You kind of expect flight crew to be trained in the art of handling sensitive issues, but given that SAA is a mess from the top down that’s probably too much to ask.
Take for example the case of Karabo Seitei, who had what we assume is a relatively simple request before taking to the air in August of last year.
Before her flight took off, she asked the crew to provide her with a seat belt extension, and then the wheels really came off.
Traveller24 with more:
When she requested the extension for a final time, a crew member told Seitei that they didn’t have an extension on board. ..
An announcement to the entire aircraft was made saying, “We are dealing with some obese cases on board and therefore had to go back to find extension belts; we don’t usually need them on this flight out of Cape Town. We apologise for the inconvenience caused,” Seitei recalls.
Some of the passengers giggled and made remarks following the announcement from the flight deck.
“I wished that the earth would swallow me,” Seitei [said].
Sorry, but who the eff authorises an announcement and talks about ‘obese cases’? Show some decency – and then it got worse:
The flight was delayed for more than 30 minutes until an attendant brought Seitei an orange extension. Instead of handing her the extension to fasten herself, the crew member made a spectacle of Seitei, fastening the seat belt around her waist for her.
According to her friend and colleague Sophia Brown, who was seated next to Seitei on the flight, “it was traumatic enough for everyone on the plane to see who needed the extension, but for the attendant to attach it for her as if she was a child, instead of handing it to her, was too awful.”
Seriously, SAA, have a word will you?
Although the airline first failed to respond to Seitei’s email complaint, they are now looking into the matter after the story was covered in the Sunday Times.
They have offered her 3000 bonus miles in compensation, and are rethinking their seat belt policy. Here’s Business Day:
SAA’s head of media relations‚ Tlali Tlali‚ said the airline’s policy was to have two seatbelt extensions on board “narrow-bodied” aircraft such as the Airbus in question‚ and five on “wide-bodied” aircraft…
The two extensions on board that flight were given to other passengers‚ but “there was oversight” on the crew’s part with respect to Seitei’s request‚ Tlali said…
Asked if the airline would consider asking passengers to indicate when making a booking whether they required a seatbelt extension‚ he said: “We are looking at the viability of different options to ensure required compliance levels. Your suggestion is but one option.”
All well and good, but I’d suggest they also cease making announcements over the intercom that single out certain passengers.
Given that SAA’s losses are sitting at around R4,5 billion for 2016/17, and we’re going to be bailing them out again soon, they’re in no position to judge.
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