To whom it may concern
I would love to express my great disappointment and anger at the way I was treated as a passenger and previous customer.
After undertaking a 12 hour flight from New York to Abu Dhabi on route to Johannesburg. ( EY100 / 01 jul 2014) i gracefully awaited my onward flight to Johannesburg via Seychelles ( HM87 and HM061 respectively). Due to the various technicalities that occurred on the night of 03 July the flight was delayed bringing us to the conception of my grievances.
As far as I am concerned the treatment received by all passengers of the above mentioned flight was and always will be well below par and definitely considered horrendous for a well established carrier as yours, especially when one takes into consideration it occurred at your national/based airport.
The first of my grievances was the way we were ushered back into the terminal without proper communication or feed back. (We were simply given transit tickets and told to wait around the dining area. To be honest I could not have expected much else at the time) however, after an hour without word or relayed information be it via audio announcement or bulletin screen, I along with all the other anxious passengers took it upon ourselves to approach and enquire at your information desk.
On a personal note I was well aware that I had a separate ticket that was to take me from Johannesburg to Windhoek , that your airline was not liable for. (SA078 03 July 1740) Upon meeting your representative I stressed out my urgency and was initially pleased at his enthusiasm to assist me. However, after standing at his counter for what seemed like an hour whilst in earnest was probably 30minutes my patience wore out and I expressed my anger, informing the aforementioned person that I am unhappy with his inability to give me feed back. With my voice raised, along with other disheartened customers of the same flight a colleague of his stepped in (his superior I believe). To cut a long story short I was told not to worry and was made to believe SAA and Etihad work in alliance and a connecting flight will be arranged for me once I land in Seychelles. (Not being in the airlines industry I took him for his word. I will however state I am not too naive to believe a stranger crumbling under the pressures dozens of disgruntled clients who did not all remain as cordial and polite as I was, this being said I asked if there were no SAA representatives at the airport to which i was told one was called for however had not appeared nor was presented to me all this while.
Upon arrival in Seychelles I was glad to see that my plight was relayed and their efforts to arrangement me a connecting flight was reassuring, however in the end they too said they were unable to reach SAA and an Etihad representative will be there to assist on landing in Johannesburg.
In Johannesburg I personally had to hunt down the representative whom then, along with a handful of other passengers booked us into an over night room. Here again my worry arose and I stressed out to the lady that I had been assured in Abu Dhabi and yet have no assured flight to Windhoek. She on that note took down my name and number and said she would have it done within the hour and contact me, fortunately I too took down her number (+27 83 440 3287) unfortunately she never did get back to me,minor was I unable to reach her through out the night.
Not wanting to be stranded in South Africa without money or ability to contact relatives for help I took it upon myself to camp outside the offices of SAA. (I believe I need not mention the strain stress and fatigue after having departed from New York on 1 jul). A little after 4am the offices opened and upon enquiry I was told no contact from any Etihad representative was made to them concerning me. More so I felt a fool as they told they were opened well into midnight and should simply have presented myself to them then. A penalty fee of South African rand (R2400) was presented to me to catch the next flight. Having no means of paying that amount I stressed that Etihad had assured me, whilst they insisted no arrangements were made and was my personal responsibility as I had bought two separate tickets and thus should take it up with Etihad.
With fear, anger, disappointment and hunger I immediately tracked down the Etihad office in O R tambo international, to my frustration they only opened at 6 so I spent an anxious hour awaiting their opening only to be told point blank nothing can be done to assist me, not even the use of their phone which they told me only makes national calls.
As to how I eventually managed to get home, I say no more than Alhamdulilah and may allah bless all the strangers and friends who came to my assistance in this month of Ramadan.
The second and final grievance was the inhumane treatment received upon re-boarding the delayed flight. After boarding the shuttle we reached the plain which in essence was not ready to receive us, locked in the shuttle outside the plain nothing was communicated to us after 30minutes and anger and frustration fairing amongst passengers of the shuttle the drive himself got inpatient and shuttled us back to the terminal. (not the smoothest ride I’ve taken) however, upon reaching the terminal we remained locked in, and rowdier passengers had began banging on the windows trying to attract the attention of the officials who clearly in sight informed the driver to not release us, after another 30minutes we were driven back to the plane where we were finally released and allowed to board, only to spend another hour in the runway due to congested air traffic thus our flight grounded.
Folly on my account led to me not noting any names of those who assisted, attempted to assist and mislead me during the entire experience.
In conclusion thank you for the great service I had priorly associated with your airlines. However, it is a service I am no longer inclined to ever make use of and will surely be advising against.
A disgruntled and lost client
Martin Mohamed Koroma