How Mango Airlines Ruined My Weekend

[Hi Reader, if you’re not in the mood for a long-winded moan, please do yourself and skip over to the next blog]

I don’t use my blog as a platform to complain about services, at least not often at all.   But this past weekend I received such an injustice from Mango, and to make it worse, their “handling of the situation” has been so dismal, I’m actually shocked.  The details below will tell you what happened, but I feel that I need to explain why I’m blogging about this.

After trying to resolve the issue offline by telephone on Friday, and again via email this morning, I’ve had no joy from Mango whatsoever.  Because truly, outside of one response late on Friday night from the so-called Corporate Affairs and Communication guy, and a tweet on Sunday, nothing has been done.  And if they’re not in fact ignoring my complaint but running around internally trying to figure out what to do with me, it’s their fault for not keeping me in the loop or managing my expectations.  From my perspective, nothing has happened in the way of fixing things.

More importantly, I’ve had no sympathy for them screwing up my booking, no apology for them blaming me and saying it was something I did to make the error, and now not even a reply to the mail Hein requested from me.

It boils down to two things that I’m upset about:

  1. I miss my mom.  I was really looking forward to seeing her.  I (tried to) book her flight in for Tam’s baby shower, someone my mother adores and is very close to
  2. I’ve been blamed for something that was not my fault

This is what I sent to the Corporate Affairs and Communication person, Hein, via email this morning, after being asked to give a detailed breakdown of what happened:

Morning Hein,

Thank you for your responses on Facebook to my situation:

  1. I booked a ticket online for my mom
  2. I selected the Saturday flight at 13:00 for R883 under my mother’s name, G*****h R**s
  3. I then opted to pay via SID payment
  4. The SID page loaded, accepted my banking details and asked me to confirm payment
  5. Once I confirmed, the page reloaded with a system error saying there was a problem with the booking
  6. Immediately I received an SMS from FNB saying the payment had gone through regardless
  7. I waited a few minutes to see if a confirmation would go through from Mango
  8. After not receiving the usual email confirmation with details I phoned the call centre
  9. Nolisiwe tried to assist me, but at the same time insisted I had made a mistake on the website
    1. On this note, I book flights online all the time, I have a career in digital and am very internet savvy – I would have known if I’d cancelled the booking (by mistake or not) but even if I had, I would have had a cancellation message, not an error message in red font)
    2. Nolisiwe would not accept that the fault had been on the website, she was convinced it was me and as such, refused to assist beyond telling me in order for my mom to fly on Saturday, I had to repay the fee and rebook once again
  10. Nolisiwe then requested I send her proof of payment, which I did immediately
  11. She then called back to say that although she could see my payment went through, the flight could not be confirmed unless I paid again
  12. I asked about a refund and she then said it would take up to 14 working days
  13. I explained that I did not just have another R883 to pay again, I budgeted for the flight in the first place
  14. I requested to speak to the manager and was put on hold for over 15 minutes, and then told the manager would call me back as no one could find him/her
    1. Needless to say, I am still waiting for the phone call

My major gripes are as follows:

  1. I know I did not make a mistake on my side. If I had, I would’ve received a cancellation notice on the website, not an error in red font
  2. Mango agrees that they received my money, they do not dispute this (please see attached proof of payment). Regardless, Mango staff were completely inflexible in terms of allowing my mother to fly, despite receiving my money
  3. The fact that I had to miss out a weekend with my mom is bad enough, but the reason she was flying up here in the first place was for a very special family friend’s baby shower, which she obviously missed out on. This would have been an opportunity for her to reunite with loved ones that she has not seen in ages. The disappointment and sadness cannot be explained. Mango staff were indifferent and showed not one iota of compassion around this
  4. Your social media platforms are simply ineffective. I received your reply late on Friday night, and on Twitter someone only responded late on Sunday night. I would’ve appreciated acknowledgement, at the very least, on Friday afternoon. I understand there must be processes in place which limit your social media team responding with solutions, but they could have acknowledged my predicament. It would have gone a long way in terms of online perception.

After explaining my situation in detail now, I’m really looking forward to your reply. To be clear, I am not after a freebie. I do not wish for anything other than confirmation that my web booking experience will be taken seriously and not just brushed under the carpet. I would obviously also appreciate a refund in the form of a ticket so that my mom and I can reschedule her visit. I have not seen her in over 4 months, which is a very long time for us and I miss her terribly.

Thanks in advance,


That was sent this morning at 10:17 am.  It is now 14:11 pm and I’ve yet to receive a reply.  What was the point of making contact with me?

These are the screenshots of the correspondence from Mango so far:


And then on Sunday, I received this tweet, to which I replied but have seen nothing in return since:



So you tell me, do you really think Mango Airlines is worthwhile giving another chance?  I’ve heard so many horror stories since taking this public, I’m not sure I’ll ever try use them again.  Your opinions and stories would be appreciated.


[Update – Monday at 15:55]

I’ve received so many tweets, Facebook comments and emails about this post.  People are being shafted left, right and center and the perception out there is severely negative.  More importantly for Mango, I received these a few tweets that really stood out, which directly affect Mango’s business going forward:

11 22


[Update – Monday at 17:15]:

Aside from 3 missed calls from an 087 number while I was in a 30 minute meeting, I’ve received nothing official in terms of a response from Mango.  I’ve even resent the email from this morning from another account, in case it could be a mailing issue and Mango’s response possibly got lost.  I’m trying to give this brand the benefit of the doubt, and I’m really routing that they come right and redeem themselves.  However, hundreds of shares, tweets and comments later – it seems my online audience has more time and inclination to comment on this issue than the brand itself.


[Update – Wednesday at 13:15]:

I’ve still not received an apology or a solution, really.  I did get 2 phone calls (1 from Nolisiwe, the original call center agent) who was very civil yet impersonal to tell me I’d be contacted by the refunds department, and then the refunds department itself who then told me I would get a refund, but only once I furnish Mango with a copy of my ID and a bank statement.  But wait for it, my usual digital bank statement won’t do – I need to go into a branch and get a printed out statement.  Sigh.

I also received an email from Hein, not acknowledging anything in my email but escalating my issues to other people.  See screenshots below:




[Update – Wednesday 10th April at 15:57]:


Mango has also apologised for the run around, the system error and the general frustrations I’ve had since Saturday.  They were sincere and I’ve decided to forgive them.  I really looking forward to seeing my mom after all this drama, it feels like it will be even more special.

[Update – Thursday 11th April at 05:59]:

This whole drama is over with.  Cecil has rebooked my mother’s flight and she’ll be here on Saturday morning.  I am beyond excited.




  1. Tania says:

    I would be very angry too Sheena and I hope they make restitution somehow.

    I’ve given up on using SID payments as it either hangs or times out, I’m back to good old EFT or credit cards.

  2. ExMi says:

    It’s really sad when things like this happen.

    It’s even sadder that organisations like Mango have social media presences, but instead they choose to ignore their customer’s valid complaints. It seems like a total waste of their money (having someone manage their accounts) and ours (attempting to use their services)and no one gets anything except disappointment.

    I’m super-bummed your mom didn’t make it to my baby shower. In fact, I had a cry about it when I got home on Saturday afternoon. I’ve missed her.

  3. cat@jugglingact says:

    Oh gosh, no Mango! Not acceptable. It is something that can not be made better at all.

    Ai, yes and I also gave up on SID payments – I had a bugger up too so back to the good old credit cards

  4. Jon says:

    A few things in this whole story that really get my back up:
    – Call centre agents who make assumptions of their clients and aren’t open minded enough to accept the issue may lie with the Mango website and booking process.
    – Mango not adequately accounting for exceptions that may occur in the booking process; they really should have been able to handle this more elegantly
    – Mango not providing the right tools to their customer facing staff to fix issues.
    – How the above can influence not only a customer’s experience, but inevitably Mango’s brand too.
    – Lack of sincerity in dealing with the issue.

    Not cool Mango.

  5. Gina says:

    Absolutely shocking. The call centre agent needs a lesson in customer service. For example ‘the customer is ALWAYS right’ especially if they acknowledge that they received your payment

    Bad form Mango, bad form!

  6. xdoomx says:

    Firstly, I understand your point of view, but take a moment to see theirs as well.
    Their automated system has no record of your booking, ie. the name is not on the passenger list. Quickest and easiest way to get a seat would be to book again and deal with the potential double charge afterwards. Banks are pretty good with this kind of thing.
    That said, your problem is that you say you didn’t have the funds to cover a 2nd booking. Did your SID transaction have a reference? These are supposed to be INSTANT and should reflect in a banking account straight away, but I doubt an agent will have access to that.
    If you logged into internet banking did it show the deduction?

  7. Cheryl says:

    I’m SO GLAD you tackled this issue. I’ve never dealt with Mango before, but customer service in general is heading out the back door and nobody cares to address it.

    In this past month only, I’ve been at war with Woolworths (for handing an account over that was closed last year; they failed to close it in store) and Absa, who handed me over for an account in arrears, even though the lovely and helpful lady at my branch confirmed my account is paid and up to date. No late payments whatsoever.

    Needless to say despite many many calls and mails later, I’m still waiting for the official letters stating my accounts are up to date, with no outstanding balances.

    For nearly 4 months, I had the same problem with a Vodacom payment, which I tweeted about on a regular (and nagging-like) basis. After 4 months of calling in every single day, and numerous emails and tweets and DM’s I finally sorted it out and received the necessary documentation.

    So, to round up, I cannot take out a new cell phone contract (or any other major purchases) because 3 huge and well known companies handed my accounts over for no legal reason that I can think of. I pride myself on managing my accounts and payments with the utmost importance.

    *Okay, vent now officially over.*
    I feel a little bit better now, thanks.

  8. Andre says:

    The bastards.
    It’s companies that treat customers like this, that incite that kind of “road-rage” frustration venting when you want to scream over the phone at their useless asses.

  9. Emanuella says:

    Shocking Disgusting Horrible Service delivery is pathetic then people complain about unemployment if they have they jobs they act like they doing you a big favour

  10. Martin Slabbert-Capper says:

    Hey Sheena, I tweeted a link to your page just now, and almost immediately received a reply from @FlyMangoSA that they are busy resolving your matter. I hope it does get resolved quickly. Good luck. Please keep us posted.

  11. Dee says:

    Reading your story (via Cath Jenkin) I was reminded of my own issue with Mango just over a year ago. It is quite similar to your story.

    Whitey (I’m sure it’s the same guy) was called in to assure me that all wrongs would be made right. Nothing was really done to correct the mistake on their part and at the end of the day I had to put through the transaction again, but not after having to call my bank to do a reversal.

    I will never ever fly Mango again.

  12. Nicole says:

    Just like to say that my friend Roy went to Lanseria airport to book a flight for his two staff back to Durban and he used his work business card, which the card machine showed declined, so he was requested to use another card, which he did, his personal bank card. Roy was at the packaging machine show for another few days in JHB and when he returned home and went into the internet and checked both banks and they deducted the amount of over R2000.00 off both accounts. He was told he had to send through to refunds a copy of his ID document as well a copy of both banks statements showing the amounts were deducted. He sent these through and he was told 7 – 14 days will be the wait for the refund.

    It was 21 days and I called the refund office and the lady(wont mention names) said “sorry for any inconvenience but the bank statement must be a stamped statement from the bank” I said to her (I was sending the emails because Roy is a busy man) that she waited for me to ask her why the money was not refunded before she told him to send another statement.

    I wonder how many people have to wait for a refund, which I am thinking how much interest is this accumulating if Mango are sitting with a number of “waiting refund processes”.

    Has this happened to anyone else?

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