South African Express was this week hit by an avalanche of complaints from frustrated passengers who were allegedly conned by the airline’s employee and left stranded at the airport, unable to fly.
Since Monday this week, the airline’s offices in Gaborone were inundated with complaints from several disgruntled passengers who claimed they had paid for flights but were never issued with tickets.
Some even made urgent court applications against SA Express on similar accusations.
“I paid P20 000 as deposit for two air tickets from Botswana to Canada. They were based on confirmation of bookings and I paid in installments. On Tuesday this week, I went to pay the last installment of P7 000 as the total cost was P27 000, but I was told that the company does not accept installments and that I could not get tickets,” said a disgruntled customer, Anand Allen Gajudhur.
Gajudhur was scheduled to fly to Canada on Friday this week with his daughter who was to start University classes at the beginning of next month.
“The bookings have been cancelled and the company does not want to refund the money already paid to them and yet I have proof of payment. Where will I get P27 000 in a day? If my daughter fails to report to the University early next week, her admission will be canceled and she will lose out and yet I have already paid the education fees,” Gajudhur said in frustration
The unsuspecting father was one of the many customers who got the shock of his life this week when he was told that the airline did not know anything about his bookings in-spite of his payments made to one of its employees.
On Wednesday this week, the airline Country Manager, Edwin Garekwe confirmed the allegations.
“We can only confirm that indeed we have received complaints from some of our customers and the complaints are being investigated as we speak. SA Express did not take the allegations lightly and as soon as we have concluded the investigations we will advice the concerned parties on the way forward. The accused officer has been set aside to give way for investigations,” Garekwe explained.
“Some passengers have been helped and some have even been assisted to travel. Each case has its own merits and in due process, the matter will be resolved. Where refund is due it will be done and where travel is due, arrangements will be made.”
“Since today, (Wednesday) none of our clients had a problem at the airport and we believe that is a good sign. We are hoping that we will not receive any more complaints,” Garekwe said