Lockdown in South Africa: Lessons in the Travel Industry

Since the travel ban and national lockdown in South Africa have been in effect, leisure and business travel have been brought to a halt. The COVID-19 pandemic has put the whole world in a situation it has never been in before and the travel and tourism industry has certainly been hit the hardest. Both travel agencies and airlines are inundated with queries and are trying their best to navigate this unchartered territory. We unpack how this has impacted the airlines and what effect this has on anyone wishing to get a refund or rebooked on to another flight.

at the airport - start your new adventure

Will the travel ban be lifted as soon as lockdown in South Africa is lifted?

Firstly, let’s establish the difference between a travel ban and a lockdown. A travel ban stops domestic and international flights. While it is in effect, no one may travel. The only exceptions are cargo flights and repatriations. A lockdown limits freedom of movement. Currently, the lockdown in South Africa only allows people to leave their homes for essentials, such as shopping for groceries, collecting medication and visiting the doctor.

Based on world trends and our current situation, we can assume that the travel ban will not be lifted at the same time as the lockdown. Even if that were the case, airlines will need time to prepare their fleets and coordinate schedules, so it might be a while before we have lift-off.

Although you might be itching to rebook your flight and jump onto a plane, keep in mind that search availability on global booking systems only covers up to 330 days in advance, for most airlines. Also, In some cases, airline inventory is not yet updated, resulting in no available flight information. 

How is air travel affected?

Due to the travel ban and national lockdown in South Africa, all domestic and international travel is prohibited.

While the national lockdown and travel ban is in place, don’t be alarmed to see the odd plane whizzing across the sky. That’s not for tourists. There are a few reasons you’re occasionally still seeing a plane.

  1. Cargo flights are still operating since they are an essential service.
  2. Many South Africans are still stranded abroad and the Government has allowed for them to be brought back home (repatriated). Similarly, many foreigners that are still stuck in South Africa are being allowed to return to their home countries.

Birds eye view - lockdown in south africa

What are airlines offering?

While everyone is feeling the financial strain right now, so are the airlines. Airlines across the world have been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) states that African airlines alone stand to lose more than R74 billion in 2020. Many are on the brink of liquidation, while others are struggling to keep afloat with minimal task teams and resources.

In essence, airlines can no longer afford to give cash refunds. Some are kindly offering vouchers to customers with an existing booking. While this may not be a viable option for every customer, at least you have a trip to look forward to when you’re able to fly again. If lockdown in South Africa has taught us anything, it’s our appreciation for travel and open spaces!

Get updated information on each airline’s policy.

What is a “free date change”?

Changing your date consists of three charges:

  1. The airline’s date change penalty fee (most airlines are waiving this charge)
  2. The difference in fare, which is based on fare class, availability and seasonality
  3. Change in airport taxes, subject to fluctuating exchange rates

It is important to understand that when airlines offer a “free date change” the change is not entirely free. They might waive their admin fee, but the fare class and taxes may still affect your new ticket price. 

Some airlines are currently offering one free date change on your ticket. We suggest waiting to select your new travel date until we know when airlines will be operating out of South Africa. 

What does a ticket suspension mean?

Not all airlines provide this option, but for those that do, this is good news for you. 

Suspending your ticket means that you can put your flight on hold to travel at a later date. Most airlines give you between 12 and 24 months (from date of issue or original travel date) in which to use your rebooked ticket. This is entirely airline dependent; some may have a shorter validity period so be sure to check the airline’s terms and conditions. 

Please be aware that ticket suspensions are subject to the same two charges as outlined in date changes – fare classes and airport taxes. For example, when you rebook your new dates, your original booking class may not be available. This means that you will have to pay the difference in fare as well as the difference in taxes. 

Let us know how flexible you are with your new travel dates so we can try to find the same booking class to reduce additional costs you will need to pay in.

What is your best option?

While most airlines are offering free date changes, we strongly recommend that you do not take this option as we do not know yet when air travel will be allowed. At this point in time, using up your one free date change would be a waste, should the travel ban continue for a longer period of time (after which you may be liable to pay for your second date change). 

If you’re able to and your airline provides this option, rather suspend your booking. We simply don’t know when we’ll be able to hop onto a plane, so this is the best option to save you additional penalty fees in the long run. 

plane landing at the airport - lockdown in south africa

What does the future of air travel look like?

Experts in the airline industry predict that domestic travel will lead the way. While we expect ticket prices to drop significantly, especially for domestic flights, there is no guarantee of this. International travel will have a slow uptake as consumer confidence grows and countries open up their borders. We also expect to see the rise of the more conscious traveller once this is all over. People have become more aware of their own footprint and what effects the likes of overtourism have on local communities. Perhaps this will bring us closer, in search of more meaningful experiences and travel with a purpose.

In light of current circumstances, we do not advise that you rebook any flights until the travel ban is lifted. Once our President has advised that air travel is open again, we look forward to jetting you off on your next adventure.

But for now, stay safe so that we can all travel later.

In the meantime, you can still explore the world with virtual reality travel, by learning a new language or trying out some world-famous dishes at home!.

 

Stay on top of travel updates and airline policies by visiting our Travel Safe page.

Is the lockdown in South Africa starting to get you down? We’ve got you covered with our lockdown survival guide!

 

Written by Nadia Marth & David Daniel Hendricks

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Good Day
    I booked a return flight from SA to Uganda on the 10 of Jan 2020 my departure date was the around June
    Flights where cancelled due to Covid19 then in July I tried a rebooking for December and I was charged an extra R8 600 for the new booking,Then I enquirer why the funds from my first booking are not taken up against the new booking.I was told that I still had to be charged penalties on the old ticket.Then I decided not go thrue with the rebooking instead to opt for a refund.On the last email I received concerning the quote for refund I was charged as below

    We have received your inquiry about cancellation for your booking from JNB to EBB (ROUNDTRIP) flights in booking ZA07769291 for passengers:

    Please find the refund quote below:

    Service fees and Travel Extras: 181.91 (nonrefundable)

    Fare and Taxes: 4421.93 per person

    Airline Penalty: 3 128.00 per person
    Refund admin fee: 0.00
    Refundable amount: 1 293,93 per perso

    • Hi Nomava,

      Thank you for reaching out and sending your booking query and reference number. With the national lockdowns in each country due to Covid-19, airlines are no longer in control of their flight schedules and all cancellations and/or disruptions that take place or will take place are as a result of the national lockdown and not at the instance of the airline. Each airline has their own policy with regards to cancellations and changes. As Travelstart acts as an agent for the airline we are bound by the airlines rules and need to quote according to their directives which they have provided us. The airlines sit with the funds of the ticket and Travelstart is governed by all airline policies and I’m afraid we are not permitted to waiver any of their policies. Whatever the airline cancellation penalties are for the customers ticket our refunds team will advise and quote accordingly. Regarding changes, the airline has waivered their change penalty fee but any difference in fare and taxes our team need to quote on behalf of the airline. These funds go to the airline and not Travelstart – which means I’m afraid Travelstart as a 3rd party is not permitted to waiver any airline policies. If one is flexible with their dates of travel please provide our amendments team with alternative dates and they will see if they are able to find a cheaper seats.

      Looking at your booking our refunds team have responded. Should you have any further queries you welcome to reply to their email at: refunds@travelstart.com for any further refund queries.

      For any amendment queries please contact our amendments team direct at: bookings@travelstart.com

  2. Hi,

    My travel dates have been changed due to restrictions. I have sent total of four requests to Travelstart to try and cancel, suspend or get a voucher for my booked flights but have not received feedback in weeks.

    Please assist.

    • HI Tsholofelo,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve done a search using your email address and located a booking.

      I see our team have responded to your query with the below on the 9th October to the email address used to make the booking.

      Hi there

      Thank you for contacting Travelsrtart.

      Please be advised that Mango and FlySafair tickets are non-refundable in case of cancellation. You can however change the name, date and route of the booking. This needs to be done directly with the airline concerned.

      For Mango please contact them at 086 100 1234 or on their website http://www.flymango.com. Please use booking reference TMQKWZ.

      For FlySafair this can be done via:

      * FlySafair’s website (“manage my booking” link on top menu) by entering the traveller’s name and FlySafair reference number.
      * Alternatively customers can call the FlySafair call centre on 087 357 0030 to do changes but will be charged an additional R85 for doing changes through the call centre.
      * Only Credit cards accepted as payment. Please use booking reference CURNUT

      All changes must be made at least 24 hours before departure of the original flight or the tickets will be forfeited.

      Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further queries.

      Kind regards,

      All changes to your booking need to be made directly with the airline and before the original date and time of departure.

  3. Hello Travelstart,

    Earlier this year I and my sister (who paid for the ticket),Flyness Jere, booked a flight with a return ticket back to South Africa under the flexible date option, following the lockdown period however we were unable to return. Universities recently just opened and I have been having troubles reaching out to you because i need the date to be scheduled for the 8th, 9th or 10th in that order of priority.
    my booking reference is ZA08051155.
    please also email me personally as well so we can establish a better feedback loop.
    Thank you!

    • Hi James,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve called up your booking and see our refunds team have been in touch with you via email. Should you wish to accept the refund quote and proceed you will need to click on the link provided in the email sent to you today. Without confirmation from you, no cancellation will be actioned and no refund will be due.

      For any date change requests please email bookings@travelstart.com alternatively you can use the following link:

      https://www.travelstart.co.za/lp/contact-us

      Select “COVID-19 Change my booking” and provide your Travelstart reference number and new dates of travel.

  4. Hi I would like to suspend my booking as well

    Can someone please contact me
    My reference is ZA07843349

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out

      We’ve called up your booking and see our Refunds and Amendments team have been in contact with you via email yesterday.

      Please read through the emails our Operations Team have emailed and respond to them in writing advising how you would like to respond.

      I will give you a call shortly to answer any other questions you might have.

  5. Hello all, I have received an e-mail from Travelstart with the message below.

    “Mango have done a few significant schedule changes which may result in your departure time being different to the time on your Travelstart ticket. In some cases, flights may have been cancelled and vouchers raised and emailed to you directly by Mango. By checking in online you will be able to confirm the departure time of your flight. ”

    The booking ref is ZA08112667 and I am trying to find out what changes were made. The ticket numbers are: JE-9160048577154, JE-9160048577154, 749-3316486608, 749-3316486609
    Booked on: Fri, 28 Aug 2020.

    Please advise.

    Best regards

    • Hi Gerrie,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Should you wish to check if there is a schedule change to your Mango booking please follow the below procedures.

      1. Go onto Mango’s website: http://www.flymango.com
      2. Select Manage My Booking
      3. Select View Booking
      4. Insert your Mango reference number & 1 of the passengers date of birth and click Login

      Scroll down and you will see your Mango flight is now departing at 17:00 instead of 15:45

      We will give you a call tomorrow to answer any other questions you might have.

  6. Hi,

    Since SAA is no longer flying, what will happen to my bookings, which was cancelled due to the lockdown.
    Will i get a voucher or refund?

    Thanks

    • Hi Trisha,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve done a search using your email address and found your SAA booking.

      Hi There,

      Please be advised that SAA is currently not offering refunds on any of their tickets.

      They have made the following option available for affected clients

      * Customers holding a ticket issued by South African Airways (083) (operated by South African Airways and/or SA 7000-7999 marketing flight range, Mango codeshare (SA2000), SA Express and Airlink issued on 083 ticket stock, we will offer you the value of the unused sectors (coupons) as a credit for future travel.

      * The original ticket’s unused coupon value will be used as the credit value at the time of reissue/exchange to a new ticket/travel document.

      * We will ignore the original ticket fare rules and allow you to use the credit (value of the unused coupons) within the next 24 months (2 years) from 25 March 2020.

      * The reissue / reroute request and all travel must be completed on/before 25 March 2022. (YES TWO YEARS. Our systems are updated accordingly.)

      The airline has already cancelled this booking due to the National lockdown. We are holding it as a credit on your behalf.

      When you are ready kindly contact us with your new dates at bookings@travelstart.com

      An e-mail was sent to the e-mail address advising the above. Should you have any questions you welcome to respond to our operations team at: bookings@travelstart.com

      We have a team managing that inbox who will respond to assist with any booking queries you might have.

  7. Good day,

    I want to book a ticket to fly from Cape Town to JHB for business purposes, Kindly confirm which documentation do i need or what the procedure would be in order to fly without any trouble at airport.

    • Good Day Miles,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. In order for you to book a business flight you require the following:
      Travel requirements

      Face mask

      Photo ID – ID Book, South African Driver’s Licence or Passport. Children must have a Birth Certificate or a certified copy of a Birth Certificate no older than 3 months. (This does not need to be an Unabridged Birth Certificate)
      Copy of E-Ticket AND boarding pass
      Health Declaration Document from the Department of Health
      Travel Permit – see forms below

      You can find the declaration of health and the permit information via https://www.travelstart.co.za/lp/essential-travel

      Please note that some airline when doing check in might require additional documentations to be completed and they will provide you this themselves, upon check in.

      I trust this information is helpful and will assist you in making your business trip happen.

      Kind regards,
      Melissa

  8. Are you guys currently booking flights from Windhoek into cape town? My boyfriend has been stuck in Namibia since the beginning of lockdown and we are trying to organise that he get permission to leave the country, but we don’t know what transport he can acquire right now

    • Hi Pier,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m afraid not.

      At this stage all airlines are unable to give a fixed date when their flights will resume operation. This will depend on the lockdown restrictions of each country and when their borders will option. All airlines are working very hard to be ready to hit the ground running when the recovery eventually comes. We suggest to please keep checking the airlines website and the news for the most up to date information.

  9. I have had my return trip to the UK rescheduled several times by the lockdown. After much effort, I was able to “chat” online with some members of your staff. Finally the refunds team came back to me with a “quote” to refund me. Is this the only option? Is a suspension available on British Airways and what does this mean and for how long?
    The quote is wholly unsatisfactory in as much as I used 50% of the ticket to fly out to SA from the UK but have been offered the equivalent of a 5% refund with NO FURTHER explanation. While the responsibility for this will no doubt be passed onto British Airways (who inconveniently tell me that it not them, but the Travel Agent to whom I must correspond) I am left hanging in the middle.
    The cancellation was not the Airlines fault, but it sure was not mine. However the Travel Companies are sitting with my payment. Booked, paid from and flown from the UK. Policies changing all the time and little effort in communicating with Clients.
    Must be said that when I first contacted Travel Startdealing with Kirsty and Andrea was incredible. Best agents ever. Now I am “chatting” with faceless agents, and retelling my story everytime the call / email chain / chat session drops.
    Reference number TB07541837

    • Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks for getting in touch and voicing your concerns. Regret to hear you have not had a great experience when reaching out to us for assistance regarding your refund.

      I see you have contacted us via Social Media and have since been contacted.

      Should you have any other questions please pop us a private message on Facebook again or e-mail refunds@travelstart.com We have a team managing that inbox 7 days a week who will be happy to assist.

      We hope next time you reach out to us we will be able to give you a 5 star experience.

  10. My husband and i have tickets booked to travel to Mauritius on the 8th August 2020.
    Our Reference number is TB077724651.
    We will not be able to travel due to the pandemic.
    What are our options regarding postponing these flights?
    How do we go about arranging the changes.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      The Travelstart reference number you have provided has an extra digit. I’ve searched using your e-mail address and name and surname and still not able to find a booking.

      Please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com They will look at the airline directives and respond to your e-mail providing you with your options regarding postponing.

  11. Given that we will not be able to travel to Peru (South America) on 20 June 2020 due to the current national lockdown and ban on international travel from South Africa, please advise what are our best options if we cannot be refunded for the following fully paid flight bookings: ZA07562277 and ZA07562298. As we have already paid a fortune for these tickets, we’d appreciate it if we we not further heavily penalised and/or taxed, as this situation is not of our making. We’re victims!

    • Hi Deon,

      Thanks for reaching out and sending your Travelstart reference numbers.

      I’ve called up both bookings and see our refunds team have been in contact with advising you of your options.

      If you have not yet replied, please respond to refunds@travelstart.com how you would like to proceed.

  12. I am Cati Cortesi
    I have booked through Travelstart to fly toAustralia on 21 August 2020.
    Am I still going to be able to do the trip.
    If not, what is going to happen to my booking.
    Reference number: ZA07916414
    Thank You

    • Hi Cati,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve called up your booking and see our operations team have responded your e-mail.

      For any further booking queries you welcome to e-mail: bookings@travelstart.com For any refund queries you can e-mail: refunds@travelstart.com

      We have a team managing those inbox’s who will respond.

  13. I have booked flights on Mango through Travelstart. THe booking reference is Reference ZA08012978 , 8 pax from JHB – Zanzibar return on 2 July. I also took cancellation insurance fro R499.00 per person when I did the booking.
    I seems as if we will not be able to make this trip due to the travel restrictions. How do I go about claiming a refund based on my cancellation Insurance which was paid for when I did the booking. There were no conditions attached to this cancellation insurance, and in my opinion I should now be refunded due to the airline being unable to fulfill it’s commitment.

    • Hi Willem,

      Thanks for reaching out and sending your Travelstart reference number.

      We’ve called up your booking and see our refunds team have been in touch with you via e-mail with your options. Please check your inbox for an e-mail from refunds@travelstart.com

      For any further queries you welcome to respond to their e-mail.

  14. Disgraceful that it took a fight and report to the goods and servicra Ombud for you to honour the Emirates refund policy.
    But then you refuse to refund the extra I paid so that I can change dates for free (I bought it before any of this was even an issue). Obviously I will not need to change a flight that has been cancelled, so I should get a refund on something you can’t deliver.
    I will never be using Travelstart ever again, lockdown or not, no matter how cheap you are. I will rather pay the extra and book direct with Emirates.

    • Hi Yahya,

      Thanks for reaching out and voicing your concerns. We regret to hear you are not happy with the service provided.
      Airlines are constantly changing their policies. At the time our refunds team quoted you, Emirates was not offering a full refund. We have to quote according to the airlines directives – what their cancellation policy is at that time the customer requests a refund quote. We are governed by all airlines polices and are not permitted to waiver them.

      Regarding our service fee and travel products, I’m afraid these are none refundable as per our Terms & Conditions.

      I see Michaela has responded to your post on Social Media that should you wish you welcome to send feedback to: feedback@travelstart.com
      We appreciate all suggestions and feedback from our customers as this helps us improve where needed.

  15. Hello

    I just want to find out how do i go with a refund from a flight as my flight never happened and i had to book another flight

    • Hi Werner,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If you have booked with Travelstart you welcome to e-mail refunds@travelstart.com or reach out to our team using the following link:

      https://www.travelstart.co.za/lp/contact-us (select Covid-19 Booking Cancellation)

      Please send them all your details: Travelstart reference number and booking query. We have a team managing this inbox who will respond.

      They will then look what airline you are travelling with and quote according to that airlines directive.

  16. Hi again, I made 4 reservations for a family of 6, reservations ZA07836905, ZA07837375, ZA07837207, ZA07837011 and I see that ZA07836905 has been suspended until 20 December. Firstly, I would like to also hace the other ones suspended as these are overseas customers and will not be able to travel now. Secondly, I would like to know why ZA07836905 is suspended until 20 december? SAA is allowing tickets to be suspended until March 2022, and these customers can only travel next year in July again.

    Thanks,
    carlos

    • Hi Carlos,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve called up your booking and see our Operations Team have responded to your e-mail request. Please check your inbox you would have received an e-mail from: bookings@travelstart.com

      For any further queries you welcome to respond to their e-mail. We have a team managing that inbox who will respond with feedback.

  17. Hi, I have made reservations for a family of 5, reservations ZA07882162 and ZA07882118, which had been previously suspended by you, and I have the emails to prove it. I see now on my dashboard that they have been cancelled! What has happened and what does this mean?

    Please clarify.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Carlos,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Your flights for booking: ZA07882162 and ZA07882118 have been suspended.

      Your flights have been cancelled out the booking so passengers will not be considered a no-show. However as confirmed via e-mail your bookings have been suspended.

      If you have any other booking queries you welcome to e-mail bookings@travelstart.com or reach out to us via our online contact form. We have a team managing this inbox and will respond. Alternatively you can reach our team via our online chat service.

  18. Can’t find where to speak to someone about my booking with Kulula – as we can’t fly and have not heard from either Travel Start or Kulula do I automatically get a voucher?

    • Hi Monique,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve done a search for your booking using your e-mail address and located your booking.

      We have sent an e-mail regarding suspending your Kulula flight and when travel will need to be completed by.

      Should you have any other questions you welcome to respond to the e-mail sent today. We have a team managing our Fares inbox and one of our agents assist.

  19. Good day

    I made flight bookings for 3 people to travel in August and I would like to find out how we can suspend our bookings to fly at a later date.

    • Hi Pertunia,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and found your booking.

      I see our Fares team have been in touch with you via e-mail. For any further questions you welcome to respond to their e-mail at: bookings@travelstart.com

  20. This is an email conversation on Monday 13 April 2020…

    Chat on travelstart.co.za

    Conversation started on : Monday, April 13, 2020, at 08:07 (GMT+0)
    [08:10] Ester: Name : Ester
    Booking reference (optional) : ZA07950202
    [08:10] Siviwe has joined the conversation
    [08:10] Siviwe: Hello Ester, how may I assist you?
    [08:11] Ester: Good day, I have this reservation that departs 26 April, but can not travel due to the lockdown, how can I postpone my reservation?
    [08:12] Siviwe: We can suspend your SAA flight. This means cancel the flight from the booking and keep the ticket open for you to book another flight, the new flight will need to be booked by 31 May 2020.
    [08:13] Siviwe: Regarding your returning flight with Mango, you may request for a voucher for this flight directly with Mango on this page: https://forms.gle/sPyse1hehuqmHosj6
    [08:16] Ester: What is the Mango Reference that I must use?
    [08:17] Siviwe: This is the Mango reference THQNVM
    [08:17] Ester: For the SAA ticket, must I just rebook by 31 May? When will I have to travel by?
    [08:18] Siviwe: Yes, you will need to book by 31 May for the dates you would like to travel by.
    [08:20] Ester: Okay, please postpone the SAA ticket, what do you need from me to process this?
    [08:21] Ester: I will submit Mango for a voucher
    [08:22] Siviwe: Okay. I will complete the suspension and forward you a confirmation email when it has been complete.
    [08:23] Ester: Okay thank you
    [08:29] Siviwe: Great, the suspension has been completed and the email was forwarded to you.
    [08:29] Siviwe: Is there anything else you would like assistance with, right now?
    [08:30] Ester: Thats all for now, thank you Siviwe, have a good day
    [08:30] Siviwe: Great, Ester, thank you for contacting Travelstart. We wish you well this season. #StayStrong.

    I need clarity on this:
    1. How do I know that the booking I make, that we will be able to travel locally?
    2. I was advised to book before end of May – what if I cannot do that – do I lose my money?
    3. PLEASE HELP ME TO MAKE THE CORRECT BOOKING BEFORE END OF MAY – I WILL GIVE YOU DATES
    WHEN I HEAR FROM YOU.

    Should I change airline from SAA to Mango or Kulula?

    • Hi Ester,

      Thanks for reaching out and I do apologise for any confusion.

      We will give you a call shortly on the number showing in your booking: ZA07950202

      Just to confirm:

      You SAA flight has been suspended. This means your ticket has been placed on hold. Customers holding a ticket issued by South African Airways (083) (operated by South African Airways they will offer you the value of the unused sectors (coupons) as a credit for future travel within the next 24 months (2 years) from 25 March 2020.

      Travel must be completed on/before 25 March 2022. SAA requires us to collect the difference in fare and taxes when re-booking. The cost depends on what booking class is available. There will also be an admin fee to rebook. When you are ready with your new dates please click on https://www.travelstart.co.za/lp/contact-us and select COVID 19- Change my booking. Or e-mail our amendments team direct at: bookings@travelstart.com

      Regarding your Mango voucher, you confirmed you submitted for a voucher with them direct. You should receive the voucher within 10 – 15 working days. The voucher is valid for 2 years from date of issue. When you are ready to rebook your Mango flight you would need to book with them direct by calling or via our their website: http://www.flymango.com

      Passengers are not able to change from one airline to another. So your Mango voucher you will need to rebook a Mango flight. It is not possible to use the voucher and book with Kulula.

      I will give you a call shortly to answer any other questions you might have.

  21. Please urgently contact me about my parent’s booking.
    It is proving impossible to get hold of anyone there.

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for reaching out and apologies for the struggle in trying to reach us.

      If you would like to chat to us directly, we have a team ready to assist via our online chat service.

      This can be found on our websites homepage. http://www.travelstart.co.za (bottom left)
      Mondays – Fridays: 08h00 – 17h00
      Saturdays: 09h00 – 12h00

      Alternatively you welcome to pop us a private message on Facebook with your parents Travelstart reference number and booking query and we will escalate to the relevant team.

  22. Can someone please get in touch with me re a booking of flights I made for travel to the UK in June. I need to understand what my options are in this regard and the associated costs. My booking reference is ZA07965297.

    • Hi Helena,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve called up your booking: ZA07965297 and see our team have been in contact with you via e-mail with regards to suspending your flight as per the airlines directives. I will give you a call shortly if you have any other questions.

  23. Hi Travelstart
    Could you update me on my booking reference ZA08021400 for Kulula and
    British Airways. Has it been suspended or cancelled? I would like to arrange to suspend it, if possible.
    Thanks
    Lyn

    • Hi Lynette,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve called up your booking and see our operations team have been in contact on the 21st May via e-mail confirming your flights have been suspended.

      When you are ready to re-book please contact us via the following link:

      https://www.travelstart.co.za/lp/contact-us

      Select “COVID-19 Change my booking” and provide your Travelstart reference number and new dates of travel. Alternatively you welcome to e-mail bookings@travelstart.com with your new dates of travel and our team will respond. Should you wish you welome to chat to one of our agents via our online chat service or reach out to us on Facebook with a private message and we will pass your request onto our amendments team.

  24. Please look into our flight that we suspended..booking ref.ZA07864349
    Travel was supposed to be 3rd May 2020- 30 5.2020 with Qatar airways…we havnt received any vouchers for our travel …plus we booked seats for that flight…thanks..awaiting your reply.

    • Hi Shirley,

      Thanks for reaching out and sending your Travelstart reference number. I’ve called up your booking: ZA07864349 and see our Fares team sent an e-mail on the 20th April confirming they will be e-mailing the vouchers and shortly after sent them.

      The vouchers were sent to Gordan’s e-mail address as he it was his e-mail address used to make the booking. If you could please check your spam box.

      I have passed your feedback onto our fares team asking them to resend your vouchers.

  25. Thank you for the info.
    Are the airlines considering/working on less polluting travel?
    Tx.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch and the interesting question. Airlines are looking at ways in which they can do better at promoting “green” travel habits and transport services.

  26. Could you update me on my booking ZA07407341. Has our bookings been cancelled or suspended? We were due to fly out on the 31st May 2020

    • Hi George,

      Thanks for reaching out and sending your Travelstart reference number.

      Your flights have been suspended for your booking.

      I’ve called up your booking and see our agent has responded to your e-mail earlier today. They have also updated the e-mail address in your booking to the new e-mail address you provided.

      Please check your inbox and spam you would have received an e-mail from bookings@travelstart.com I have also resent the e-mail again.

      If you have any other questions and when you are ready to re-book please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com We have a team managing that inbox who will assist.

  27. Good Morning

    I have tried to contact you guys and have mailed a few times without getting any response back?

    Can you please be so kind to help me. I have tried toe change dates of my booking or be informed about a refund for my tickets?

    Ref nr: ZA08011978
    Kind regards

    • Hi Jana,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve called up your booking: ZA08011978 and see our team have been in touch via e-mail with an amendment quote for new travel dates in December as requested.

      For any further amendment queries please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com

      I have sent your request for a refund quote to: refunds@travelstart.com

      One of our refunds agents will contact you today. Please keep your phone close by at all times for when they call to assist with a quote over the phone.

  28. HELLO,
    I would like to have a response to my various attempts to contact Travelstart about my flight to Lisbon on 8th June 2020, on options available to me since we are still not able to Travel any time soon.
    My Ticket Ref no. ZA07769618 & we 3 are flying on TAAG.

    Please could you make contact so that this issue can be resolved without adding too much unneeded frustration that this matter is causing.

    Awaiting a call or reply from your agency soonest,
    Kind regards
    Maria

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for reaching out and sending your Travelstart reference number. We’ve called up your booking and see one of our agents have been in contact with you today to assist over the phone.

      Please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com for any further queries. We have a team managing this inbox who will respond.

  29. Hi Travelstart.

    We have 2 tickets booked leaving on Swiss on 12 May 2020 08:30 returning on Lufthansa 17 May 2020. Reference for ticket booking (ZA07960229)
    I made contact with your customer support re: options. They informed me that we could get a full refund on the fully unused ticket. I mailed them back on the 28th of April confirming I wanted this option and asked about how to go about it. Must we contact the airline? I have heard nothing back from you so decided to contact the airlines directly.
    Swiss and Lufthansa (call centers are now operational) confirmed that the ticket monies were paid to you so the refund will need to be processed by you.
    Please can someone assist me to deal with this? I have had no response to my query in over a week.
    Regards

    • Hi Manuel,

      Thanks for reaching out and sending your Travelstart reference number. I’ve called up your booking and see our team responded to your query:

      “”Thank you for the feedback. How do I opt for option 2? Through Travelstart or directly with the airline?””

      With the below:

      “”Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      We can apply for the refund on your behalf.

      Please advise if you would like to go ahead with the refund and we will action it accordingly.””

      Our refunds team have submitted your booking to the airline for a refund as the airline sits with the funds. A refund process usually takes 6 – 8 weeks. However due to the current situation airlines are being inundated with refund requests and significant delays should be expected from the airlines side.

  30. Hi All at Travelstart
    I have booked international return flights – Johannesburg to London via Doha. The outbound flight is scheduled for 18 May which is very soon now, and the return is on 26th June. What if the travel ban is not lifted before 18 May: can I apply for travel vouchers retrospectively to replace my bookings even after my flights should have departed on 18th May and 26 June respectively?
    My Travelstart booking reference is ZA07376568
    Thank you
    Dr Welch 082 3459222

    • Hi Dr Welch,

      I have tried to contact you on 082 3459222 but says the number is not in service.

      Looking at your booking I see our refunds team have e-mailed you a refunds quote. If you have responded to this confirming you accept the will submit for a refund. Qatar is also offering Suspension and vouchers. Please pop us a private message on our Facebook page with a contact number we are able to reach you on to assist with any booking queries you have.

  31. I have tried to get a response from you in connection with cancelled flights. Can you please send the voucher nr so that we can use it at a later stage. Our booking ref. ZA08000580. Thank you kindly.

    • Hi Jacob,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      The vouchers would come directly from Fly Safair. Looking at your booking I see you have used a different e-mail address to make your booking then the one you have contacted us on now.

      I’ve tried to contact you on the number showing in your booking but it says “This call can not be completed at this time”

      I’ve resent the vouchers numbers to the e-mail address used to make the booking. Please send me a private message on via our Facebook page if you have any other questions.

  32. Hi there

    I have booked a flight reference : ZA08061465.
    It was not clear that I would not be allowed to travel even having a valid visa for Bulgaria and would like to have my flight canceled / refunded / date changed. Please help in doing so, I have emailed many times and no response.

    Many Thanks

    • Hi Skyla,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve called up your booking and see no payment was processed and the ticket was not issued. I see you have contacted us via our online chat service and spoke to Robina who advised: on our side it shows booking was already cancelled on the same day you made it and no payment was processed. If it show payment from your side kindly contact your bank for reversal of funds.

  33. Good Day,
    Could someone please get back to me with regard my ticket suspension.
    I do not understand as to why I must pay almost R1500 for a suspension when it was out of my control since we had lockdown. I have paid the suspension fee of R199 and dont have issue with that as well as the difference to pay for when I can fly again. ZA 08011309

    • Hi Sylvia,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve called up your booking: ZA08011309 and see our fares team have been in touch via e-mail.

      If you could please check your inbox and spam. Sometimes the e-mails do filter in there.

  34. Good Day

    I have booked a flight to Lisbon departing on 18 September 2020 f reference ZA07959942. I am not sure if the travel ban will be lifted by then but if not what are my options.

    Regards
    Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Your request has been sent through to our fares team at: bookings@travelstart.com

      Due to the current situation we are receiving high volumes of queries and our operations team are prioritizing bookings by date of departure, as there are many passengers affected. However our team will be in touch via e-mail as soon as possible.

  35. Good day
    I have booked a flight for my family to Lisbon departing on 18 September 2020 reference no ZA07959862
    This was to coincide with the school holidays. Due to Covid 19 there is talk that the school holidays will be cancelled. Should that be the case what will be my options that are available to me.
    Regards
    Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Your request has been sent through to our fares team at: bookings@travelstart.com

      Due to the current situation we are receiving high volumes of queries and our operations team are prioritizing bookings by date of departure, as there are many passengers affected. However our team will be in touch via e-mail as soon as possible.

  36. Hi there,

    I sent a message via your contact page form on the 27th to find out what will happen with the reservations ZA07836905, ZA07837207, ZA07837011 and ZA07837375, but I have not received any response yet.

    Thanks for your assistance.

    • Hi CArlos,

      Thanks for reaching out. I see we have received your e-mail via our contact form however only for booking: ZA07836905 As you have made 4 separate bookings I have placed your bookings on queue for our amendments team to respond with options for each booking.

      I see your flights are for travel in July. We are currently experiencing high volumes of e-mail queries due to the current situation. Kindly be advised that we are prioritizing bookings by date of departure as there are many passengers affected. However our team will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible.

  37. Goodday,

    I have sent multiple requests to suspend my booking, however I have received no reply. The closing date for qantas is today therefor if it has not been done I would suffer the financial implications.

    Your online chat does not work, I do not receive replies. I have also downloaded that app but my booking does not show.

    I would like to request information regarding my flight suspension. My booking number is ZA06773520.

    Kind regards
    Jannike Brand

    • Hi Jannike,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve called up your booking: ZA06773520 and see our operations team have been in contact with you today via e-mail.

      If you have any further questions you welcome to reply to their e-mail. We have a team managing this inbox who will respond.

  38. Hi there
    I have been waiting for 2 days for a reply from the on line chat box. My booking reference is ZA07424645.
    Is there anybody out there?
    regards
    Vaughan

    • Hi Vaughn,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Apologies for the struggle in trying to reach us via our chat service we have been experiencing high volumes of queries.

      I’ve called up your booking ZA07424645 and see you reached out to us via Facebook and received a call back.

      One of our agents has since responded to your e-mail with options. If you could please check your inbox and you can respond to them direct.

      Yours in Safe Travel

  39. I need to change my Virgin flight to JFK and have submitted one request on your drop down menu on your contact page ( last week Thursday). I also initiated two chats today none of which are responded to.
    up to now, still no response.
    I have just submitted another request.
    Please, could someone respond or even acknowledge receipt and tell em when they will revert.
    Thanks

    • Hi Loyiso,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      For any changes to your Travelstart booking please e-mail our amendments team direct at: bookings@travelstart.com with your Travelstart reference number and new dates of travel. Due to the current situation we are receiving high volumes of queries however we have a team managing that inbox and will respond to your e-mail soonest.

  40. I have a booking on Eurowings (outbound) and Lufthansa (inbound) for Windhoek – Frankfurt – Windhoek in middle June this year. It now appears Lufthansa is considering to file for bankruptcy, or at least for protection from its creditors. Included in my ticket is Airline Liquidation Protection insurance. I did not receive an insurance policy at the time of my booking and have not perused the terms and conditions thereof (I only received a Blue Ribbons lost bags insurance policy). I requested a copy of that policy and herewith wish to inquire whether that policy will protect me in these circumstances, considering that vis major is often excluded in insurance policies. Your assistance is appreciated.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out. Please e-mail refunds@travelstart.com with your Travelstart reference number and query. We have a team managing this inbox and will respond as soon as possible.

      Just a heads up we are currently experiencing high volumes of e-mail queries due to COVID-19. Kindly be advised that we are prioritizing bookings by date of departure as there are many passengers affected. However our team will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible.

  41. Good Morning
    The chat doesn’t work for the 2nd day in a raw. Or rather, it appears that there is no one on Travelstart side to take an enquiry/chat. Also, filled in the “contact us” form with the enquiry 3-4 days ago and still no response.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out and sorry for the struggle in trying to get in touch with our team. I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and found your Qatar booking. I see our team have since been in touch. For any further refund queries you welcome to e-mail our refunds team direct at: refunds@travelstart.com

  42. Thank you for your updates and keeping your clients informed. I would just like to have confirmation that the tickets for myself and my husband booking ref ZA07563223 return to Amsterdam in May has been suspended. I did fill in your form but just need assurance that both KLM and on return Air France has suspended our booking and that we can change the dates once all airlines are operating again.
    Thank you kindly

    • Hi Jolanda,

      Thanks for reaching out. Please e-mail our amendments team direct at bookings@travelstart.com with your Travelstart reference number and booking number.

      They will look at the airlines directive and respond to your e-mail with feedback.

      We are prioritizing bookings by date of departure as there are many passengers affected. However our team will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible.

  43. Booking ZA07887864 has been cancelled/suspended for future date, I require the check-in reference number please.

    • Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve called up your booking and see your flights have been suspended. There is no check-in reference number.

      Your Kulula flights for booking ZA07937301 have been suspended. This means we have put your booking on hold and when you are ready to travel we can rebook your new flights (travel must be completed within 12 months from original departure date)

      The airline penalty fee has been waivered however Kulula requires us to collect the difference in fare and taxes when re-booking. The cost depends on what booking class is available. There will also be an admin fee to rebook.

      When you are ready to rebook please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com with your new dates of travel and our team will respond. Alternatively you can reach out to us on Facebook with a private message and we will pass your request onto our amendments team.

      Hope this information helps. If you have any other questions please let us know, we are here to help. have been suspended this means we have put your booking on hold and when you are ready to travel we can rebook your new flights (travel must be completed within 12 months from original departure date)

      The airline penalty fee has been waivered however Kulula requires us to collect the difference in fare and taxes when re-booking. The cost depends on what booking class is available. There will also be an admin fee to rebook.

      When you are ready to rebook please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com with your new dates of travel and our team will respond. Alternatively you can reach out to us on Facebook with a private message and we will pass your request onto our amendments team.

      Hope this information helps. If you have any other questions please let us know, we are here to help.

  44. How do one do the online chat please

    • Hi Erica,

      Thanks for reaching out. Our online chat service can be found on our homepage. Bottom left of the screen you will see the blue circle with the word Chat above it. I have done a search using your e-mail address and found a booking. Our team have been in contact with you today via e-mail. I will also give you a call to see if you have any further questions.

  45. I dont think it is fair to the ticket holders who already paid for the fee to pay the difference in airport taxes and re-booking fee, I am sure airlines have insurance to cover these additional charges and not pass it on to the consumer.

    • Hi Monica,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’m afraid this is a global crisis and not the fault of the customer, airlines nor agents.

      It is a very unfortunate situation for everyone. The airlines are wavering their penalty fees and offering as best options they can for their passengers.

  46. THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION, I REALLY APPRECIATE IT, AS WE DID (Luckily)not make any booking).
    However the
    information is interesting and relevant.
    Looking forward to our next responsible travel experience.
    Wishing all your staff a healthy and prosperous future.
    Kind regards,
    Rosa von Rischbieuder (Van der Spuy)

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for the wonderful feedback. We really love informing our readers and customers of what is happening in the Travel Industry and giving tips and information on any travel related topics!

      Keep a look out for more blogs we will be posting.

      Keep safe. #staystrong <3

  47. Good Day. I have 2 friends that are stuck in Barcelona Spain.
    They originally booked on Alitalia. They do not know how to get back to SA.
    Would they have to buy a new ticket? When getting back they have to be quarantined? Who pays
    for those two weeks in quarantine? They did manage to extend their Visa.
    How do we get them back to SA

    • Hi Christa,

      Thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear this. They would need to contact the nearest South African Embassy.

      All South Africans being repatriated are expected to pay an agreed airfare. Payments are made prior to being allocated a seat. In terms of the current regulations, every passenger should also enter into quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at an identified government site. On board screening is done by Port Health before disembarkation. Once cleared by immigration, passengers are escorted to an identified facility for the 14-day quarantine period.

  48. Hi there
    I have booked through Travelstart (Emirates) to fly from CPT to Dublin on 15 August and back home on the 16 September. Am I still going to be able to do the trip and if not what is going to happen to my booking?
    Kind regards

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’ve located your your booking using your e-mail address and your flights with Emirates for travel in August are still confirmed.

      Please make contact with us closer to your date of departure to see if we have received any feedback regarding your booking. You can e-mail bookings@travelstart.com We have a team managing this inbox who will respond.

      I will also give you a call shortly to see if you have any further questions.

      #staystrong

  49. Hi – We have flights booked in June.
    What would you recommendation be with regard to these?
    Thank you

    • Hi William,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and found your Kulula flights booked through us.

      The airline has suspended your flights. I have sent an e-mail regarding your options and will give you a call shortly to answer any further booking queries you might have.

  50. This is so frustrating. I had to rush to Limpopo b4 lockdown and took the kids with as it was school holidays. We’ve been stuck this side ever since. I’ve run out of resources for school for kids. We don’t have enough clothes for an extra day. I really pray flights will be available end if month.

    • Hi Moloko,

      It is a very sad and unfortunate situation we are all in. We are hoping domestic airlines will resume operations the beginning of May.

      We are keeping close contact with all airlines to receive the most up to date feedback.

  51. Good day
    Since I have read what is written above concerning lock down and travel ban. I need to be clarified about what will happen with my booking since I was persuaded by Travelstart to change my booking dates and paid extra charges while they are not sure about when this disaster will end. Please advice me because I done that only last week.
    Regards
    Riverose

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and located 2 bookings. You contacted us via our online chat service and requested a date change. Our agents responded, for any date changes to a Mango booking you would need to contact the airline direct. Regarding Kulula booking, you provided us with dates and requested a quote, which we sent through and received confirmation in writing “”Good day

      Thank you very much for your response. I accept the change of flight and the date thereof.

      A payment link was e-mailed and payment received for the change and your ticket was re-issued.

      We will give you a call to assist and answer any other questions you might have.

  52. Can you tell me if BA flight P5SW5H 5th May 2020 has been cancelled.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve tried to call up your booking: P5SW5H But it says Secured PNR

      If your booking was not made through Travelstart I’m afraid we will not have access to the booking and be able to assist.

      If you have purchased your ticket with Travelstart please private message us on our Facebook page with your Travelstart reference number. We have a team managing this page and will respond.

  53. Many thanks for clarity on a number of issues. I think this is valid info to be exposed in a TV interview.

  54. My mother is in Perth and requested her return flight to Johannesburg to be suspended until she knows she can fly again, but we have not heard back from you in this regard?

    Can you please send me contact details of who we can discuss this matter with?

    Thank you,
    Karien

    • Hi Karien,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve done a search for your mothers booking using your e-mail address and unable to locate a booking. Please reach out to us via our online chat service which can be found on our website or pop us a private message on our Facebook page or e-mail our team an e-mail at: bookings@travelstart.com Please with your mothers Travelstart reference number and query. We have a team managing these platforms and will respond to assist with your mothers booking.

  55. I have sent several requests regarding this matter. I have not yet received an answer. Please assist me.
    In the above piece you mention that most airlines give a suspension of my ticket. Yet you say in a letter to me, I can get the suspension but have to use it before October 2020. What am I missing here? Please respond, because I am now at my wit’s end trying to get clarification. I don’t want to take this to the media, but will if I have to.

    • Hi Evyonne,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve called up your booking and see you have contacted us via our social media platform and I see our agents have been in touch. For further queries you welcome to reach out to us again via Facebook, our online chat service or e-mail at: bookings@travelstart.com

  56. Thank you for this valuable information. I booked through you for a trip in July to UK. I’ll wait to respond nearer the time.

    • Hi Beverleigh,

      Thanks for reaching out and taking my call earlier. I’ve checked your BA flights and they are all still confirmed by the airline.

      Please reach out to us via Facebook, or our online chat service which can be found on our website or pop our team an e-mail at: bookings@travelstart.com closer to the time of departure. We have a team managing these platforms and will respond. .

      Stay safe

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