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    • AmberWH
    • By AmberWH 14th May 19, 7:07 AM
    • 20Posts
    • 0Thanks
    0 WOW
    South African Airways rip-off
    • #1
    • 14th May 19, 7:07 AM
    0 WOW
    South African Airways rip-off 14th May 19 at 7:07 AM
    I delayed my return and was wrongfully charged for my return ticket to the UK.
    Who can I turn to for a refund?
    The credit card I paid with? The airline? My travel insurance company? The travel agent? One of the organisations that protect us - ABTA/IATA/CAA/other? I would be most grateful for some expert help.

    The circumstances:
    1. I found the cheapest flight to SA on and Kayak. I was told by the travel agent the flight I picked was not changeable. I therefore paid quite a bit extra just in case I had to change my dates. I paid by credit card for 2 return flights for me and my husband.
    2. I was due to return to the UK on 7th April. I needed a minor op on my back in Cape Town (a pre-existing condition so not covered by insurance) so I phoned SAA in Johannesburg on 2nd April to find out if I could change my return date. They informed me the only way I could have an extra 150 for each ticket waivered was if I had had a bereavement or needed hospitalisation. I should send a letter from a specialist surgeon, which I did.
    3. I received no response to my email so I called again the next day. Calling SAA is far from simple - taking hours to get through, etc. They told me they could not reply to emails as they could only send "automated emails". They also could not find my email so they asked me to resend it, which I did, and to phone back in an hour to see if they had received it, which I did, and they had. They informed me the extra charge would be waivered and I should call back when I had had my minor op. My tickets would be placed in a "holding" category.
    4. I called back last Tuesday 7th May. I spent the entire four days, Tues-Fri, on the phone to SAA - where phone charges are astronomical. They provisionally booked us for Saturday. Meanwhile they could not confirm the tickets because they didn't know what I had paid originally because the Travel Agent in London had booked the tickets with the letters "IT" next to them, hiding what they had charged me. I was told to phone the Travel Agent in London and tell them to phone SAA.
    5. I phoned the Travel Agent - again at an almighty cost. They told me - rubbish, the IT booking would have included a hotel, which mine didn't. They told me the classes I had been booked under for each leg of the journey. They also told me I was showing up as a no-show for the return flight on 7th April. They refused to phone up SAA on my behalf.
    6. I phoned SAA back. They insisted it was an IT booking. Meanwhile they told me I had to download an 8 page form from their website and get it filled in by the surgeon to show I was "fit to travel" on that day. This required many trips to internet cafes, printers, the doctor's, the hospital where he was operating, the printers, the internet cafe, until it was sent and finally received to be assessed by the SAA medical team.
    7. On Friday - day before the return flight - it was finally confirmed to me I was travelling the next day and I should enjoy my flight. Wheelchairs would be organised to get me from the luggage drop off to the gates/exit at all three airports - they were not. I had to reorganise them at each place.
    8. I got to Cape Town airport on Saturday only to find our flights were NOT confirmed. The medical had been approved, but only for that day. I was kept standing for an hour and missed my flight. I was handed a computer printout which states "IT". It was explained that without knowing what I was charged in London for my ticket and the taxes, they could not waiver an unknown amount.
    9. To cut a long story short, I had to pay up a full fare or I could not return to the UK. I knew the alternative was for us to spend another entire week in Cape Town on the phone to the SAA call centre and get nowhere. So I paid 1211.23 + the credit card non-Sterling transaction fee of 33.31, to SAA, to leave the country.

    How do I seek a refund?

    Many thanks in advance for any pointers. I have no idea where to go from here.
Page 2
    • Heliflyguy
    • By Heliflyguy 16th May 19, 1:55 PM
    • 883 Posts
    • 435 Thanks
    I believe it was flexible as in the OP original post they mention 150 to change.

    Having done some more research SA do have ITX fares that allow change fees to be waived for death certificate or hospital account/admission form whatever that means.

    It goes on to state that flights must be rebooked and reissued within 72 hours of no showed flights but not that the new flights booked must be within 3days. OP really needs to check the change rules of their fare though as I see the change fee as 200 not 150.

    If I was to put any blame on who messed up it would have to be SAA.
    Last edited by Heliflyguy; 16-05-2019 at 2:00 PM.
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