South African Airways reservations are impossible to deal with – a cry for help!
Does anyone have a similar miserable experience with the reservations department and customer service departments of South African Airways – and were you able to solve your problem?
Anyone have any suggestion how to persuade these people that the customer is not the enemy?
I am desperate for help – really!
Here is the short version: A good customer of our travel agency booked and ticketed through us Abidjan –St. Louis roundtrip, via Dakar and JFK
. Yes – I am a travel agent of 25 years, have seen a lot, but am running against a wall here. She is a nurse in Africa, and came home to visit her mother who is ill. She called me to postpone her return travel date due to the illness of here mother. So far – no problem – I quoted her the change fee, and was ready to re-issue the ticket, as soon as she would know her new return travel date.
Then South African Airways had a schedule change (they canceled their Dakar-Abidjan flight), so they re-booked the customer on a Kenya Air flight and they re-issued the ticket.
Here is the problem: Since the airline re-issued the ticket, our agency has no longer control of the ticket, and they, South African Airways, need to now do any and all future re-issues of this ticket, according to their own rules.
Unfortunately – for 2 weeks now – they refuse, or are too incompetent, to calculate the change penalty, so they will not re-issue the ticket. Their reservations department in the US hangs up on us, when they realize that this is not a simple transaction. This has happened about 5 times, no matter who calls them.
They also say that only their rate department can handle this, but refuse to connect us to them.
We called reservations in South Africa, to have THEIR rate department in their home country look at the fare and penalty, but they have not done anything, after one week, despite a promise every day that they will have the answer the next day.
I E-mailed their customer service department with a plea for help, a week ago: NO answer. Nothing. Nada.
All the customer wants, is to know what the change penalty is, pay it, and take the return trip to Abidjan. Our agency cannot tell the airline what the change penalty is. Our agency cannot reissue the ticket, and even take responsibility for the change penalty, since we have no control of the ticket. The ticket coupons show “exchanged” The airline has control over the ticket.
Oh - by the way- we have here a situation where we have a Star Alliance ticket, South African and United airlines ( “seamless service” - LOL).
This airline has the customer’s money, they have been paid for the return portion of this trip half a year ago – but the customer cannot, at this time, take the return trip, because the airline refuses to re-issue the ticket.
And the reason why they refuse to re-issue the ticket: They, themselves, refuse to make the effort to come up with the amount of their own change penalty.
Talk about a catch-22 situation.
Any thoughts, any help would be welcome. I have seen a lot of obnoxiousness when it comes to airline behavior, but this is one of the worst.
I am sorry if you think this is a rant, but I am actually seriously looking for a solution.
This traveler has at this time the return portion of her ticket confiscated by an airline, which is 100% non responsive. This traveler is ready to pay and travel. It is South African’s OWN schedule change (=cancellation of flight) which puts the customer in limbo, and this airline simply will not take responsibility, nor show the slightest attempt of customer service ( see non-responsive customer service department).