SAA: Worst Enemy or Best friend?

So to continue where I left off last night, at JHB airport:

My laptop battery did die, there were no standby planes avaliable back to Cape Town at an earlier time, and I was going to miss the Champions League Final.

That was all until I went to check in to my 8pm flight to Cape Town, 3 hours after arriving at the airport. SAA had managed to overbook my flight, not by one, or two, but by twenty six people. Guess who was one of the lucky few not to get a seat on the plane? That’s right, it was me.

I couldn’t believe it, I had probably been waiting the longest out of all the passengers to board that flight, but still there was no ticket for me. As you can imagine I was rather tense, and a lot of steam was coming out my ears. I sure let the poor SAA staff member know my feelings towards them. What made it even worse was the fact that they couldn’t get me on any other flight that night back home. They were all fully booked.

How can you overbook a flight by 26 people?

So what happened? SAA put me up in the D’oreale Grande Hotel at Emperors Palace for the night. A beautiful R1585 per person per night room. I got to watch Barcelona beat Arsenal on my king size bed, with a Castle lager, and a sirloin steak. All at the expense of SAA.

Oh, and I got a free return ticket to anywhere in South Africa, valid for 300 and something days.

Should I be angry with them?

D'Oreale Grande at Emperors Palace

10 thoughts on “SAA: Worst Enemy or Best friend?”

  1. At least they tried to fix the situation. 🙂

    It happened to us once. We were flying to Maderia, but because of bad weather, couldn’t land, so we headed to some small island 7 minutes away. BA put the entire plane full of passengers up in a hotel with dinner and breakfast, before island hopping us to our intended destination.

    Sometimes companies do make mistakes. It’s how they recover is how they are remembered.

  2. Your spot on the money Jason. A very good recovery from SAA has kept my confidence high in them.

    Mandz, it was some hard earned Mark time, definitely not lonely. 🙂

  3. you got a good dinner, had a beer and got to watch the footie in a luxury hotel room, no reason to be angry, however they could have organised you a few models for company… (have you guys seen the Carlsberg TV adds? – we dont do football but if we did…)

    I had a similar scenario flying with SAA from JHB to Heathrow a few years back, faulty plane, couldn’t take off, tried fixing it etc etc, we were put up in an awesome hotel over night, taxied to and from airport. Eventually flown back on a different aircraft, we were all given a return flight to any SAA destination in the world as compensation. Yes it was annoying and inconvenient but they handled it in the best possible way. SAA are still my airline of choice.
    I see no reason to be angry..

  4. I must be honest Bryce, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me.

    Flying to Heathrow from JHB a few years back they overbooked my international flight. I was the lucky one again. Free return international ticket and sweet hotel for the night.

    I attract this stuff! Fly with me if you want freebies!

     Sidenote: Tried commenting on your blog Bryce, but can’t. You must enable non-blogspot blogger’s comments. That finger looks sore!

  5. Well, to all of you who claim to travel so often and claim freebies, you would surely note that every airline overbooks flights for the mere reason of risk and business control. An average of 10% of passengers never cancel or even notify the airline or even pitch for the their booked flights, so, if you were running a business like that, and tried to make a profit, trust me you would all overbook flights. You have to see it from a business point of view, a bum in a seat is money, and that what makes airlines survive.

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