JOHANNESBURG – LOW coast airline, FlyAfrica, has incurred the wrath of travelers who accuse the company of shortchanging following laws South Africa has introduced to prohibiting children from travelling unaccompanied.
Irate passengers said the airline did not disclose to them critical information prior to booking only to charge minors exorbitant spot fines.
“What FlyAfrica agents at O.R Tambo (in Johannesburg) do is unethical and unprofessional.
“Firstly, they don’t reveal critical information to unsuspecting parents prior to booking tickets for their unaccompanied children below 18 years,” claimed a client, Kudakwashe Kundituka.
He said FlyAfrica would then ambush the unsuspecting children and dissuade them from travelling without the required documents such as identity documents and police clearance.
“This is done on the 11th hour when queuing the minors board their flight for departure,” said Kundituka, whose cousin he said was turned away.
He continued, “In the process, you are forced to run around to ensure that your child does not miss the flight, but by the time you finish the affidavits and other paper work with police the flight would have gone.
“It is then that the FlyAfrica staff would demand additional R850 for missing the flight if you still want your child to continue travelling on their next available flight.”
Obert-Phathisani Mhlanga, whose stepson was flying to Harare in Zimbabwe, also cried foul over the alleged violation by FlyAfrica.
“They are making a profit by taking advantage of unsuspecting passengers. We were booked for a 0620hrs flight from Johannesburg to Harare two weeks before departure, but guess what, the agents did not tell us of anything,” Mhlanga decried.
“Our child had come from Zimbabwe buy bus, but this time, we wanted him to fly, so we did not know going back home we might be required to have affidavits from police since our son had a valid passport and a ticket for FlyAfrica. It was when the flight was about to depart when told our child would not board until we sought the police clearance,” Mhlanga said.
This was not feasible as the police outlet was closed on the day.
“So, we had to drive back to Johannesburg Central Police Station to make affidavits. When we returned, we were told that we missed our flight and should pay R850 penalty in order to board the next flight of the day,” said Mhlanga.
A Harare man, who declined anonymity had a ticket to fly the following week but opted to fly earlier due to urgent business was made to pay $200 (about R2,400) yet the flight cost R1,200 one way to the same place.
Efforts to obtain comment from the FlyAfrica, which commenced operations last year, were unfruitful by the time of going to press.
– CAJ News