SAA accused of leaving passengers high and dry

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IOL pic oct29 saa airplane tail colours Independent Newspapers SAA should be viewed more as a national imperative than just a business, writes Khaya Dlanga.

Johannesburg - Travellers on two flights leaving OR Tambo were left stranded on Tuesday night after their flights were delayed by more than 12 hours.

Passengers on a flight to London which was meant to leave on Tuesday night found themselves aboard a flight only at 11am on Wednesday.

“There has been no communication, and all we were told is that they could not locate the crew,” said a passenger on the flight.

“People are so angry. There was also a flight to Lagos that was cancelled. Some of the passengers had a fight, and police had to be called.”

South African Airways spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that SA234 to Heathrow Airport was cancelled. He said the flight had been scheduled to take off at 8.40pm, but it could not do so due to technical complications.

“Prior to departure, it was discovered that all of the aircraft’s ablution facilities were malfunctioning. The aircraft could not take off with all its ablution facilities not working,” Tlali added. He said technicians were called in to attend to the problem.

“The process of unblocking all the toilets took longer than anticipated, and as a result, the flight was cancelled. It was eventually established that the blockage was as a result of facial cloths being flushed. The problem has since been fixed.”

Tlali said travellers were told that the flight had been cancelled, and SAA provided them with food and accommodation.

Tlali also confirmed that flight SA060 to Lagos had similar technical problems, which resulted in the flight being cancelled. Travellers were also offered food and accommodation.

“SAA would like to offer an unreserved apology to all its customers for the inconvenience caused by the delays,” said Tlali.

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