'6% price increase only accounts for inflation': FlySafair responds to backlash

23 September 2020 - 07:05
FlySafair has received criticism online over its recent fare price increases.
FlySafair has received criticism online over its recent fare price increases.
Image: Facebook/FlySafair

Airline company FlySafair says flight prices have increased by only 6% to date, compared to prices in September last year.

It said the increase is not significant and only accounts for inflation.

FlySafair responded to TimesLIVE on Tuesday after online complaints about “price hikes” since the start of lockdown level 1. Travellers said prices are much higher than pre-lockdown and do not encourage local travel.

Twitter user Tashwill wrote: “FlySafair, I can't believe my ticket was expensive, though I'm happy I'm visiting my mom in Cape Town. Going from R899 to R3,481, including my return, is shocking.”

The company said contrary to social media complaints, flight prices are determined by the market and demand - and not FlySafair. It also denied it has increased its price points and maximum prices.

“What we do is establish about 20 price points from R499 or lower on some routes to about R3,000. The first few seats on a flight sell at the lowest price. What this means is that popular flights sell out of the cheap seats quickly and become incrementally more expensive,” said FlySafair.

The airline said it has noticed a trend with consumers booking flights much later than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. They attributed the complaints to this trend.

“We noted a number of complaints and when one looks closer at them, folk are trying to shop now, at the last minute, for flights during this Heritage weekend. It’s not realistic to expect bargain flight prices just before a peak period. Given that this is the first long weekend in level 1, we are seeing a lot of demand.

"We’ve always said you need to book in advance to get the best flight prices. It stands to reason that leaving it to the last minute will mean tickets will be more expensive,” the company said.

FlySafair said it is still recovering from the pandemic and is trying to fly as much as possible and put staff on full salaries.

“This coming weekend is a popular period and flight prices will be higher than in any other non-holiday period, just as fares are more expensive over Easter and Christmas,” said FlySafair.

These are some of the complaints raised on Twitter: