Loss of passport scuppers holiday

2008-06-08 00:00

A WINTERTON woman’s plans to go on a holiday to Croatia with friends were totally ruined by the loss of her passport, and the lack of interest SAA staff displayed in finding it.

Ann Gray’s “worst nightmare”, as she referred to it, began when she left her “moon” [waist] bag on an SAA flight from Durban to Johannesburg last month.

“My passport was mislaid in my moon bag that I had mistakenly undone around my waist as well as my seatbelt as I stood to get off the plane. After realising that my moon bag was lost, I contacted the SAA lost property, which did not help at all,” she said.

Gray, who had been planning the holiday for the past 18 months, told The Witness that SAA staff were unhelpful.

“I even tried to contact the Acsa [Airports Company of SA] cleaners, Acsa lost property at O.R. Tambo Airport and even Cape Town as the plane had then flown to Cape Town International Airport.

“No one wanted to help me except for one lady who tried to contact the cleaners who were busy cleaning the plane. They sat in their offices combing their hair and eating take-aways,” said Gray.

She said, out of desperation she even offered to run to the plane herself, since she once did that to assist a friend, but she was denied access.

“I thought they were just too lazy to help me because the cleaners could have found my passport and handed it to their supervisors.

“I was unable to travel further because the Croatian embassy would not give me a visa on an emergency SA passport.

“I have since heard that lost SA passports are recycled and sold to people wanting to get to the UK.

“What worries me is what is going to happen in 2010 if this attitude persists from SAA employees,” added Gray.

She said she will have to wait for another group of her friends who might go on a holiday next year.

Robyn Chalmers, head of group corporate affairs at SAA, said they are very pleased that the matter has been brought to their attention.

“We apologise to Gray for the treatment she received from our staff members and we would like her to lodge a formal complaint for further investigation,” said Chalmers.

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