There is much uncertainty from our airline partners as to what their intentions are regarding refunds. It seems some carriers have shut the process down. Others have changed their policies and are flouting these processes.
The South African Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is very clear regarding refunds for services not rendered. Some airlines are not only in contravention of the Act but are violating their own policies. Iata is doing little to enforce rules promulgated by the airline industry.
While I have expressed my support of SAA, particularly since its troubles escalated of late, the airline has ‘deactivated’ GDS and BSP link refunds. If ever our national carrier needed the goodwill and support of its local agent community, this is the time. Yet they block refunds.
How can we possibly trust SAA – an airline that tries to placate us with a voucher for future travel when there is uncertainty of the future of the airline?
And where is Iata, whose duty is to ensure resolutions and regulations are strictly adhered to? Do the criteria only apply to us, the agents? if we were to put one little toe out of place, Iata would penalise us with the full force of ‘their’ law and agents would face suspension.
The various Passenger Agency Programmes that determine the relationship between agents and airlines under the Iata umbrella are meaningless in the face of recent airline behaviour. What recourse do agents have? None!
How long can such an inequitable situation continue? How long are we going to be governed by rules that are completely prejudicial to us? We cannot continue working under such unfair constraints.
Tel Aviv, Israel