SAA, ORT must get act together before 2010

Are all those people who doubt our country's capacity to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup really pessimists? Well, if you think that they all are, you should try flying on SAA from OR Tambo International Airport to Port Elizabeth.

Are all those people who doubt our country's capacity to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup really pessimists? Well, if you think that they all are, you should try flying on SAA from OR Tambo International Airport to Port Elizabeth.

I am a regular flyer on SAA and eight out of the last 10 times, I heard the "regret to announce" broadcast, that the boarding gate had changed from the one that was printed on the boarding pass issued only 10 minutes earlier.

Each time I had to go to another boarding gate on another level. Eight times out of 10. Incredible, isn't it?

On a Friday evening especially, you will seldom depart on the scheduled time.

SAA will more often than not tell you about "operational reasons" (whatever that means) that make it impossible for the plane to leave at the time that was initially advertised.

Then after all that, airport staff will go through your luggage and pick out which ever of your possessions they fancy for themselves, as happened to me recently.

Naturally, the airline that spends millions of rands promising a "friendly welcome" to South Africa, will point you to a legal disclaimer saying they are "not liable".

But of course we would be unpatriotic and pessimistic to raise these observations before we have had an opportunity to embarrass ourselves in 2010.

Mandla Tyala, Parklands

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