Bad Experience with South African Airways
Earlier this year we had a client who booked his flight from the US directly through South African Airways and due to some unforeseen reason had to reschedule his flight... simple enough one would think!
Well it took about 20 painful phone calls and countless hours with SAA in South Africa over a period of several days to make the rebooking. Some calls were handle by our office but some needed to be made by the hunter himself who was less then pleased with SAA.
It took hours away from his hunt as all phone calls had to be made only during business hours as SAA does not have 24 hour support and they are not open during lunch time either. Numerous calls were dropped half way through the process and being on the phone 20 minutes or more, SAA agents would not call back and there was no way to reach the same person again. We had to call again and go through all of it from the start with the new agent.
SAA procedure to rebook a flight is just horrific and archaic, you cannot just call and rebook in one call, after the initial call is made, you have to wait for them from 3 to 24 hours to get a reply to you whether it is possible and what the cost would be as they need to have another department calculate the rebooking fee. Also you may not get in contact directly with that department that figures out the cost for the change of flight... The procedure is repeated for each flight option that one may consider. Also they don't call you back with the answer, you have to call them back after the time given and after doing this on several occasions there was still no reply. We had to call again and still nothing... by that time the office was closed and the only option was to call the next day. Each and every time we called we had to deal with another person, it was an exercise in frustration to say the least.
Also we had on a couple of occasions SAA agents unmistakably hanging up on us as I assume they did not want to deal with us and our issue!
They do not make it easy in regards to payment as well, if you do not use the same credit card that you purchased your original ticket with to pay for the rebooking fee, they need you to fax them a form for the processing of a new credit card along with a copy of your passport.
I say all of this not to bash on SAA because it is generally a good airline, it is just this process that could certainly be drastically improved upon. All of this hassle and waste of time could have been avoided if the reservation had been made through a travel agent who could have handled this much more efficiently. Also if you have another non SAA flight booked separately, one will have to contact that airline as well to make the necessary reservation changes.