Mango customers left frustrated as queries over ticket refunds go unanswered

Once loyal customers are complaining that they wanted a refund or an alternative booking but no one is answering their calls at the customer care centre while e-mails go unanswered.

Mango Airlines. Picture: Mango Airlines official Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Mango customers said that they were hitting brick walls, with no response from the airline to queries about refunds for tickets they bought before its planes were grounded.

Many have turned to social media, complaining about poor and non-existent communication from the airline, which suspended operations allegedly over the non-payment of debt owed to Air Traffic Navigation Services.

Unions representing staff are heading to the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning for an urgent application for the airline to be placed in business rescue.

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Claire Blankenburg is one of the customers caught up in this Mango mess.

She booked two flights at a cost of over R6,000 in March last year.

Sixteen months later, she was told this week that the airline would not be reimbursing her.

"Them keeping my money and not giving it back is stealing. I bought flights to Cape Town and I either want those flights to Cape Town in September or I want my money back otherwise it is theft, " Blankenburg said.

She was one of many who'd been left in the lurch by the airline.

Once loyal customers are complaining that they wanted a refund or an alternative booking but no one is answering their calls at the customer care centre while e-mails go unanswered.

Mango has not yet been available for comment.

Meanwhile, the Mango Pilot’s Association said that government and management at the low-cost airline were not only leaving unpaid staff in the lurch but also customers who were trying to get refunds on their tickets.

Staff were saddled with several salary cuts at Mango and a few months ago, wages simply stopped as planes remain grounded, allegedly due to the failure to settle debt.

The Mango Pilot's Association's Captain Jordan Butler said that they were confident that the business rescue plan they'd come up with would work. He said that they could not continue like that as many Mango employees were unable to provide for their families because they'd been working for free and loyal customers were also facing uphill battles to get their money back for services not rendered.

"It is 100% unfair and that's why the staff carried on working through those months. Number one, we love our jobs, and we didn't want to prejudice the guests that keep giving us business over and over again. Now that opportunity's been taken away from us," he said.

Butler said that there was money to see this business rescue plan through to the end and protect thousands of jobs in the process.

“All these specialised skills are now going to have to look for work elsewhere in the world and so there's going to be a big brain drain in South Africa. One day when the market does recover here, all the staff would have gone,” he added.

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