A traveller pushes his luggage past closed check-in counters at the Hong Kong International Airport. Picture: AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Local travel agencies say they have been able to reroute their South African customers who were stuck at Hong Kong International Airport following two days of disruptions.

The Hong Kong International Airport announced on Tuesday that it had closed check-in services for flights as protesters swarmed the terminals and blocked access to immigration services for departing passengers.

Tuesday’s cancellations were in addition to 200 flights cancelled on Monday.

The airport disruptions escalated as demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents saw as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.

On Monday, SAA suspended air operations to and from Hong Kong.

Flight Centre Travel Group customer experience director Kim Taylor said the agency had to assist affected customers with alternative flight arrangements.

“This had an impact on the Flight Centre Travel Group who had to assist affected customers with alternative flight arrangements as per re-accommodation policies communicated by various airlines,” said Taylor.

She said the majority of impacted airlines waived the costs to rebook or reroute travel as well as any cancellation penalties for affected flights.

“This means that customers were offered alternative arrangements for affected flights at no additional cost,” said Taylor.

Thompson Holidays public relations and media manager John Ridler said all of their clients were using the Hong Kong airport to connect to other destinations.

“We were able to reroute them via other airlines. This was at no cost to the travellers,” said Ridler.

Yesterday, protesters remained camped in the airport’s arrivals area.

Online, protesters also circulated letters and promotional materials apologising to travellers and the general public for inconveniences.

Taylor said when customers experience disruptions to travel such as the events in Hong Kong, it was important that the re-accommodation policy for airlines to be identified. 

@Chulu_M