The following details the issue we've raised with SAA, the worst is that we havent received any kind of useful response from SAA. I dotn even mean a positive response, I do mean "any" kind of feedback on our issue other than that there's "no feedback" from whoever's looking at it, or supposed to be anyway.
My family recently flew SAA from Amsterdam to Port Elizabeth. I was travelling with 2 small children via Munich and my husband travelled via Frankfurt (the Munich flight was fully booked).
On 26 Dec 2010 my children and I flew flight SA 265 from Munich to Johannesburg. We arrived on time. We waited in the baggage pick up area for my husband to arrive on the Frankfurt flight SA261 which arrived 30 minutes late. By the time he came through customs, we were just getting our luggage. My children and I went up to domestic departures terminal to check in for SA flight 405 leaving at 10:15. We checked in and got our boarding passes for the 4 of us - myself, my children and my husband who was still coming up from baggage claim.
We checked in to SA flight 405 at 9:55 am and told the man issuing our boarding passes that we will wait for my husband before we board the flight. About 10 minutes later, we ran to security area, went through security and RAN to gate. When we got to our departure gate, the SAA attendants there said that the flight had left EARLY because all passengers had boarded. They had no record of the 4 of us on that flight and said we had not checked in at all. And they told us our luggage had never been on this flight, it was downstairs at left luggage.
I then, with my children go back to the check in desk and told the man who had issued the tickets to me that the gate attendants said I had not checked in. He said they were lying to me and that I should speak to his manager. At that point, I went down to retrieve our luggage and was told at the baggage claim that our luggage was on a different flight (SA 417) already as it had never been checked in to our original flight 405.
I go back upstairs and my husband buys new tickets for our J'burg - PE flight (SA 423) for a fee of R4, 500 for 3 tickets (attached file).
At no point when checking in for flight 405 did the SAA employee tell me that I did not have enough time to get through security and get to the gate before the flight closed. The flight attendants had no record of 4 passengers checked in on this flight and actually departed the gate EARLY. I ran up and down and back again with 2 small children in the airport on a wild goose chase trying to get to our flight, get our luggage, get the same employee who checked us in while getting a manage to hear our plight.
Once we spoke with the manager, she could only suggest that I write to customer care since we had already purchased the new tickets. At least she kindly upgraded our JHB-PE flight to business class as she could clearly see how frazzled and tired my entire family was after all this. The next flight was another 5 1/2 hour wait after our 12 hour journey to get to South Africa from Amsterdam.
I am seeking reimbursement for the extra tickets from JHB-PE that we had to purchase, R4500. As the flight was delayed from Frankfurt, there was no way our family would ever have made the 10:15 flight 405 after going through customs, waiting for our bags, going to domestic departures terminal, re-checking our bags, going through security again and reaching the departure gate - with 2 small children - in the 40 minutes we had.
Both my children are SAA frequent flyers (REMOVED for privacy ). In the past we have enjoyed flying on SAA but this trip was a disaster for me and my family. It was only the manager who was actually kind and helpful to us. Every other SAA employee we encountered was unhelpful, dismissive and the woman at the desk when we purchased the tickets was actually offensive and shouted at me in front of my children. It was highly unprofessional.