Fear of flying

2010-06-10 00:00

IMAGINING ONLINE flight booking to be an effortless process, I proceeded to book an overseas trip on SA Airways’ website for my mum. It was reasonably quick – until I got to the payment page. Having filled in all my account details I clicked on the pay button and received the message that the website was experiencing technical difficulties and that I should try again later.

About five minutes later I tried again – and received the same message. Within seconds of clicking the pay button for the second time I received a call from my bank’s fraud division asking whether I’d indeed made two payments to SAA.

Frantic calls ensued between SAA and my bank. Rectifying the problem with SAA turned out to be a nightmare. The payment confirmation hadn’t even registered on their side.

The first consultant told me I’d have to wait 12 hours for the bank to release the funds. The second consultant cancelled both payments. The third consultant finally processed the transaction telephonically, sending me an e-ticket confirming payment.

I wasn’t happy divulging my credit card details to three consultants: and worse, that I’d be billed three times for one booking. I’ve yet to see what my bank statement reflects!


Time taken to answer a call: 4 sec

First impression: 4/5

Ability to answer query: 1/5

Courtesy of last agent: 2/5

Overall score [not an average]: 2/5