FlySafair says the airline is legally required to enforce compliance or stand the risk of being fined heavily. Picture: Supplied
FlySafair says the airline is legally required to enforce compliance or stand the risk of being fined heavily. Picture: Supplied

Tweeps defend FlySafair mask-wearing policy after post goes viral

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Feb 15, 2021

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Twitter users defended South African low-cost airline FlySafair after a viral tweet claimed it was "threatening paying customers" to wear a mask on board.

The tweet by user @Paratus2014 showed a card with mask-wearing rules that travellers needed to abide by and the repercussions travellers would face if they do not comply.

FlySafair has revealed that it hands out the cards to those who do not abide by the mask-wearing policy.

The Twitter user posted: "Dear @FlySafair- threatening paying customers in this manner is terrible optics for many reasons. I expected this from tone-deaf and inefficient state-owned airlines, not one that prides itself on customer service and professionalism. Please fix this." (sic)

The airline responded to the tweet with "Hi, Would like to firstly apologize in the manner in which we made you feel. Our aim is not to make our passengers feel uncomfortable in any way but stress the importance of following the covid regulations for safety." (sic)

South Africans defended the airline, asking the user to "wear your mask and stop complaining."

User @@BaldryMandi commented: "Well done @FlySafair

Good to know I will be safer when flying with you." (sic).

Another user @annelizevanwyk commented: "Well done Safair. Those of us who would like to play our part in protecting ourselves and those around us thank you. We are also paying customers." (sic)

User @SDaveyT commented: "Thanks Safair! Exactly what I would want from my airline of choice. Those who have problems with this can drive." (sic)

Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair, said the Twitter conversation is largely around whether or not mask-wearing is valid as a means to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which he believes people "are at liberty to debate."

However, he said mask compliance is a regulation.

"As a business, we are legally required to enforce compliance or stand the risk of being fined heavily and as an airline, we are regulated by the SACAA to ensure compliance or face the risk of being grounded. As such we will enforce mask-wearing just as we do any other regulation until that regulation changes.

"Our approach is simple. Non-compliant customers are politely asked to wear their masks. If they refuse, we discretely hand them these cards. If they continue to refuse, they will be asked to leave the plane or if in flight, appropriate actions are taken," he told IOL Travel.

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