Q uestion: I would love to have your help with getting a refund on a one-way ticket I purchased from South African Airlines. This was for a flight from Lusaka to Cape Town, with a connecting stop in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was part of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit my sister living in Lusaka.
When my flight from Lusaka arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, I was forced to buy a new ticket to continue on to Cape Town. This was required because I could not provide the credit card I used to purchase the original ticket, which South African Airlines uses for identification. (I always travel with a different card, which has no fee on international transactions.)
The airline would not accept my passport, driver’s license, or other credit card as valid identification. However, they did accept my other credit card to purchase a new ticket.
After two months of emails, meetings and phone calls with customer service and refund departments in Cape Town and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I received a partial refund of the taxes on the original ticket. I know life isn’t fair, yet I feel I should be refunded one of the two tickets I purchased. I only flew once; I paid twice! —
Jennifer Alpaugh, Pacifica, Calif.
Answer: You’re right; life isn’t fair. But you still shouldn’t have to pay twice for the same ticket. The South African Airways site is clear about its policy: If you’re flying with an electronic ticket, “all you have to do is present an I.D. document and credit card (for authentication purposes) to the check-in agent and you will be issued with the normal boarding pass.”