A Shocking Incident Aboard SAA 207


Published: February - 2007

Continuing subscribers will remember the host of complaints leveled against South African Airways a couple of years ago when the airline began flying the new Airbus. Upper management approved a seat configuration on the aircraft that was so tight we dubbed it their Cattle Car Service and questioned the company's appreciation for customer comfort and satisfaction. Scores of subscribers wrote us with complaints at the time.

Now, a new incident has reinforced our view that a hate-the-customer attitude has developed at this airline. It was all too clearly manifested in a chilling incident reported by three American passengers returning from safaris to Africa this past August aboard SAA flight 207. The passengers say a South African Airways flight attendant identified as Jan Vente went out of his way to harass, insult and threaten them based solely on the fact that they were Americans.

Accounts we received from each of these passengers indicate the incident occurred because one of the passengers simply tapped Vente on the shoulder when the attendant could not hear (or perhaps ignored) requests to allow him passage in the aisle. Instead of handling his objection to being touched in a professional manner, Vente proceeded to lash out at the passenger. Here is an excerpt for one of the passenger's e-mails, Eddie Hyashi's:

".... my travel partner, Ryan Kaneshiro, had gone to the restroom at the rear of the plane. He returned minutes later looking very confused but angry, voicing to me that he had just gotten into a confrontation with a flight attendant at the back of the plane. I stood to let Mr. Kaneshiro into his seat; the flight attendant, who we later identified as Jan Vente, was glaring at us from the back of the plane. 

Kaneshiro pointed to him and said: `He called me an f....ing American.' At that point, Vente gestured for me to come to him. As I approached the back of the plane, passengers who had witnessed the confrontation warned me to watch out, that the........(continued)

 
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