15 April 2009

South African Airways is losing it

http://iagblog.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html Picture Credit

Time was I would travel SAA by choice, but my trip last night has made me wonder. The Airbus A340 is old (not like the new A340-600 in the picture above) and tired, no in-seat entertainment - just ropey old TVs that fold down from above, with several of them making the picture from Zimbabwe Television look good.

And their cabin crew are simply noisy. They can't do anything quietly!

The icing on the cake for me though, was the real madam we had in our section. I am not kidding you, her rear fusilage was wider than the trolley she kept pushing into people and seats. She was an accident waiting happen, and I helped her several times by passing her things that had fdallen off her trolley as she bulldozed the aisles.

I wanted to take a picture, but one stern look from this mama was enough to scare me off. In the middle of the night I went back for some water, and there she was, on the floor of the galley, wrapped in passanger blankets. Almost awake. Personally I doubt she would have squeezed into the cramped sleeping stations where crew usually take there rest breaks.

At breakfast today, she came bruising down the aisle, shouting, yes shouting, 'coldy met or hotti omrette' which loosley translated means 'would you like cold meats or hot omlette for breakfast?'

You might imagine that several tourists could not understand -  and asked her to repeat the options. Louder still: 'coldy met or hotti om-rette', and finally a thundering, slower, more deliberate: 'I said col-de meat-i or hottt OMrette' before most people just said 'OK' and accepted whatever came. Fortunately I had ordered fruit platters for my meals, so I had eaten a good 15 minutes before others got to choose between the col met or the omrette.

The final laugh was watching my fine stewardess race through collecting the headsets just before we landed - and tripping up over them every three or fours steps. No wonder most of them don't work that well.

South African Scareways - the live entertainment is free! The Captain taxied up to the gate and suddenly breaked with a shudder. He apologised: 'So sorry about that ladies and gentlemen, but the little man waving the pingpong bats kept signalling for me to come forward, and then gave the stop sign without remembering to first give me the slow-down signal'. Great way to end the flight. World Cup Soccer 2010 is sure going to be eventful for loads of folks.


Bob Bartz said...

Yes, I do recall occasions when they are pretty noisy. I just noticed that their partner United Airlines, are now requiring larger people to purchase two seats, especially if the flight is fully booked.

Loved the breakfast announcement. Slowing down and yelling louder don't always help.

Steve at the Pub said...

Recently friends visited to SA (one of the couple is a former SAfrican)
Immediately upon arrival the lady's handbag was snatched/stolen.

This happened between passport control and luggage collection, inside the customs hall.

It is almost certain that the thief was either a customs officer or airport staff.

Within seconds they were attempting to report the theft. Neither airport security nor police were remotely interested in taking a report, and were irritated at being contacted about the matter. All indicated they would prefer the theft to be reported tomorrow (or later) and to some other jurisdiction.

When they finally bullied someone into taking the report, the attitude more or less indicated that far from being sterile, the customs area leaked like a sieve.

Forced to give a contact number each (instead of a joint one) they gave the cellphone they still had (the other being stolen with the bag) and their home number in Australia, pointing out that for the next several weeks they would be in SA and available only on the cellphone.

This was reinforced by the answering machine message on the Australian home phone "Hi, we are on holiday in South Africa for the next several weeks, please phone (the number of the unstolen cellphone)"

When they returned home, there was a string of messages (each message growing steadily more impatient at lack of reply) left on the Australian home phone, by the same officer who took their report at Jo'burg airport security, saying the "handbag you mislaid" had been found (sans cash etc) discarded by the road a few km from the airport, and to contact airport security to arrange return of the "mislaid" handbag.

Fortunately (if that is the right term) there had been a issue with their hire car, and they had to attend the airport a day or so after the theft. Whilst there they contacted airport security and were given back the handbag. The manner of the return was more or less resentfulness at having give over a handbag, rather as if the handbag was being wrongfully claimed.

Their tale ends in a similar manner to the post above. "And they reckon they can handle the Soccer World Cup!!!!"