Ver Angola

Tourism

Travel agencies fight chaos after national suspension of flights

After Angola suspended flights with seven countries to prevent the spread of the new variant of covid-19, many citizens are trying to return or be compensated for flights already booked, wreaking havoc on travel agencies.

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"It's been very difficult, we've been receiving phone calls, we've been receiving threats, we've been trying to reach a compromise, explaining that it's not our fault, nor that of the companies, it's a situation that no one anticipated," reported Jessica Londa, from Ambassador Voyage , who spoke to Lusa at the Luanda International Fair (FILDA), where the company is present this year, despite the difficulties it has gone through.

"It has been very difficult this year, the travel sector was one of the most affected by the pandemic, we stayed at home for six months and only recently got back to work. We were trying to adapt, but with this new variant everything came back. to be complicated", vented the supervisor.

"There is a lot of confusion. We understand both sides, customers have their trips booked, they have their appointments, there are people who haven't seen their relatives for over a year, but also (we noticed) the airline side because no one was waiting," he said.

The agency has been trying to respond, but Jessica admits that it is not easy, not least because companies are not able to respond as quickly as they would like.

"We are trying to adapt, but I confess that it is not being easy for us to provide the most practical solution for customers, because we were also taken by surprise", said the responsible.
"Many customers want a full refund of their tickets to buy with airlines that can travel, but we are not able to do that for now," she continued, explaining that they are trying to sensitize customers to wait for the airlines to return to operation.

She admitted, however, that the inconvenience is great because "people have their plans", which the Omicron variant has now come to hamper.

Alarmed by the suspension of flights in several countries, including Angola, many passengers tried to anticipate trips or change their routes, making it even more difficult for agencies that do not know "if these routes will be maintained the next day or if they also close the border". Therefore, continued Jessica Londa, "it is better to wait for the news".

Among the most concerned are the Angolan customers who are in South Africa, a country with which the carrier TAAG has already suspended air connections, having carried out three repatriation flights this Tuesday, to Johannesburg, Maputo (Mozambique) and Windhoek ( Namibia).

As for the Portuguese, they seem to have little apprehension for the time being: "The flights have not closed yet, they are not suspended and I hope that doesn't happen because if they close to Lisbon, to Portugal, that will make our situation very complicated", explains the supervisor at Ambassador , concluding: "We are trying to manage".