Saturday, October 19, 2013

Nothing Like a Little African Efficiency

This evening I was trying to make a flight reservation. It was the easiest flight route as well: Gaborone to Johannesburg. The flight takes 45 minutes and South African Airlines offers about half a dozen roundtrips on this route daily. I was attempting to make the reservation online through the SAA website which was going well, until I had to enter a phone number. That’s when things started to go south. I tried easily 30 or 40 variations of phone numbers; both U.S. and Botswana numbers and the system simply would NOT process my request. Each time I was given an error message and told I had an invalid phone number.

Tried to look up a Botswana SAA office number… no luck.

Attempted to call the Botswana airport directly in hopes of being transferred to the SSA office.

Four calls to the Botswana airport got me nowhere.

Skyped a friend in the U.S. and asked him to find a phone number. Three phone numbers later and we still hadn’t accomplished anything.

Eventually Brian (in Lubbock, TX) called the SAA office in Plantation, Florida. When he told them he wanted to make a reservation they transferred him to the Reservations Office in…. care to take a guess? Johannesburg, South Africa.

After 23 minutes of me sending messages via Skype to Brian in the U.S. who was on the phone with SAA customer service in Africa I now have a ticket.

Talk about efficiency. There is no other way to explain it: TIA.

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