Avoid SAA at any cost

Old Feb 14, 12, 8:36 am
  #1  
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Avoid SAA at any cost

I think SAA is the worst, I am often using the IAD-JNB route, the planes are old and dirty, food and service is terrible, staff is rude. On Feb 12-13, SAA208 was cancelled two days in the row!!! The A330 fully depreciated junk that they got from Iberia had a shattered windshield and they couldn’t replace it for two days. Even if you are with the Star Alliance, I would suggest you use Delta or BA. SAA is a disgrace and should be kicked out of Star Alliance.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 8:47 am
  #2  
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Sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with canceled flights. All airlines encounter challenges with replacement parts. Your hyperbole about throwing SAA out of *A doesn't serve you well at all. Clearly, there are many others who have had positive and/or very positive experiences with SAA.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 9:04 am
  #3  
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Thank you for your reply, my conclusions aren’t based on one incident only, I have been based in JNB for 2.5 years now and fly SAA almost every month (business and economy). There are just too many issues with this airline (lost/stolen items from the luggage, rude staff, old planes, etc.). I am not looking forward to my flight every time I use SAA.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 9:47 am
  #4  
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I thought that route was operated by an A340.

And while I certainly have had issues with their customer service, I found the in-flight product in both Y and C to be quite reasonable.
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Old Feb 15, 12, 3:15 pm
  #5  
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Dear andreyhaas,

We're truly sorry to learn of your disappointment with our services. Please consider sharing your impressions and concrete suggestions for improvements with our Customer Care Department in North America via email at ([email protected]) so that we can learn from your experience.

As for the unfortunate flight irregularities on February 13th/14th, we apologize for the delay you experienced and any disruption to your travel plans. As safety of our passengers and crew is always of primary concern, unfortunately occasional technical issues may arise that require us to delay or cancel a flight. In circumstances such as this, we do our best to accommodate our customers to minimize any inconvenience.

Please accept our sincerest apologize. We hope to have the opportunity and privilege of serving your travel needs again soon.


With kind regards,

South African Airways, North America
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Old Feb 16, 12, 12:59 am
  #6  
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Dear sbm12,
Thank you for your post, yes you are correct, they operate A340 on this route, including the old plane that SAA got from Iberia.

It looks like SAA208 was cancelled three days in the row: on February 12, 13 and 14. I understand that sometimes airplanes can have technical issues, but taking three days to replace a windshield!? Is it normal?

On February 13, the gate staff at IAD called transit police a few times when some people started asking questions about compensation, reasons for the delay, etc. One passenger almost got arrested for simply filming the heated discussion on his mobile phone!!! There were passengers there (some with small kids) from the Feb 12 SAA208 flight and for them this was a second cancellation. The food vouchers that we got from SAA (US$25 for dinner and US$15 for breakfast) were good for food only, but not for beverages.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 1:14 am
  #7  
 
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Since it appears someone from SAA is reading this thread. Slightly off topic but not by much since I'm avoiding them as well for my last 2 trips to JNB in 4 months.

I haven't flown SAA because:

1) On a Y fare you only give 70% EQMs when credited to United
2) The inability to use frequent flyer miles from star alliance partners to upgrade Y/B fares to business class.

You want business from United flyers get your act together... How many years has it been now since SAA stated they were in the process of making Star Alliance upgrades possible? That coupled with the EQMs and the battles I have read on here with getting miles to post made it a easy decision to avoid your US flights.

Don't worry it just cost you approximately $1500 on my $3200 ticket next week.

Cheers!
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Old Feb 16, 12, 4:21 am
  #8  
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I think I have been getting 100% of the EQM to my United account, but quite a few times I had to write United in order for them to appear. Star Alliance upgrades aren’t possible.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 5:49 am
  #9  
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While I don't think SAA should be thrown out of *, I concur that the ex-Iberia A340's seem quite dirty. I recently flew LHR-FRA-JNB-DUR return with SA one way and LH on the return. The LH flights were spotless and a huge contrast to the dirty SA planes.

I also didn't get my mileage posted to my Aeroplan account on the JNB-DUR portions even though I was flying paid J. I wrote to Aeroplan about it and they said SAA had no record of me flying the route.

That said, I've found the service in J generally ok and the SA lounges are about par with what I'd expect from a *Gold lounge.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 6:45 am
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Another crap *alliance member

Originally Posted by jbb View Post
While I don't think SAA should be thrown out of *, I concur that the ex-Iberia A340's seem quite dirty.
Happily my first and last flight with SA was from PLZ to JNB in C and yes, the plane was dirty from the tray table to the crumbs on the seat and carpet.

SA is excluding itself from the *alliance by refusing F passengers from fellow *alliance airlines accesss to its Cycad lounge in JNB. All this topped by unpleasant and incompetent staff.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:04 am
  #11  
 
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My experiences with SAA have always been excellent...with the ground staff and esp. with the inflight staff. Of course, I have never experienced one of the ex-IB A340's so I cannot comment on that.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 8:23 am
  #12  
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Well, financially, SAA is a money loosing machine that hasn’t been profitable for several years, I guess this is the main reason why the cut costs everywhere, from cleaning and staff training to safety(by buying second hand aircrafts).
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Old Feb 16, 12, 9:11 am
  #13  
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Dear SAAUSA,
Thank you for your post, I would like to point out to your attention the following: (i) SAA experienced “flight irregularities” on February 12, February13, and February 14, on each of these days the flight SAA208 was cancelled; (ii) airlines with the primary concern for “safety of our passengers and crew” do not buy second hand, depreciated aircrafts; (iii) when you try to accommodate your customers in such situations you might consider providing them with some type of monetary compensation instead of “we are sorry letters with discount offers".

Originally Posted by SAAUSA View Post
Dear andreyhaas,

We're truly sorry to learn of your disappointment with our services. Please consider sharing your impressions and concrete suggestions for improvements with our Customer Care Department in North America via email at ([email protected]) so that we can learn from your experience.

As for the unfortunate flight irregularities on February 13th/14th, we apologize for the delay you experienced and any disruption to your travel plans. As safety of our passengers and crew is always of primary concern, unfortunately occasional technical issues may arise that require us to delay or cancel a flight. In circumstances such as this, we do our best to accommodate our customers to minimize any inconvenience.

Please accept our sincerest apologize. We hope to have the opportunity and privilege of serving your travel needs again soon.


With kind regards,

South African Airways, North America
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Old Feb 16, 12, 10:56 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by behuman View Post
SA is excluding itself from the *alliance by refusing F passengers from fellow *alliance airlines accesss to its Cycad lounge in JNB.
Just like Lufthansa/Swiss, right? And Singapore, too.

Originally Posted by behuman View Post
All this topped by unpleasant and incompetent staff.
My experiences with ground staff - especially in IAD - were not very good, but in the air they've been quite nice IME.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by jbb View Post
While I don't think SAA should be thrown out of *, I concur that the ex-Iberia A340's seem quite dirty. I recently flew LHR-FRA-JNB-DUR return with SA one way and LH on the return. The LH flights were spotless and a huge contrast to the dirty SA planes.

I also didn't get my mileage posted to my Aeroplan account on the JNB-DUR portions even though I was flying paid J. I wrote to Aeroplan about it and they said SAA had no record of me flying the route.

That said, I've found the service in J generally ok and the SA lounges are about par with what I'd expect from a *Gold lounge.
I flew the IAD-JNB route a few weeks ago an ironically I flew the former Iberia A340-300 aircraft in both directions (I am an airplane nerd and keep track of tail numbers of aircraft I fly). Both aircraft have been refurbished to include new Economy Class seats with the same AVOD that is on SAA's brand new A330-200's. If I did not know otherwise, both these aircraft look brand new with the refurbuishments. Looking forward to flying SAA's brand new A320's that I understand they started taking delivery of last month for the Africa domestic / regional routes.
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