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Kulula sale tickets to be refunded by the end of this week

Wendy Knowler Consumer journalist
The Kulula check-in desk on June 1 at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. File photo.
The Kulula check-in desk on June 1 at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

Good news for those who responded to Kulula’s 30% off one-day sale last Tuesday, only to discover that all flights were suspended indefinitely from that night: they will be refunded by the end of this week.

Comair, which is still not operating any of its British Airways (domestic) or Kulula flights, announced on Tuesday morning that people who bought tickets on that sale, for flights until November, would not have to wait up to 10 weeks for a refund as originally stated.

Many had cried foul, convinced Comair had staged the sale to drive purchases ahead of its decision to suspend flights.

“We understand the negative perceptions created by the Kulula ticket sale even though the sale had been triggered a week earlier,” the airline said.

Given that Comair only receives flight payments from its bank once the flights are flown, CEO Glenn Orsmond said: “We have agreed with our bankers to release the funds back to our customers, and we are pleased to advise the refund process will commence immediately.”

TimesLIVE has asked Comair how many tickets were sold in last week’s sale, but the company has not revealed the figure.

Comair has made arrangements for those holding tickets for BA domestic flights scheduled to depart from June 7 until June 12. They will be accommodated on Airlink flights at no extra cost, subject to availability.

Those who wish to rebook should contact their travel agent or the British Airways International Contact Centre, which is supporting Comair to manage incoming calls, on 010-344-0130.

International travellers arriving in SA on British Airways flights, with regional or domestic connecting flights with Kulula or BA, will be accommodated on SAA flights.

Comair has also extended Travel Bank credits which were due to expire in June by a month.

For those who bought BA tickets or non-sale Kulula tickets for flights departing from June 1, which remain suspended, Comair’s usual refund processes apply:

  • BA: Details can be found here or via the contact centre by e-mailing BAContactCentre@comair.co.za;
  • Kulula: Customers who booked now-suspended flights have the option of a Travel Bank credit or can request a full refund of their ticket value. Travel Bank credit can be used by the passenger or someone else. E-mail MNContactCentre@comair.co.za.

Last time Comair cancelled flights, for five days in mid-March due to a safety check  related to grounding by the Civil Aviation Authority, the company also committed to issuing refunds within 10 weeks. But more than 12 weeks on, many affected consumers have yet to be refunded.

Among them is pensioner Devi Reddy who said she’d sent “numerous” e-mails and called many times, all in vain.

Comair told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that 13,833 refunds for those tickets had been processed to date — or about 60% of the total. That suggests the refunding of many tickets bought for flights relating to this latest Comair cancelled flights crisis may take more than three months.

GET IN TOUCH: You can contact Wendy Knowler for advice with your consumer issues via e-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za or on Twitter: @wendyknowler.

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