Cape Town - Low-cost pan-African flier fastjet has introduced a new flight bundle solution to allow frequent flyers to purchase 10 one-way flights at a fixed price inclusive of taxes and fees.
The FlexiTrip solution, as they've coined it, provides flexibility as flights can be booked up to six hours before departure time and is valid for travel within a year of purchase, subject to flight availability.
The 10 flights can be used by any of the three passengers nominated at the time of making the booking, allowing passengers the choice of who can benefit from the bundle flights.
Regardless of how user-friendly the new addition to fastjet's offer seems, we can't help to question the financial viability of FlexiTrip, especially considering the similarities it resembles to SA's grounded carrier Skywise's 'unlimited flights' programme.
Skywise launched the aforementioned programme on their flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg (the only route it served) in September last year, exactly one month before the airline's troubles started.
In October 2015, Skywise was first grounded by Airports Company South Africa, who later said they had no option but to suspend services from the airline due to outstanding debt from the airline dating back to August 2015.
The initial grounding in October marked a two-month downward spiral, which resulted in the airline ultimately closing down operations. The official outcome on refunds for passengers who bought tickets (including the R7 999 'unlimited flights' offer), and whether the airline will ever fly again, remains to be seen.
Although the fastjet offer is, as Skywise's, aimed mainly at business travellers, fastjet says the needs of their clients are the main priority.
The offer is "one to serve needs of its frequent fliers, many who have last-minute business meeting requests or spontaneously want to visit family and friends throughout the year," Nico Bezuidenhout, the new fastjet CEO says.
FlexiTrip also has to ability to save travellers' money, as the 10 flights are paid for in advance at a fixed price, which will not fluctuate close to departure date.
Africa travel becoming more fluid
It's no secret that business travel on the African continent is on the rise, which might mean that fastjet's new offer will be welcomed.
More and more airlines are announcing flight routes to, from and between countries on the continent. Last year, for example, Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa, launched direct flights from Addis Ababa to Cape Town.
Other airlines too have shown more interest in getting the African Open Skies initiative - which aims to make travel on the African continent more fluid and simple - implemented.
Relations between African countries are also improving. Earlier this year, South Africa's Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba approved the granting of 10-year multiple entry visas to frequent business and academic travellers from Africa.
SEE: SA to grant 10-year multiple entry visa for African business travellers
Various packages and route options available
FlexiTrip options are available for domestic flights within Tanzania on all routes between Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Mbeya and Zanzibar at a cost of R15 000 and within Zimbabwe between Harare and Victoria Falls for R11 250, both inclusive of taxes and fees.
For South Africans, the flight bundle solution is also available on international flights on fastjet’s routes between Harare and Johannesburg, and Victoria Falls and Johannesburg at a cost of R22 500, inclusive of two free check-in bags per flight and taxes and fees.
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