Recovering from the 1time blues

Posted on November 03, 2012

Yesterday was an unfortunate day for many South Africans with the demise of 1time. There was chaos at the airports around the country as passengers were left stranded, some literally at the boarding gates after their luggage had been loaded, others hearing the news while on their way to the airport, and arriving to find closed check-in points and service desks. Twitter was abuzz with the news, reports of tearful employees asking sorrowfully about their jobs.

I was at OR Tambo, for a change very thankful to be flying SAA, observing all this going on around. One of the passengers boarding with me had paid R2800 to get a one-way ticket from Jhb to Durbs on the fateful Friday night. At the boarding gate there were a handful of standby passengers hoping that one of the regular fliers wouldn’t arrive so they would be able to get home. Only a few made it on, the rest were left hoping to catch another flight. A passenger relayed the story of how he flew up Friday morning, the plane only had around 40 passengers on-board, the emptiest flight he had ever been on. The pilot then made a strange comment after they landed. Instead of the usual “hope to see you aboard an xxx flight soon” he remarked that he couldn’t say he hoped to see them on a flight soon, then seemingly realising what he had said cut off the comment halfway through. Seems to indicated that even if the staff had no inkling, the pilots had some forewarning of sorts.

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Getting what’s due in terms of the Consumer Protection Act

Posted on April 06, 2011

The new Consumer Protection Act came into effect from the 1st April 2011.  To quote from the DTI website : “I know my rights. Do you know yours? you have rights as a consumer.  understand them.  enforce them.”

On the plane on Friday night I read in the paper (don’t remember which one, think it was one of the Cape local papers) that as consumers we now have the right to cancel an advance booking, and that the supplier may deduct a fee if we do so, but that they cannot refuse to provide a refund. Over the weekend I was looking at airline tickets and found that Travelstart have a policy which is in contravention of this. Simply put, unless you pay extra for a “Cancellation policy” you cannot get a refund for a ticket cancellation. This appears to me to be in contravention of the Act so I mailed them as below :

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