CC fraud.

Quoting TonyBurr (Thread starter):
They admit they have TWO copies of my credit card information. But that means there are also TWO copies of my credit card, front and back, floating around their office in Florida somewhere. What kind of security/confidentiality is this?

= Oh wait, you already are complaining about this ... how is it different from having given your CC over the web? In the end, the info is printed and floats around ...

-A.

PS: Apologies for being blunt. SAA is a fantastic airline.
Live, and let live.
 
Olympus69
Posts: 1571
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2002 11:21 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:32 am

Why don't your transfer the money to your friend in Durban and let him/her book the ticket?
 
andz
Posts: 7624
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:49 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:01 am

This is the second thread I have seen where you complain about booking with SAA online. Use a travel agent or complain to SAA directly, whining in here won't help. Try buying online at any one of a score of sites with a card issued outside the US or UK, you are in no way in a unique situation.
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
User avatar
TK787
Posts: 3069
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:43 am

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:38 am

Quoting Andz (Reply 9):
This is the second thread I have seen where you complain about booking with SAA online. Use a travel agent or complain to SAA directly, whining in here won't help. Try buying online at any one of a score of sites with a card issued outside the US or UK, you are in no way in a unique situation.



Quoting Olympus69 (Reply 8):
Why don't your transfer the money to your friend in Durban and let him/her book the ticket?

Guys, did anyone read my post? I bought two plane tickets sitting in nyc, with a US credit card ordering special meals, putting in my mileage number. All this is done online no TA's or friends involved. Never been to SA before this.
I don't understand the problem. I traveled to JNB on KL and then just showed up at the SAA counter with my passport, and that's it.
 
SA7700
Posts: 2940
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:58 am

Quoting TK787 (Reply 10):
Guys, did anyone read my post? I bought two plane tickets sitting in nyc, with a US credit card ordering special meals, putting in my mileage number. All this is done online no TA's or friends involved. Never been to SA before this.
I don't understand the problem. I traveled to JNB on KL and then just showed up at the SAA counter with my passport, and that's it.

Yes, but you used the USA/Canada version of the flysaa website. The thread starter, TonyBurr, had to deal directly with SAA or a travel agent, due to the fact the flight is originating in South Africa. You can't book a ticket on the South African version of the website, using a USA credit card. The USA/Canada version of the SAA website does not allow such bookings.

Therefore he had to deal with SAA directly. However, I would suggest a reputable travel agent who can book a PTA ticket in no time.  Wink


Rgds

SA7700
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
ETStar
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: SAA Impossible To Book From The US

Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:36 am

Quoting TonyBurr (Thread starter):

I have been booking flights for over 20 years. I have NEVER had as bad an experience as I have had with SAA. I am trying to book a roundtrip for a friend from Durban to New York. You cannot book online unless you have a South African credit card and address. I made the reservation and want to pay with my credit card. They said no problem, it would be a pre paid (with an additonal $75.00 charge. Yes, they can do electronic, but not if you live in the US). I faxed my credit card information, not once but FOUR times within five days. I have received a phone call each day for FIVE days asking if I still wanted the ticket. Each day when I have called back I have waited 20 - 40 minutes on hold.

Welcome to the world of Canadians who cannot use their Canada-issued credit cards on many US-based websites. If you buy a ticket for someone on UA, you have to be at the airport when they checkin or go visit a UA checkin counter before their trip. Else, they will be denied carriage. We still cannot use our cards or Orbitz, Priceline, Southwest requires faxes, same with Cheaptickets and Lowestfare.