KNYSNA NEWS - Passengers who do not wear their mask on FlySafair, have already resulted in non-complying passengers being met by the police on arrival at their destinations and being banned for life from FlySafair, which reintroduced its flights this week.
Though he did not divulge who and how many passengers had already been subjected to the ban, Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer for Safair Operations, issued a warning to passengers on 28 July, a day after FlySafair flights resumed from George Airport.
"Proper wearing of masks, among other requirements, is not an airline policy, it is national law," he explained. "Our cabin crew conduct checks and passengers not complying with a crew member are breaking the law."
Gordon also clarified the point that a passenger cannot expect an empty seat next to them unless they have paid R750 for it. His comments come at a time when travellers have expressed surprise and alarm at how full flights are.
In a TimesLive report on 13 July, Gordon stated that "very few, if any, airlines around the world are blocking out middle seats because it's not feasible", although many airlines - in the US for instance, including Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska, Frontier and Hawaiian Airlines – continue to block off seats in economy class to help ensure the safety of passengers, according to a recent USA Today report by Dawn Gilbertson. According to a CNBC report earlier this month, both United and American alert passengers when their planes start filling up and, when available, offer the chance to switch to another flight.
The best FlySafair could do, Gordon told TimesLive, was to "try and maintain distance for as long as possible by not allowing passengers to check into middle seats online before departure – unless they have specifically pre-booked these seats".
According to Gordon, all passengers are required to submit a health declaration before takeoff and this and other permits and documentation are checked by the port health authority in order to gain access to the terminal.
"FlySafair and other airlines operating at the moment are doing all in our power to meet, and exceed, safety regulations that have been put in place," said Gordon, but apart from the warnings to adhere to national laws or airport and health authority regulations, he stressed that the onus falls on passengers to stay safe by adhering to the rules.
• Knysna resident Elaine King was among the first to take a plane trip after the airlines resumed local travel and it was no picnic. Read her firsthand account of the experience, complete with survival guide here.
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