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UPDATED: Flights on sale for R1

By Staff Writer
FlySafair is offering flights from as little as R1 to celebrate their first birthday it said on its Facebook page today. The birthday deal involves the airline releasing 30 000 tickets that will be available exclusively on the FlySafair website. It’s unclear from the Facebook post whether the deal is available immediately or not but according to one report the tickets will only be available between 17:00 and 23:59 today (Tuesday 25 August 2015). However, on Twitter two customers have already boasted about the fact that they got two return tickets at R4 and eight return flights for R67.
 
The tickets are for travel between August 2015 and March 2016, however, the routes included in the deal are not readily available yet.
 
The deal has already garnered much interest with nosy deal seekers attempting to land on the airline’s website early, in the hope of bagging the deal now and jumping the queues. However, the FlySafair website does not appear to be able to cope with the increase in traffic.
 
When Justmoney tried to access the website, two different messages appeared at different times. One said that the web server is down and the website was offline, and the other that the website was temporarily unavailable.
 
The marketing manager was not available for comment at the time of publication, but a post on the company’s Facebook page said: “Our site hasn't crashed. The response has been overwhelming and our servers are being kept very busy. Please be patient and try again.” But a number of customers have already complained on its page about the lack of access to the site and clarity on the terms and conditions surrounding the deal. At the time of publishing, 167 comments were made about the deal on its Facebook page, most of them negative.
 
The deal
 
The deal was announced to the public via a Facebook post, as well as radio broadcasts. The post read: “TODAY IS THE DAY! In celebration of our first birthday, we are is giving you the chance to book a ticket to any of our destinations for just R1! That’s right, we said it, R1 including airport tax! Booking closes at midnight tonight, so make sure you act fast as seats are limited. Get to www.flysafair.co.za now to get your R1 ticket! T’s and C’s apply.”
 
As with all FlySafair airfares, the cost of luggage is not included in the ticket price, according to a report, and will therefore be an additional cost to the R1 for the ticket inclusive of airport tax. However, 7kg of hand luggage is included so if you are travelling light you could escape paying any baggage costs.
 
In a statement released by the airline, Kirby Gordon, vice president of sales and distribution, said: “In the short time that we’ve been in the air, we’ve seriously disrupted the low-cost carrier market and we wanted to go all out to celebrate our first birthday so that people can see that we’re serious about this business.
 
“We have always been committed to offering affordable air travel and giving more people the opportunity to experience South Africa. It certainly doesn’t get more affordable than R1 a ticket, and we hope that our passengers will take up this opportunity and experience our great service.”
 
Public response
 
From comments posted on the FlySafair Facebook page it would appear that the public uptake of the deal has been overwhelming. However, some aren’t pleased with the service that FlySafair is offering. The general public sentiment appears to be displeasure with the company advertising a deal that its website is not able to deliver due to an inability to cope with a large increase in traffic.
 
Justmoney posted a screenshot of the error message on the FlySafair Facebook wall in an attempt to get the company to indicate when the website will be running properly again. In response to a number of similar queries, the airline posted another message, stating: “There's an overwhelming response to our R1 sale and there are heavy traffic on the website. Please be patient.”
 
Looks like only the patient and determined customers who have time to continuously refresh the airline’s web page will be rewarded on this occasion. 

UPDATE: At 11:30 FlySafair posted a comment to Facebook stating: "We are thrilled at the overwhelming response to our R1 sale, which is attracting more than 30 times our usual internet traffic load. In anticipation we had doubled our already ample server capacity to deal with the day’s demands, but the enthusiastic response is unprecedented. Our US based technology partners who look after more than 26 airlines worldwide, have never before seen this kind of response to a sale, which is testament to the enthusiasm of our local market for domestic air travel. We have already sold over 5000 R1 tickets to delighted passengers and our team are working double-time to ensure that we continue to delight thousands more. We apologise for the delay and advise customers to check back regularly. We thank everyone for the support and patience."

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