I sit here in a middle seat at the back of an SAA flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg and curse their seating policy. They have gone the way of many airlines these days and started charging for seat assignments. This leaves SAA travelers and Mango clients with 3 options.
1. Wing it and see what happens at the airport. I tested this theory to see how things worked out on this recent trip and SAA reinforced that this is not a great plan. We arrived at the airport early but the only seats left were middle seats so not only was I in a middle seat but everyone in our group was spread over the plane in middle seats. These flights are only 2 hours so this is not the end of the world but it is certainly annoying. Mango strives not to have ‘annoying’ be part of the way you describe any of our experiences and this is challenging given the remote areas of Africa that we operate in.
2. At 24 hours before departure you can check in on line and get your seat assignment. This might work ok for local travelers who are coming from their home and have a computer but this poses a real challenge to an international traveler. Your time as a traveler should be spent having dinner, shopping and exploring the city, whether Johannesburg or Cape Town, rather than dedicating valuable time looking for a business center at the perfect time to get your seat assignment. This is not happening and unrealistic.
3. Sadly, the two above options are poor enough that it is our recommendation that our guests surrender to the rules and buy your seat assignments at the time of ticketing.
After suffering through these options, we have landed on a new policy in an attempt to keep our level of service where it should be. Mango will automatically purchase your seat assignments on regional African flights when we issue tickets for our clients. The cost of each segment can range from $12-25 per person per flight. This cost is not part of the flight quote that we have given you. This is an additional charge.
PLEASE NOTE: We will automatically purchase your seats for you on the same credit card you use to ticket the flights with unless we are instructed by you otherwise.
Thank you for your understanding and you are welcome.