Travel Alert November 2019: South African Airways Cabin Crew Members Strike

The operations of South African Airways is being substantially disrupted by a strike of members of its cabin crews, which has already led to hundreds of cancellations and delays of flights — and thus directly affecting thousands of passengers.

Travel Alert November 2019: South African Airways Cabin Crew Members Strike

This ongoing industrial action by members of both the South African Cabin Crew Association and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is expected to continue through Monday, November 18, 2019 and shows no sign of ending in the foreseeable future.

This notice is currently displayed at the official Internet web site of South African Airways at the time this article was written:

South African Airways (SAA) has extended the cancellation of all domestic and regional flights scheduled for Sunday, 17 November and Monday, 18 November 2019. This operational decision is aimed at minimising the impact of disruptions for the airline’s customers.

The airline is pleased to announce that it is aiming to operate all international flights, departing from OR Tambo International Airport, with effect from Sunday 17 November 2019 and customers should report to OR Tambo International Airport as normal.

Departures from SAA’s international stations, including; London, New York, Washington, Munich, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, are expected to operate from Monday, 18 November 2019. The first departure from São Paulo, is expected to operate on Sunday, 17 November 2019. The first departure from Perth, is expected to operate on Tuesday, 19 November 2019.

SAA has further worked with its sister airline, Mango Airlines, to re-accommodate as many customers as possible travelling on domestic services. This may mean changes in timing and aircraft types, but aims to ensure that SAA’s customers reach their intended destination with minimal disruption.

Customers traveling to destinations in the regional market (points on the African continent) will be re-accommodated on Airlink, a partner airline of SAA, and other airlines where possible. However, it will not be possible to re-accommodate all customers.

“Passengers are advised to follow the commercial policies SAA has put in place, which can be found on Customers are requested not to travel to their departure airports unless in possession of a rebooked itinerary, as SAA will not be able to provide any assistance,” said Philip Saunders, SAA Chief Commercial Officer.

In order to minimise the impact on customers, SAA is proactively rebooking customers and providing various options. The Call Centre hours have been extended from 6am to midnight, South African time.

As call volumes are very high, we urge customers only to contact SAA in the event they wish to rebook on another airline for immediate travel.

Customers seeking a refund or wishing to rebook their travel on a future SAA service have until 30 November 2019 to finalise their arrangements.

The Call Centre numbers are 0861 606 606 or 011 978 1111. Customers can also visit for the latest information.

Passengers will be assisted as follows:
• Where possible, passengers will be rebooked onto flights operated by any of SAA’s Star Alliance partners or other airlines to travel to their final destination with minimal disruption; and
• Passengers can be rebooked onto another South African Airways flight for any flight on the same routing until 31 October 2020 at no extra charge and subject to availability in the same booking class.

This message was posted at the official Twitter account of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa: “They have canceled more flights which is compounding the financial crisis at SAA. They should simply pay the increase because to cancel flights costs MUCH more.


pothole South Africa

The photograph at the top of this article shows the pothole which killed the tire on my rental car on a road in South Africa. Please click on the photograph to read the article about my experience. The pothole is significantly deeper than it appears, which seems to be an appropriate analogy to the industrial action which is significantly affecting South African Airways. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

With few exceptions, passengers of South African Airways are urged not to arrive at airports and instead to follow travel policies.

If your travel plans from today through Monday, November 18, 2019 have been affected by this strike, you can rebook your flight with South African Airways for the same route to a new date — up to and including Saturday, October 31, 2020 — subject to availability in the same class.

Hopefully, your travel plans will not be affected and your itinerary will occur as planned.

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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