Samoa Airways cancellations frustrates passengers

Frustration is growing among Samoa Airways passengers affected by the cancellation of at least eight flights to Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, starting Tuesday.

The cancellations were made as a “desperate” Samoa Airways attempts to finalize the arrangements to lease a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation from Malindo Air to continue their operations.

The lease on the lone aircraft they had used since November 2017 had expired with the aircraft and crew returned to Italy on Sunday.

But this has left hundreds of frustrated passengers in limbo.

Among them is a family of three, who flew into Samoa for a funeral. Family member, Cynthia, told the Samoa Observer they have been asked to pay an extra $1,000 to re-schedule their flights.

She said the cancellation has affected his uncle's work.

"It’s affected my uncle real bad, work wise. He’s supposed to go back on Thursday but they have only given him two options, to refund or go on Saturday but my uncle's supposed to be back at work on Friday," she said.

Asked if they have been offered compensation, she said: "No vouchers, no accommodation if they were to stay at a hotel. On a very short notice, we’ve got to pay extra $1,000 for the fare. We came for a funeral and now we’ve got to go look for some money to pay the extra to go back home.

"It’s not fair because it’s not our fault, it’s the airline’s fault. I think the service is so bad, really bad; bad with the communication."

Similar concerns about communications were raised by an elderly couple, who were due to fly in from Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday.

They were told on Sunday morning that their flight would be delayed.

Sharing their concerns through their granddaughter "Luisa", they said they received a notification about their delayed flight, leaving a contact number and email for further information.

"They got worried and tried to contact to find out what time their delayed flight will be, with no success in reaching them via email and phone, they had no choice but to wait.

“ Later on that night they got emailed two Air New Zealand tickets for Tuesday morning leaving Auckland at 8:45am.”

Although they were relieved, they felt that they should have been given the choice to re-book for another day.

Luisa said what has happened has exposed the Airline’s inability to plan properly.

"I feel that Samoa Airways should not have accepted any bookings since they knew their lease would be coming to an end that day.”

Another couple this newspaper caught up with was given the choice of taking a later Samoa Airways flight or an earlier one with Air New Zealand, with no additional costs.

"The airfare stays the same but the only thing is the change in dates and times. They called us and asked if we wanted to put our flight earlier on Wednesday but with Air New Zealand and my wife said no we’ll take the later Samoa Airways flight because were not exactly in a rush," said Catherine.

"But they also advised us that we should be at the airport 3 hours ahead of the flight time on Friday."

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