Cape Town - Low-cost airline FlySafair left passengers in limbo when a flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg was delayed until the early hours of Monday morning, 21 December.
Flight FA 239 was meant to depart Port Elizabeth at 20:55 on Sunday, 20 December, but only took off from PE at 00:53.
Ndivhuho Sekoba, a wheelchair-bound passenger on the delayed flight, told Traveller24 the airline never communicated any details regarding the delay to passengers, who had to wait around at the airport for more than four hours.
"I need a wheelchair because I have a problem with my leg, and during the delay, no one even asked me how can they can assist me," Sekoba said.
According to Sekoba, there were other wheelchair-users waiting to board the flight who were also left to their own devices.
“There were grannies there, and no one offered to help them during the four-hour-wait.”
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She said the airline gave no indication of why the flight was delayed. "They never communicated to us what the problems were - even when we were at the airport. Only when I went to buy refreshments just before midnight, someone finally told me there had been a technical issue with the flight."
Eventually, the plane left the PE runway just before 01:00, only arriving at OR Tambo International just before 04:00 on Monday morning.
Kirby Gordon for FlySafair confirmed the delay, saying there were two delays on Sunday, 20 December.
"One of our aircraft had a minor technical issue," he told Traveller24. "We decided not to operate that particular aircraft and swapped it out for another in our fleet. The technical delay first affected Flight FA 238, which was supposed to depart Johannesburg for Port Elizabeth at 18:45 and ended up leaving at 22:55.
"There was then a knock-on effect to the return leg (FA 239) which was due to depart Port Elizabeth for Johannesburg at 20:55 and ended up leaving at 24:53. In all there was an unfortunate delay of about 240min on those two flights," he said.
Arriving at OR Tambo International, Sekoba told Traveller24 she had to pay increased transport fares from the airport, as they arrived in Johannesburg in the dead of night.
“If they had just talked to us, we could have known what was going on.”
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