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For R750 extra, passengers can book the middle seat on FlySafair

4 June 2020 1:18 PM
Tags:
FlySafair
Air travel
airlines
COVID-19
lockdownsouthafrica

FlySafair CMO Kirby Gordon says research shows keeping a seat open or 'neutralised' does not stop the spread of Covid-19.

CMO and executive head at FlySafair, Kirby Gordon talks to Kieno Kammies about how they have weathered the Covid-19 lockdown storm.

He says so far they have been able to stave off retrenchments and is excited that from Monday business travellers can fly again.

There are route limitations which will see flights only between Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.

In the low-cost game, we are a highly commoditised product....we are price takers in the market so the prices we achieve are completely a factor of supply and demand in the market.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

The reality for quite a while will be an oversupply and a weak demand, he says.

So from a South African consumer perspective, it should be good for a while and see fairily reasonable fairs for quite a while until we get back to where we were in terms of supply.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

Bookings have been open for just two-and-a-half days so far which is not a long time given the usual short local booking curve, he says,

But it looks good. We are selling tickets, and there are a lot of questions.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

An empty middle seat or not? Many people say they do not want to sit next to another passenger on a flight due to Covid-19 but Gordon says research shows this is not a valid concern and will not stop the spread of the virus.

A lot of research has been done to say that social distancing on an aircraft by maintaining an empty seat, or a 'neutralised' seat is the term they like to use, actually doesn't make a significant difference in combatting the spread of Covid-19.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

As long as other measures are in place, such as proper sanitation, face masks together with the sophisticated air filtration system on aircraft, you are not increasing risk by sitting next to another person, he explains.

There is no cap in the legislation for how many people can board an aircraft.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

He says the only limitation is a requirement to keep the back row open in case anyone falls ill during a flight.

But we recognise that there are consumers out there that are going to want that bit of space so we want to try and address that consumer wish or request.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

In normal circumstances, if a passenger wanted that space they would have to book two tickets or a business class ticket, he says.

Gordon says before Covid-19 hit, FlySafair had already been developing a product as an alternative to business class on their low-cost carrier.

It is a facility where you can book out the extra seat next to you. It comes at a fee because we have to recoup the cost of the seat that we forgo, a fee of R750. It could be for your own space and privacy or in these circumstances you could want it for distance.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

R750 to keep the gap...

It's R12.50 a cm, it's a bargain! It's a flat fee that will be applied regardless of anything else.

Kirby Gordon, CMO - FlySafair

If you compare that to a business class ticket it is pretty cheap at the price, he says.

Gordon says the carrier is implementing many more safety measures over and above the prescribed regulations to ensure absolute safety.

R20 levy?

Electrostatic spray treatments, foggers in between fights, antiviral sanitiser wipedown materials, hand sanitiser and mask as you board are some of the measures which are an added cost. FlySafair has, therefore, levied an R20 fee at the end of a flight.

Listen to the interview below:


4 June 2020 1:18 PM
Tags:
FlySafair
Air travel
airlines
COVID-19
lockdownsouthafrica

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