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Another OR Tambo experience


zamunda

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We recently made a quick visit to Melbourne for a family matter and got back a few days ago.

We flew SAA all the way from Botswana. Our route was through Perth to Melbourne.

When returning we got our boarding passes in Melbourne all the way to Gaborone, Botswana.

Once we landed in ORT the first thing we did was to go to the nearest SAA counter and get our flight to Gaborone and baggage confirmed. The lady at the counter did this and adviced us that the connecting flight was in one hours time (as mentioned on the boarding passes). She had absolutely no smile on her face and no greeting at all. Far cry from the friendly faces and smiles we got accustomed to at Perth and Melbourne air ports.

We went over to the departure terminal gate and found other passengers waiting for the same flight. Departure time came and went and the gate remained closed. Eventually (20 mins after departure time) a Air Ports Authority officer came around and told us that the flight has been cancelled and we should contact SAA for further information. When I asked if she could not help, her reply was "there is nothing I can do" and she walked away.

I then (leaving my wife at the gate) had to walk all the way back to the SAA counter (the one we went to on arrival) to get my connections done. When I got there (the same lady) I was told that nothing could be done until my wife also came in person (i had my wife's pass port and boarding pass with me). I kindly explained to the lady that we had been travelling for almost 22 hours and was very tired. Also reminded her that we came to her earlier and got our connection to Gaborone confirmed with her. She gazed at me and went on to answer a phone call. A few minutes later she asked me what I was waiting for. I should go and come back with my wife. Tired and angry I let her have it!!

No sooner had I done this, the lady drops the phone and issues me and my wife with new boarding passed.

We took off from ORT four hours later.

Got to Gaborone to discover that our baggage had not arrived. Why they at ORT could not get the baggage organised (after all they had close to six hours since our arrival from Perth) I fail to understand. The officers at Gaborone tells us "come back tomorrow for your bags".

How wonderful!!

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Melbourne Airport to me was the worst, standing in those long lines (with the 10 other flights that just landed) heavily pregnant with 2 kids after a very long flight so they can check if you've got something suspicious in your bags, dogs sniffing at your heels and I must confess I did not feel very welcome.

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I will agree that there can be bad experiences at many airports and it is not exclusive to ORT or as I call it Jan Smuts (just to pee some people off).

I have travelled extensively, I would say. I have been through around 30 airports internationally.

When it comes to South Africa however I find it is most important to have some sense of Humour. Even if you have been flying for 20 hours. I once asked for some simple directions at Jan Smuts after not having been back since the Revamp for the 2010 WOrld Cup. I was told to go up to the third floor... Guess what? There is no third floor, that would be the roof.

I cannot understand that those in power do not understand the importance of tourism to the country and how impressions even for locals can shape and effect results down the line.

My wife is flying back with my two kids tonight and I am more than a little worried that the customs official is going to want a bribe... cos my wife will lose her cool and probably end up missing her flight due to a chat with the local police.

I will be going back in 2 weeks myself and will not be flying with my wife, so I have decided i might just make some customs persons day... how they treat me will be how I treat them... Maybe some video footage would be handy. Maybe Derek and Ruda could use some on that Carte Blanche show if that is still on. Then again maybe the Government have silenced them for obvious reasons.

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The 1st time I flew to Oz a few years back I travelled on my British passport. When I arrived back the customs official at ORT asked me where my letter was from Home Affairs was to say that I am a SA resident. When I told him I don't have 1 and that I had never heard of this, he told me we had a problem and that he couldn't let me back in the country. He then asked me if I had bought anything that his wife would like. I replied that as the plane was still on the runway I was quite happy to go back to Australia as there they don't ask for bribes. Suddenly I didn't need a letter anymore. Go figure...

My favourite part is how he assumed you actually wanted to come back in to this dump. Like it's some kind of place you actually WANT to be.

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The 1st time I flew to Oz a few years back I travelled on my British passport. When I arrived back the customs official at ORT asked me where my letter was from Home Affairs was to say that I am a SA resident. When I told him I don't have 1 and that I had never heard of this, he told me we had a problem and that he couldn't let me back in the country. He then asked me if I had bought anything that his wife would like. I replied that as the plane was still on the runway I was quite happy to go back to Australia as there they don't ask for bribes. Suddenly I didn't need a letter anymore. Go figure...

Gee I would have done my nut! :boxing: :boxing: :boxing: :boxing:

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The 1st time I flew to Oz a few years back I travelled on my British passport. When I arrived back the customs official at ORT asked me where my letter was from Home Affairs was to say that I am a SA resident. When I told him I don't have 1 and that I had never heard of this, he told me we had a problem and that he couldn't let me back in the country. He then asked me if I had bought anything that his wife would like. I replied that as the plane was still on the runway I was quite happy to go back to Australia as there they don't ask for bribes. Suddenly I didn't need a letter anymore. Go figure...

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You know reading through this thread I have no doubt that people have had bad experiences however experiencing rude staff and luggage mixups and many other airport debacles are actually NOT UNIQUE to OR Tambo. Someone mentioned that they doubt it ever happens at any other airports in the world. I don't mean to be disrespectful but I have traveled to other parts of the world and YES it does happen. I have traveled to airports in other parts of the world where no one tells you anything about delays or where luggage has gone to and please don't get me started on illmannered staff with don't care attitudes. So yes I understand that one can only go on ones experiences but really people ORT being the only bad airport with the only rude incompetent staff, I HIGHLY DOUBT IT.

RAD

I have to agree with you. I have had bad service at Australian airports too and more specifically Qantas but have to say SAA to Oz is great but SAA to OR Tambo was really lacking in service. Qantas let us down from Joburg to Perth. We waited 24 hours for another flight and communication from Qantas was rather terrible.

I reckon all airlines just treat us like cattle when it comes down to it

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they run the airport and their customer service like they run the country

they want the jobs and they want the money and they want the possessions but are not prepared to work for it

everybody else in the world seems to know one must work for your money and their is no right of entitlement

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You know reading through this thread I have no doubt that people have had bad experiences however experiencing rude staff and luggage mixups and many other airport debacles are actually NOT UNIQUE to OR Tambo. Someone mentioned that they doubt it ever happens at any other airports in the world. I don't mean to be disrespectful but I have traveled to other parts of the world and YES it does happen. I have traveled to airports in other parts of the world where no one tells you anything about delays or where luggage has gone to and please don't get me started on illmannered staff with don't care attitudes. So yes I understand that one can only go on ones experiences but really people ORT being the only bad airport with the only rude incompetent staff, I HIGHLY DOUBT IT.

RAD

Due to the nature of our work we travel by air extensively each year. Since Botswana does not have direct international flights we always have to fly through ORT. Because of this we are able to do a fair comparison. Yes I do agree that rude officers can be found at other air ports as well. However, when comparing general level of service/attitude ORT takes the prize.

In addition to the attitude of officers at ORT, there is also fundamental management problems. For example, at other international air ports the gate counters are manned by the air line it self. So when a problem occurs the air line if able to attend to it with minimum of inconvenience to passengers. However, at ORT the gates are manned by Air Port Management with no direct communication with the air line. With the experience we had, the officer from the Air ports authority could not really give a damn about the plight of the passengers.

During one of our previous trips we travelled to Europe through Doha air port. Our flight to Doha was delayed and on arrival only had 15 minutes to the departure of our connecting flight. Despite this, not only did the ground staff manage to get us into the flight they also got our baggage into the flight. Yet during our recent travel through ORT even seven hours was not enough.

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The difference with arriving at OR Tambo is that the crappy service doesn't end there. It's just the welcome mat SA style, and it's covered in stinky poo.

Everywhere you go you get this surly miff attitude. Nobody smiles or greets back. This morning in the canteen this rude woman managed to serve breakfast without even acknowledging my existence. Just slopped the food onto the plate, despite that I tried to greet her and have a little small talk. Not even a grunt in my direction, just a sulky lip.

I find it helps to be even ruder back. Stuff them. Now I don't greet them either if they are rude, I just slam my money down on the table (which is something else that irritates me - if I hold my hand out for change and the change just gets put on the counter) and demand what I want - no please, no thank you, no eye contact and absolutely no niceties. They don't deserve them. It's amazing how surprised they seem and how they sometimes make the most slightest of efforts to be a little nicer to lubricate the social awkwardness away. Only if someone is friendly (like at woolworths!) then I am my normal chipper self.

As I said to some of my friends - I've had friendlier and more human interactions with the self-service checkouts in the UK and Australia than I have with most pick and pay checkout people.

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Just to add the topic - my family and I arrived at OR Tambo after a great xmas holiday in Oz only to be greeted by a very unfriendly custom official who was slouching back on her chair chewing bubblegum looking rather unimpressed with her job. My son 6 at the time wanted to hand in the passports which I allowed - being rather a high counter top he could only place all 4 passports at the front of the desk. In her uninterested attitude she stretched her arm out as far as she would reach without changing her slouching back position and told me to place all the passports in her hand. I looked at my husband and said "welcome back to Africa"

What the :censored:

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RAD, you are correct....but we can only share our experiences.....most of them seem to be bad at OR Tambo.

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Just to add the topic - my family and I arrived at OR Tambo after a great xmas holiday in Oz only to be greeted by a very unfriendly custom official who was slouching back on her chair chewing bubblegum looking rather unimpressed with her job. My son 6 at the time wanted to hand in the passports which I allowed - being rather a high counter top he could only place all 4 passports at the front of the desk. In her uninterested attitude she stretched her arm out as far as she would reach without changing her slouching back position and told me to place all the passports in her hand. I looked at my husband and said "welcome back to Africa"

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You know reading through this thread I have no doubt that people have had bad experiences however experiencing rude staff and luggage mixups and many other airport debacles are actually NOT UNIQUE to OR Tambo. Someone mentioned that they doubt it ever happens at any other airports in the world. I don't mean to be disrespectful but I have traveled to other parts of the world and YES it does happen. I have traveled to airports in other parts of the world where no one tells you anything about delays or where luggage has gone to and please don't get me started on illmannered staff with don't care attitudes. So yes I understand that one can only go on ones experiences but really people ORT being the only bad airport with the only rude incompetent staff, I HIGHLY DOUBT IT.

RAD

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We had same experience with them. Wife and 2 kids... not enough food on the plane. So they offered a coupon for breakfast at the airport in Perth. Yea, so you fly few hours, kids no sleep or food and family waiting on airport to have breakfast.

My daughter was a weighed 7 kg but they refused her bassinet... even though we booked the seat. (CLEARLY STATES INFLIGHT MANUAL WEIGHT LIMIT 10KG) Needless to say nightmare experience with SAA. Their service has gone down the tubes.

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We have always found the airports and the staff that work in them here in Australia polite and helpful NOT too mention the occasion when we were flying back to Oz after my eldest brother's funeral on Qantas when I "lost" my husband's passport. I single handedly delayed the flight for over an hour while a massive search was conducted and the flight attendants and the captain of the aircraft could not have been nicer. I was an absolute gibbering wreck as they said that my hubby would have to leave the flight,they even started unpacking all the luggage to take his bag out but the captain asked the entire passenger contingent to search under their seats,in their lockers etc etc. and the passport was found-thank goodness. When we got to Sydney the captain came to find us and wish us well in our new lives in Oz as we had told him that on our return we would be having our citizenship ceremony. I still cannot believe how professional they all were and you can understand why i fly Qantas whenever I can.

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This was posted tonight..........

Roxette Official wrote:

Just spent 90 minutes at one of the world's worst airports; Johannesburg. Could actually be the No 1 on that scary list....Good God, how about some organization with customs etc? Leaving now. Thank you.

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We flew out on Thursday evening on Etihad airways. As we checked in quite early we were worried about our luggage sitting in the luggage basement waiting to be redistributed despite them being locked and secure. We asked the check in lady if it was too early and she said the bags go down to the basement and are locked before being loaded onto the aircraft. This provided us with some comfort but I doubt this happens anywhere else in the world.

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I got thrown out of ORT once, literally, for trying to leave the country on my british passport. I wont forget this experience in a hurry!

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