FlySafair says the innovated a solution allows passengers the opportunity to block the centre seat for their own peace of mind. Picture: Supplied.
FlySafair says the innovated a solution allows passengers the opportunity to block the centre seat for their own peace of mind. Picture: Supplied.

FlySafair responds after Twitter frenzy over R750 blocking fee

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jun 3, 2020

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FlySafair, which will resume a reduced service from June 15, is offering passengers the option of a “blocking” out a seat for an additional R750. 

However, Twitter users were not happy, claiming the company should have physical distancing measures on planes without them having to pay extra. 

User @624Money tweeted: “FlySafair is just trying to pay for those empty seats at our expense nothing more #R750” (sic).

User @n_mhobo2 tweeted: “Why should a customer pay R750 to block the seat next to them? Isn’t the airline supposed to follow the Covid19 protocol and implement social distancing without having customers paying?”(sic). 

Another user @Re_Royaletweeted: “@FlySafair Making people pay for social distancing measures during a pandemic is the most capitalistic behaviour. I find this so ridiculous.” (sic). 

Some users believed that the price was justified. 

User @mubiru_T tweeted “If you want @FlySafair to abide by the #LockdownLevel3 #SocialDistancing rules, you need to assist them by paying R750. Think of it as #COVID19 #insurance policy. It’s clear that @PresidencyZA rules that we ALL should follow don’t apply to such @ProudlySA companies,” (sic).

Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair said that despite the International Air Transport Association (IATA) not supporting mandating social distancing measures that would leave "middle seats" empty, the airline wanted to allow travellers the option to block the centre seat for their own peace of mind. 

He said: "At FlySafair we recognise that people might want the option, so we innovated a solution that would allow them the opportunity to block the centre seat for their own peace of mind.

"The other way to achieve this would be to book two seats and pay two full fares, so this is much cheaper than doing that. 

"As a policy, we will allocate all window and aisle seats first, except where families have specifically reserved seats together. Only then will we start to allocate middle seats where aircraft are full enough. We are the only airline in SA where you have the option to secure social distance for your peace of mind," he explained. 

FlySafair, which previously operated 25% of the seating capacity in the domestic market, is planning to operate on the following routes: Johannesburg to Cape Town, Johannesburg to Durban, and Cape Town to Durban.  

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