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Bonang Matheba is trending on Twitter once again today, and that’s largely thanks to SAA.
The airline, in a month that has seen viral customer care gaffes from others in the industry, responded to a tweet from the 29-year-old socialite. And it included a fair amount of cheek.
Bonang, commenting on the quality of the food offered on SAA flights (while also responding to a tweet from SA DJ Ph Madubela), received this gem of a reply from the airline’s customer care account.
— FlySAA Care (@flysaa_care) April 18, 2017
The socialite didn’t take kindly to those 70 characters.
“Better response would’ve been-“Sorry. How can we improve our customer service”. Trash airline,” she tweets at the airline’s account.
— Bonang B* Matheba (@bonang_m) April 18, 2017
It didn’t take long for @flysaa_care to appear in abundance on South African’s Twitter timelines, as more South Africans added their views.
SAA’s account replied to Bonang Mathemba’s critique of its food with more sass than Twitter could handle
But feelings towards the airline’s arguably edgy reply and the star’s initial tweet were mixed.
Some feel that the socialite should just “be cool”.
— Kylo (@jabullinho) April 18, 2017
Had Bonang addressed her issue differently she would have got a different response. Speak how you would like to be spoken to. Respectfully pic.twitter.com/Y3TTQqC5IF
— Bongekile (@Bongeh_M) April 19, 2017
“Hands off Bonang” was another rhetoric covering a number of tweets, made complete with Bathabile Dlamini memes.
Okay guys you always complain about how burnt Nandos food is, how dry Romans pizza was … Bonang is also human let her be pic.twitter.com/93Op6GhmBm
— IG. HashtagMmashiane (@OmacMmash) April 19, 2017
So Bonang shouldn’t complain, for a service SHE paid for?
— Mpumelelo (@MpumzaNgwenya) April 19, 2017
Bonang sitting 1st class on her flight, pouring a glass of Dom Perignon. I love her! Not shy about her success.
So many are afraid of it!
— Zweli Ndhlovu (@JustZweli) April 17, 2017
I don’t see what’s so snobbish about Bonang complaining about SAA food🤷🏽♀️ flights are expensive, one must get their money’s worth pic.twitter.com/ubB00dFDfG
— let’s be frank🎀 (@stretchmarkjane) April 19, 2017
Others lauded SAA’s reply, largely for its comedic value.
It serves Bonang right. Waphapha this girl. “The World Is Not Yours”
SAA Basically shut her down and she was expecting an apology 😂SORRY pic.twitter.com/lfoCI2pryP
— Mr Twittar (@EraBaloyi) April 19, 2017
— Masakhane Chilundu (@MasakhaneC) April 19, 2017
— Jonathan Killow (@Jonathankillow) April 19, 2017
Finally, some pointed the finger at the SAA reply itself, suggesting that the airline should have “handled her complaint better as a paying customer”.
But hate aside, Bonang Mafeba had every right to complain about those meals. SAA should’ve handled her complaint better as a paying Customer
— Akani Mangena (@Ruraltarian) April 19, 2017
Did SAA do anything wrong?
With the likes of United Airlines in the US highlighting the questionable response that some airlines, and indeed companies, have towards customers or potential patrons, this probably wasn’t the best way to handle criticism.
At the same time though, it does give South Africa something other than politics to talk about on Twitter for a bit.
“Bonang” remains among South Africa’s most spoken about topics on the social network at the time of writing, just behind SA finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s press conference (#treasury) which took place Wednesday morning.