- In 2020, FlySafair started selling blocked middle seats as an optional extra amid the pandemic.
- It has now built that into a new business-class offering: pay for a ticket with the usual bells and whistles such as unlimited changes and the seat next to you is automatically blocked.
- The pricing is the same as buying a standard ticket plus an empty seat next to you, so the business perks effectively come free.
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Pay for a business class ticket on FlySafair, and you will now be spared from having anyone sit next to you, automatically.
The airline started to offer the option of buying a blocked middle seat in mid-2020, as it prepared to return to flying after the first hard lockdown. It remains open to anyone on any of its fare classes; pay R750, and the middle seat next to you will be kept empty.
Now that is built into a "business" class ticket, along with all the usual perks corporations love: unlimited free changes to tickets, full refunds, priority boarding, and lots of luggage.
The seats remain the same, though, with no actual business class area on FlySafair planes.
On all the routes and flights checked by Business Insider South Africa, business class tickets come at a R750 premium over standard seats, which are R200 more expensive than "lite" tickets.
The R200 extra for a standard ticket buys one checked bag priority boarding, and two free changes to tickets. The further R750 to bump up to business comes with a second piece of checked luggage, unlimited changes to tickets, no cancellation fee, and a reserved seat – plus the empty middle seat.
Business tickets will also come with a food allowance, when eating on planes during domestic flights is unbanned.
Airlines around the world have warned investors to expect reduced demand for their services and emptier-than-usual planes as the pandemic drags on. Some believe business travellers will return faster, and in greater proportion, than will the price-sensitive leisure flyers to which budget airlines largely cater.
(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)