The director of Al Mujahideen Haj and Umrah Travel has confirmed that the tour group are in the process of trying to rearrange flights for several dozen of its mu’tamireen who missed flights out of Cape Town due to non-arrival of visas. Roughly 90 pilgrims scheduled to depart for umrah between the 24th and 28th of December were forced to miss their flights as a result, although Al Mujahideen has sought to absolve itself from blame be ensuring that all documents were submitted to the Royal Saudi Embassy on time. The tour operator has stressed that the delay was in the hands of the embassy itself.
18 of the delayed visas arrived on Wednesday morning, with the respective mu’tamireen finally jetting off for the Saudi Kingdom on Thursday morning.
Imam Isgak Cassiem, currently in Durban trying to re-book tickets with Al Mujahideen’s partner group, One Stop Travel and Tours, assured that the operator was going out of its way to ensure the remained of the pilgrims set off for the Kingdom as soon as possible.
“Today I am going to attempt to get everything else done, if we have the availability. As you know, at this time of the year the availability (of flights) is a challenge; it’s not that we are not doing anything,” Cassiem said.
Some clients have expressed dismay at the fact that they have been requested to fork out an additional R5000 as part of a no-show and ticket reissuance fee.
“We informed the airlines beforehand that we did not have the visas, but they have airline rules. Secondly, the tickets have to be reissued. We tried to get the same (flight) classes. We usually go for the lowest class so that we can give the best price to the client, but now that we have to reissue it we might not find the same class,” he explained.
Cassiem assured that he was trying to arrange a deal that would minimise the cost of ticket reissuance as much as possible.
He was also keen to stress that as per Al Mujahideen’s contract with its mu’tamireen, it could not be held liable for any delays on the part of the Saudi Embassy.
“Our contract states under a clause that we have, that the departure date is subject to the rules and conditions of the airlines, and also that we have the visas in time from the Saudi Embassy.”
“We are not trying to say to the people that this is a contract and we are enforcing, but we are trying to be compassionate to them and see what we can do where this is concern,” he declared.
The Royal Saudi Embassy in South Africa could not be reached for comment. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)