Home » News » Seventeen stranded Flemings in South Africa will fly back to our country this week: “Everyone will be home by Friday at the latest”

Seventeen stranded Flemings in South Africa will fly back to our country this week: “Everyone will be home by Friday at the latest”

Seventeen Flemish travelers are currently stranded in South Africa after their flight home from Namibia was canceled due to a strike. The travelers were told to fly to South Africa to catch a flight back to Europe, but once they arrived, they were left without any assistance. One of the stranded travelers shared his story, expressing frustration at the lack of communication and support from the travel agency, De Blauwe Vogel. nonetheless, the agency has now announced that the Flemings will be able to fly home by Friday at the latest. This is not the preceding De Blauwe Vogel has faced criticism, as they were previously accused of neglecting passenger safety during a cruise amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UpdateSeventeen Flemish travelers are currently stuck in South Africa after spending two weeks in Namibia on a safari organized by the De Blauwe Vogel travel agency in Sint-Truiden. Last weekend, the Flemish people were supposed to fly back home, but their flight was canceled due to a strike. The travelers were then sent to South Africa to catch a flight, but once arrived they were left to fend for themselves. Tom Coessens, one of the stranded travelers, told his story this morning at HLN LIVE. De Blauwe Vogel has meanwhile announced that the Flemings can fly home by Friday at the latest.

After a two-week safari in Namibia, organized by travel agency De Blauwe Vogel in Sint-Truiden, the seventeen travelers should have flown normally from the Namibian capital Windhoek to Frankfurt last Saturday. “But at the airport we were told that the flight had been cancelled,” says Tom Coessens. The airlines Lufthansa and Qatar Airways reportedly canceled their flights due to a conflict with ground staff in Windhoek.

The Flemings tried to contact De Blauwe Vogel several times, but the travel agency can only be reached during office hours – and not at the weekend. “Our only point of contact was our local travel guide,” says Tom. On Saturday, the travelers were accommodated in a hotel in Windhoek. On Sunday, on the recommendation of their travel guide, they were sent to South Africa to take a flight to Europe from there. The group flew – at their own expense – to Johannesburg on a flight from the airline AirLink. But once it arrived, things went wrong.


“We arrived quite late at the airport, so we had to book a hotel on our own,” says Tom. “Now it’s Monday and we’re still stuck here,” he complains. The travelers say they received no information from De Blauwe Vogel.

According to Tom, the Flemish also include minors, people who urgently need medication and people who actually have to go to work. Travelers feel abandoned. “Such things can happen, but then you at least expect the travel agency to offer a solution,” says Tom. “The fact that we have to wait until 10 a.m. Monday, when office hours start, is hallucinatory for a travel agency.”

Lufthansa advised the Flemings to fly back on August 31, within ten days. But of course the travelers thought that was much too long. “That’s absurd, we almost have to laugh about it.”

Flemings at home by Friday at the latest

De Blauwe Vogel spoke in a first reaction of “a regrettable situation”. “Our goal is to get our customers, who are stranded along with 170 other passengers, home as quickly as possible. Of course, if it were up to us, that plane would have left on time. We are faced with unexpected events in our sector,” he said.

LOOK. CFO De Blauwe Vogel: “We probably should have communicated better to customers”

Meanwhile, the travel agency says it has found a solution. “The customers are all flown back via different routes. Some leave today and tomorrow, and the last arrive home Friday morning. The group of seventeen people will be split up over four to five flights,” reports Julian Comninos-Carlier, CFO of De Blauwe Vogel. Comninos-Carlier admits that the travel agency should have communicated more clearly. “But we didn’t immediately have a solution, so we couldn’t inform the customers about it. That’s why it took until today,” it sounds.

It is not the preceding that De Blauwe Vogel has been discredited. In May 2020, 78 Belgians jointly filed a complaint against the travel agency after four Belgian travelers had died of the corona virus on board two months earlier. a cruise through the Caribbean. “The organization impressed upon us that everything was safe, but they just played with our lives,” the travelers complained at the time.

LOOK. Belgians are filing a complaint against a travel agency after four corona deaths on board a cruise

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78 Belgians file a complaint against the travel agency after the death of four cruise passengers: “After the third ‘heart attack’ on board, we knew what time it was” (+)

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