Jamali members Mariechan Luiters and Jacqui Carpede say their lives flashed before their eyes when the plane they were flying in had problems mid-air.
The songbirds said they thought the aircraft was about to burst into flames when they were travelling from a gig in Upington, Northern Cape, to Joburg last Sunday.
As a result, they missed out on income from the gig in Joburg.
They claim that upon boarding the SA Airlink flight they caught a whiff of something toxic, and that the back of the plane filled up with smoke once in the air.
"After our performance at the Kalahari festival in the Northern Cape, we boarded SA Airlink flight 8767 to come back to Joburg. The same plane was delayed from Joburg, which caused a slight inconvenience on our side... So we finally boarded the plane and as we walked to our seats, I picked up a toxic smell and I even asked the flight attended to please spray the aircraft," said Carpede.
She said she and Luiters were seated right at the back next to each other.
"The plane then took off and we were hardly 10 minutes in the sky when the cabin was filled with smoke and the toxic smell became worse. So Mariechan called out to the flight attendant and said there was smoke. Then the attendant told the pilot."
The pilot then turned back and landed in Upington once again.
CEO of the airline Rodger Foster said according to the report he received there was never any smoke in the cabin.
"There was an abnormal oil smell in the cabin. We did not make an emergency landing, but a precautionary one to investigate the cause of the smell. It's better to do this on land than in the air. We also do it because we hold the safety of our passengers in high regard," said Foster.
Carpede said: "The flight attendant was quite shaken herself. Her voice did not calm us down at all. She sounded like she was about to burst into tears."
She said no one from the airline bothered to tell them what was happening. "We had to keep going to the customer care counters and ask for an update. They then decided to give us a lousy R50 voucher to buy cool drinks. There were no offers for trauma counseling. Children on the plane were terrified. Even us as adults thought death was knocking at our door because we saw the choking smoke.
"There also wasn't a formal apology or nothing. Another flight was organised which took off four hours later," said Carpede.
Foster said the voucher was not meant as compensation but refreshments for inconvenience to passengers.
"We only offer trauma counselling when the matter is serious and in this regard it was not as serious. This was unusual for our airline. We do apologise for the inconvenience caused to the musicians and we are open to discuss the situation with them. Because they lost out on revenue we can sit down and talk to them on how best we can assist. We value our customers," he said.
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Jamali says 'We thought we'd crash and die' - SA Airlink flight toxic smell