Fly Africa: Believe or not believe, THAT really is the question

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One of the most burning questions in the ongoing Fly Africa saga is just how many people have received any refunds for the tickets they paid for flights which did not operate as a result of regulatory

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One of the most burning questions in the ongoing Fly Africa saga is just how many people have received any refunds for the tickets they paid for flights which did not operate as a result of regulatory directives from both Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s Civil Aviation Authorities.

The airline maintains that it may take 30 to 40 days to send money back which took them seconds to take off those passengers who did not see the writing on the wall and still made bookings and payments when the airline was effectively grounded. It is obvious from comments on Fly Africa’s Facebook page that people trusted the statements made by the airline’s CEO and Corporate Communications Department that flights would resume, a promise not kept as the dates kept pushing ever further ahead into November and now stand on November 18, a date which will be very closely watched.

The question next is what did the airline’s top brass know and when did they know it. This may have to be tested should Zimbabwe institute a Commission of Enquiry as a result of the massive outcry of their people who feel they have been had when they paid for their tickets.

Largely as a result of such public pressure has Fly Africa now launched an online refund application but again lacks concrete information how fast money would be returned, as the initially mentioned 30 to 40 days are simply not acceptable by any standards.

Start quote:

14 hrs · New Online Refund Application apologises profusely for the disruption and inconvenience caused to passengers, their families, and loyal customers. This is a difficult period for and we appreciate your understanding while we do everything in our power to operations as speedily as possible.

We acknowledge that the passenger refund process for cancelled flights is time-consuming and we thank you for your patience as we work on improving these challenges. would like to assure all passengers that cancelled bookings will be refunded for flights during this period.
To improve the refund application process, now provides passengers with an online refund application form, to submit a refund request in addition to our existing Call Centre and email services. will continue to work tirelessly to achieve fully operational services and we remain committed to our loyal passengers.

What steps to take for passengers?
In order to ensure quick and accurate processing of refunds, we kindly ask passengers to submit only one refund application through one of the three options below:

New Online Refund Application: Visit the ‘Contact flyafrica’ page on our website, or visit this link Call Centre: To call sales representative please use the following number: +27 10 100 3540, +263 86 770 00312 or +264 83 330 0370 email: To submit a refund request via email please use the following address: [email protected]

End quote

Meanwhile are more complaints pouring in like the one from Charlie Hand, who leaves no doubt how livid he is over the fate of his family members aged in their 80’s. He suggests that the airline made the outrageous demand for a cancellation fee, questioning the sanity of those at Fly Africa, clearly indifferent to the plight of their passengers, fobbing them off with crafted statements which are not worth the paper they are written on when they talk of deep regrets and such.

Charlie Hand

Yesterday at 4:39pm

FLY AFRICA – Yes you had the support in offering lower prices and a fair service however this has all come to a crashing end. I have booked family in their 80’s to fly JHB HRE for a month on the 26th November returning a month later. They are not from JHB and connecting from elsewhere so I have to arrange alternative flights for them if I wait for Flyafrica I will not be able to get competitive rates if a flight at all.Flyafrica will not refund me and have had the audacity to advise that I will also be hit with a cancellation fee. This has not been of my making so why do I have to pay the fee for poor service delivery absoluty amazing. The Zim staff taking the brunt of the complaints but in reality incapable of offering a solution. Emails sent no response what next.? If Mr Manns would like to email me he is welcome to.

In the same comment column did then one Jonathan Rowland equally voice his complaints, repeating what has apparently become the benchmark standard when trying to get either answers or money out of Fly Africa:

Jonathan Rowland

Yesterday at 9:38am

You continue to inform your customers that you are dealing with the authorities and processing refunds in respect of flights cancelled due to the legal issues being addressed with the Zimbabwean government. However you continue failing to effect such refunds, answer phone calls, or respond to emails. In my case, I also paid the additional insurances for refunds to be effected in the event of your airline not flying as scheduled. Such refunds have not bee effected. Am I to presume that in addition to your alleged fraud situation in Zimbabwe, you are also collecting insurance against flights not conducted but failing to pay such refunds to your clients?

Tendai Rumbie too shows his disgust over the treatment of his mother when he posted:

Tendai Mhuka Rumbie What is the point really of posting these updates as if you will refund us, we had a second horrible encounter with you- where my mother’s flight was cancelled and upon requesting her refund you told her that you didnt have any money; and would refund her via ECOCASH when you do get the money. I still haven’t received my refund for the JHB-HRE flight cancelled on the 1st of Nov!

An all too common complaint refers to phones not being answered or emails not getting a response, raising the question if the Fly Africa staff has withdrawn into their ‘Wagenburg’ and buttoned down the hatches, shutting themselves in while shutting their disappointed, anxious and angry passengers out?

Perhaps Fly Africa can respond to such questions, though there is little hope if passengers with paid tickets, legally entitled to refunds and responses, cannot get satisfactory answers. After all were questions by this correspondent labelled as accusations while denying the situation one the ground with reality showing a different picture that day already.

Will the airline resume services or not is on everyone’s mind and the longer this takes the more will potential passengers vote with their feet as they move to other airlines, even at higher fares, just to be sure they will fly on the date they are booked and not see their money stuck in a company which has now a huge credibility problem.

In the aviation circles in Zimbabwe and Namibia are speculations growing louder about the future of Fly Africa and if the airline will be able to come back from this and resume operations? As said before, only time can tell how this pans out for them. One writing however is on the wall, that should the airline fail to resume operations and passengers not get their money back, either promptly or within the outrageous timeframe the airline has given them, that an avalanche of law suits will await them besides the Zimbabwe authorities taking a hard look what their behaviour since the 28th of October constitutes and if an investigation file needs to be opened. Questions galore versus zero Answers.

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About the author


Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.