Passengers expecting to use South African Airways flights on Wednesday have been angered by the cancellation of several flights from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Cabin crew members have been picketing outside the national carrier’s offices at Airways Park‚ demanding an increase in their international meal allowances‚ while passengers have been left queuing for hours at check-in.
One man‚ who said he had already checked in and was ready to board‚ was told his flight to Durban had been cancelled.
“I was already through the gate. It’s highly inconvenient‚” he said.
“They told me I’ll be on the next flight at 1pm‚ but even that is not guaranteed‚” he said.
“They didn’t even have the decency to let us know or make other plans. People are just sitting around‚” the man said. Christian Wild‚ a German tourist‚ arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning and was due to fly to Cape Town for a friend’s wedding when he was told his flight had been cancelled.
“I’m waiting for another flight. They said we can take the next one‚ but that’s not certain‚” he said.
“We’re already checking if other airlines can’t accommodate us. Otherwise we’ll have to wait‚” he said.
Another man‚ who was meant to fly home to Durban‚ said he was peeved by the “incompetent management” of SAA.
“They’re now telling me they’ll put me up in a hotel and I can only fly tomorrow‚” he said.
“How can you not have a plan B in place?”
People queuing in frustration to get to the front of the SAA help desk and ticket sales counters were all talking about the inconvenience of the delays.
One woman in the line was on her phone saying‚ “Baby‚ there are lots of flights cancelled. I don’t know when I’ll be home‚ but I’ll let you know.”
“This is unacceptable‚” another woman screamed over the phone.
Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga was among the travellers stranded as his flight to Durban from Johannesburg was amongst those affected‚ while Michelle Meldau was delayed in Mauritius.
Passengers and media are advised to contact South African Airways for flight-specific information and queries on 27 (0) 11 978 1111 or 0861 606 606.