SAUDI AIRLINES’ V-CLASS TICKET SCAM
DON’T PAY THE HARAAM, FRAUDULENT ‘UPGRADING’ DEMAND
Saudi Airlines and all other airlines have a policy of exploitation for fleecing money from those who travel for Hajj and Umrah. Fares charged for Umrah and Hajj are blatant exploitation and haraam. A person travelling on the very same plane to Jeddah pays substantially less – thousands of rands less – than a passenger who intends to go for Hajj or Umrah. The same plane, same journey and the same plane facilities, but the intention of the passenger has been made the determinant for the exploitation. If the intention of the passenger travelling to Jeddah is business, touring, gambling and haraam merrymaking, the ticket costs thousands of rands less. But if the niyyat is Ibaadat – Umrah or Hajj – the price is increased by a few thousand rands. This attitude is a clear reflection of the kufr lurking in the hearts of these vile people operating the airlines.
A couple of months ago, a brother in Cape Town paid R35,000 for V-Class tickets. When he was ready for the journey, he was informed to ‘upgrade’ the tickets by paying many thousands of rands extra for the tickets of his family. Since he could not afford the extra, he requested a refund, but was refused. Both the travel agent who sold him the tickets and Saudi Airlines refused, and intransigently and fraudulently maintained that the tickets are non-refundable. But when they sold the tickets, they did not inform the family that they could not travel for Umrah with V-Class haraam tickets.
At the end of his tether, the brother wrote to The Majlis. We issued a pamphlet on this scam. See here. A kind lawyer who read the pamphlet promised to take up the matter and deal with the operators of the scam. However, Saudi Airlines and the travel agents, anticipating legal action, validated the tickets without demanding the earlier several thousands of rands for the haraam, unjustified ‘upgrading’ of the tickets.
Just a few days ago, a similar case surfaced in Gauteng where the travel agent sold a family V-Class tickets, then refused the family to travel for Umrah with these tickets. Saudi Airlines demanded that the tickets be upgraded. If not, the family will be the loser of about R40,000. After the brother was shunted around between the travel agent and Saudi Airlines with no satisfactory result, he handed the matter to an attorney who wrote to the travel agent threatening:
“It is our instruction that you either confirm that our Clients will depart as scheduled for the 12th January 2014 or that a full refund will be given to our Client by no later than 2nd January 2014. Failing which we will have no alternative but to approach the High Court with an Urgent Application.”
The travel agent after consulting with Saudi Airlines, swiftly responded: “Dear Sir, I have just received the approval to lift the restrictions in V class. Your passengers may travel as is. Sorry for the inconvenience to the passengers.”
There may be many others who have been conned into buying V-Class tickets, then at the last moment before departure, were fleeced of many thousands of rands by having to pay for the haraam fraudulent upgrading. Those who are victims of this V-Class scam, should not pay the demanded ‘upgrading’ charges. They should quickly see an attorney.
12 Rabiul Awwal 1435 (14 January 2014)
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