An extra seat for safety as KQ observes social distancing

Feb 26th 2021- National carrier Kenya Airways has launched the service dubbed Economy Max, for flyers who want extra space for in-flight safety. This is after travelers got concerned about social distancing, leading to an allowance to book an extra seat in the plane. Passengers are now allowed to book a seat or the row next to them between 48 hours and three hours of travelling.

The product is the first of its kind in Africa since resuming flights in August, after fleets were grounded to contain the spread of corona virus disease. Passengers can purchase seats online and pay via credit card. Once purchased, a confirmation email is sent to them with information about their flight and seat allocation.

“The world we live in has changed. As an airline, we continue to adapt to the evolving needs of our customers as we recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said KQ’s Chief Commercial and Customer Officer Julius Thairu. He added the new service puts passengers in control of their experience, ensuring that they enjoy privacy even as health concerns while travelling are put at ease.

In its July 2020 report, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said a study had revealed that travellers were seeking ways to feel more comfortable about flying amid Covid-19 pandemic.

Airlines in India introduced the service last year as a way to boost passenger confidence while travelling. Some carriers in the United States blocked off seats to maintain social distancing but some has since returned to filling flights as normal.

“Economy Max is a continuation of KQ’s diversification and innovation to provide relevant products and services to our customers to improve the overall experience of their travels with us,” Mr Thairu said.

Domestic passengers will pay Sh1600 for an extra seat and Sh2200 for two. Travelers from or to Nairobi from the Americas will pay Sh13,000 for one seat, and Sh25,000 for two.

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