South African Airways gears for smooth travel over the festive season

SAA Domestic Departures Economy Check-in counters

South African Airways (SAA) has taken corrective service delivery action for travel peace of mind over the festive season.

The airline implemented a number of service delivery improvements at King Shaka International Airport in Durban, following service delivery failure on 26 October, when a number of customers were inconvenienced after Flight SA334 from Cape Town, en route to Johannesburg, diverted to Durban.

Flight SA334 departed 30 minutes late at 16:40 from Cape Town. Close to landing in Johannesburg, the aircraft was placed in a holding pattern and had to divert and refuel in Durban and undergo airworthiness inspection after it was hit by lightning.

“We again apologise to our customers who endured the inconvenience of spending lengthy hours in Durban with no access to suitable facilities before they could fly back to Johannesburg. SAA deeply regrets the incident. It displayed the weaknesses in SAA contingency measures at King Shaka International Airport to mitigate any irregular operations to ensure business continuity,” said SAA Spokesperson, Mr Tlali Tlali.

The airline has identified factors that led to service delivery failures and has taken corrective action.

“We noted that the one aspect of this service failure dealt with the preparation and mobilisation of adequate staff to enable them to respond to any irregular operations with the required levels of efficiencies. In addition, we have now put appropriate measures in place to ensure that hotel accommodation, ground transportation and third-party service providers are able to respond to operational challenges arising from irregular operations. Furthermore, SAA will insist on the maintenance of a proper telephone logbook for improved and recorded contact with the next-of-kin in cases where unaccompanied minors or the aged are on board during the irregular operations,” elaborated Tlali.

SAA would like to assure customers that the airline has geared up for the high volumes of travellers over the festive season.

The airline traditionally transports large number of young passengers who travel on their own over the festive season. Referred to as “unaccompanied minors”, these are children between the age of five and 12 years old, who are released into the custody and care of the airline at check-in at the airports where SAA operates. In turn, the airline staff will hand them over to such persons as per the endorsement in the booking.

SAA has made special preparations for them and will again collaborate with Nal’ibali, SAA’s literature development partner, which aims to inspire young people with the power of storytelling and reading.  Those travelling with children, on domestic and regional routes, and young travellers on their own will, from 5 December be offered a specially developed magazine with children’s stories and fun literacy activities, which promise to keep them mentally stimulated and entertained.

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