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-   -   Point of Contact - Change of Flight due to SAA Cancellation (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/south-african-airways-voyager/1884620-point-contact-change-flight-due-saa-cancellation.html)

joe.cheung.ny Dec 26, 17 9:21 am

Point of Contact - Change of Flight due to SAA Cancellation
 
Hi All,

Does any one know a contact email or phone number that I can use to get a flight change? I called the US based SAA customer line and frankly, it was useless. The representatives offered no help and couldn't care less. I'm flying back from Durban to New York at the end of March 2018 in business class and the connecting flight from Durban to Johannesburg was cancelled by SAA. They rebooked me on a 7:00AM flight to JNB but my JNB to JFK flight is not until 9:00PM. I'm travelling with my wife and 7 years old child all under business class. There are alternative Mango flights that day that flies out of Durban in the afternoon but the agent claims that due to us being in business class, she couldn't book us on it. I then insisted that we be on the Mango flight due to SAA cancellation of my original connecting flight but then was told the whole trip needs to be rebooked at a significant higher costs. The most frustrating thing is that the representative lack of human feelings whatsoever. We've been flying SAA for more than 10 years, mostly in business class, and I cannot believe how horrible they have gotten. I'll be sure to stay away from nationally run airlines going forward.

If anyone has any recommendation in how to contact SAA that is actually in a meaningful way, be advise.

Thanks,

Joe

thijsseh Dec 26, 17 2:06 pm

From a (very quick) look at Expert Flyer it would appear that on every day of the week at the end of March there is an SA fight around 5pm which would connect with your JFK flight. Which day are you looking for?
I donít think youíll get any better result than with the US call centre which by all accounts is quite good (I hive no personal experience with them).
Is this a paid ticket or an award. If the latter it would complicate things (I have a similar problem with a CPT - JNB flight, but fortunately without a connection)

joe.cheung.ny Dec 26, 17 2:18 pm

Hey thijsseh. It's paid, the flights in the afternoon are operated by Mango though they do show up on SAA as operated by them. Part of the issue is that as they are business, Mango doesn't have business class so they claimed that they can only book me on the SAA operated flights which was either 7:00AM or after 7:00PM. The two flights in the afternoon are operated by Mango. This is a classic case of the representative trying to do the bare minimum with no regards to customer service. Plus the fact that on the second call I placed, I was told that rebooking was require, like really, they can't just switch me to an afternoon Mango flight. Anyways, I emailed customer service and got an automated reply that they would get back within 10 business days. At this point, my backup plan would just to purchase the Mango flight on one tickets and just skip the early morning flight. I'm not holding my breath for SAA to contact me back. Congrats SAA, you just lost another customer. Tax payers can only support you for so long so Happy New Year!

evanb Dec 26, 17 3:26 pm

What date is this flight?

thijsseh Dec 27, 17 8:35 am


Originally Posted by joe.cheung.ny (Post 29216769)
Hey thijsseh. It's paid, the flights in the afternoon are operated by Mango though they do show up on SAA as operated by them. Part of the issue is that as they are business, Mango doesn't have business class so they claimed that they can only book me on the SAA operated flights which was either 7:00AM or after 7:00PM. The two flights in the afternoon are operated by Mango. This is a classic case of the representative trying to do the bare minimum with no regards to customer service. Plus the fact that on the second call I placed, I was told that rebooking was require, like really, they can't just switch me to an afternoon Mango flight. Anyways, I emailed customer service and got an automated reply that they would get back within 10 business days. At this point, my backup plan would just to purchase the Mango flight on one tickets and just skip the early morning flight. I'm not holding my breath for SAA to contact me back. Congrats SAA, you just lost another customer. Tax payers can only support you for so long so Happy New Year!

If you 'skip' the early morning flight (i.e. you are a 'no show'), they will cancel any subsequent flights so that does not appear a clever thing to do!

I would not hold my breath expecting SAA to get back to you within 10 business days (or ever). I unfortunately don't have good experiences on that front. :eek:

If you give us the date of the flight (as also per evanb's suggestion), we can try to help you with a strategy to solve your problem. No guarantees given, but with the help of expert flyer we can see what is available. Most days (but apparently not on a Tuesday), there is an SAA flight with Business Class around 5pm.

FlySAAUSA Dec 27, 17 10:03 am

Hello joe.cheung.ny,

Thank you for choosing South African Airways.

We apologize for the inconvenience you've experienced due to this recent change in schedule. We have located your reservation, and have requested that our reservations team reviews the options to see if we're able to offer better accommodation. We will contact you (via the email address in your reservation) as soon as we have a response from our reservations department.

Once again, thank you for choosing South African Airways.

South African Airways - North America

jsnydcsa Dec 27, 17 1:13 pm


Originally Posted by FlySAAUSA (Post 29219175)
Hello joe.cheung.ny,

Thank you for choosing South African Airways.

We apologize for the inconvenience you've experienced due to this recent change in schedule. We have located your reservation, and have requested that our reservations team reviews the options to see if we're able to offer better accommodation. We will contact you (via the email address in your reservation) as soon as we have a response from our reservations department.

Once again, thank you for choosing South African Airways.

South African Airways - North America

This is more representative of the usual response I get from SAA's US call centre (when I contact them by phone). On more than one occasion, they have had to get in contact with reservations back home to assist me with one problem or another. The US folks don't get "instant" results back from JNB, but it usually happens pretty quickly (the "festive season" down there is pretty hectic though). You can (and should) follow up with the US folks via phone.

Definitely DO NOT just no-show for the that morning DUR-JNB flight. Then you'll be really jammed. And no amount of US call centre mojo/magic will be able to assist.

joe.cheung.ny Dec 27, 17 4:45 pm

March 31, 2018. Thanks. Seems I'm in a bind no matter what. Can't no show for the morning flight because SAA cancelled my original flight. Now facing a 13 hour layover in JNB then a 14 hour flight to JFK with a 7 years old. And to think I book SAA to support the national airline, they sure are not supporting me.

thijsseh Dec 28, 17 2:50 am


Originally Posted by joe.cheung.ny (Post 29220591)
March 31, 2018. Thanks. Seems I'm in a bind no matter what. Can't no show for the morning flight because SAA cancelled my original flight. Now facing a 13 hour layover in JNB then a 14 hour flight to JFK with a 7 years old. And to think I book SAA to support the national airline, they sure are not supporting me.

Would you be able / willing to leave a day earlier or later?
On 30 March or 1 April there is SA 572 leaving DUR at 17:40, arriving JNB at 18:45 which would connect to SA 203.
Assuming this is OK with you, you could suggest SAA to change this for you. There is plenty availability in Business on both days on both the internal and the international flight (they are even selling D fare buckets).

joe.cheung.ny Dec 28, 17 6:19 am

The thing is, I booked the flights back in May 2017. I then booked other accommodations based on the flight details i.e. hotel, safari, beach rental. SAA did not notify of cancelled flight until Dec 14, 2017. As stated, SAA cancelled my connecting original flight, so I would think from a service industry stand point, the onus would be on them to rectify. And further to the point of being illogical, at first they automatically rebooked me from DUR to JNB that arrives at JNB after 19:45 with the connecting from JNB to JFK that departs at 21:00. When I called, the rep said, "oh, we would have never honored that anyways". Really? So, I was literally forced to rebook on the 7:00AM flight that arrives in JNB at 8:05AM.

I actually spoke with a representative from the US office yesterday (after a wait time of 30+ minutes, and was told that they are actually looking into the issue and my reservation has a flag/alert on it. As I called and emailed numerous times without luck, I am attributing attention to my issue based on the responses that I got here on Flyertalk and Facebook. So thank you Flyertalk community. It's a shame that nowadays social media has a bigger influence on companies rather than direct contact.

Thanks again thijsseh/everyone!

joe.cheung.ny Dec 28, 17 10:18 am

As an update. Got a call from SAA USA customer service today and miraculously they were able to book us on the Mango flight with an arrival time at JNB of 5:45PM. Kudos to Maria the representative who was a pleasure to speak with. And again, thank you everyone for the input and suggestions. I'll just referred back to this as a "funny" travel story to tell.

thijsseh Dec 29, 17 9:10 am


Originally Posted by joe.cheung.ny (Post 29223083)
As an update. Got a call from SAA USA customer service today and miraculously they were able to book us on the Mango flight with an arrival time at JNB of 5:45PM. Kudos to Maria the representative who was a pleasure to speak with. And again, thank you everyone for the input and suggestions. I'll just referred back to this as a "funny" travel story to tell.

I am pleased it got sorted.^
If only the entire SAA customer service team understood 'service' as the US office / call centre does, there would not be as many unhappy customers as there are.


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