FlySafair's R5 sale is sold out - glitches, reactions and the waiting room game

2019-05-06 16:00 -
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After a lot of waiting, glitches, errors, funny social media reactions and more, the annual FlySafair R5 sale - which first saw 45 000 tickets go on sale, only to have another bonus 6 000 tickets added at R5 each - ended shortly after 15:00pm on Tuesday, 7 May.

"...bookings will be honoured..." 

After many customer complaints on social media with regards to the FlySafair R5 sale, particularly that people are being routed back to the waiting room as they're trying to make payments, etc, FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon told Traveller24 the bookings will be honoured if the system has the sale registered.

"There are usually a few payment issues with volumes, however if people get hold of us we promise to honour the bookings made on the system. The system has their details - so we know it’s not fraudsters."

"At one transactions point we were doing about 16/17 requests per second, so we have a list of a few that struggled. But 43 237 has sold so far." 

UPDATE: 

*13:35*

FlySafair has decided its R5 birthday sale was just "Too much fun" and as the sale was about to conclude the airline posted a tweet confirming they would be adding more seats.

Just how many still has to be confirmed but the inventory availability went from 97% down to 27% and is climbing fast. It was sitting at 71% sold at 13:38. 

FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon, confirmed some 60000 additional tickets were added to the 45k - bringing the total to 51k tickets up for grabs at R5 each - including airport taxes and bookable up until September 2019.

About 30% of the initial 45k birthday sale ticket bookings were made for Cape Town and Joburg flights, according to Kirby. A further 13% of the bookings were made between Cape Town and Durban, while 10% were made between Joburg and Durban.

School holidays also seemed to drive the process as "a lot of people are booking between June and July, he says. 

UPDATE

*13:02*

"The system has their details" - FlySafair promises to honour R5 birthday sale bookings  

After many customer complaints on social media with regards to today's FlySafair R5 sale, particularly that people are being routed back to the waiting room as they're trying to make payments, etc, FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon told Traveller24 the bookings will be honoured if the system has the sale registered.

"There are usually a few payment issues with volumes, however if people get hold of us we promise to honour the bookings made on the system. The system has their details - so we know it’s not fraudsters."

"At one transactions point we were doing about 16/17 requests per second, so we have a list of a few that struggled. But 43 237 has sold so far."

Twitter is alive with reactions to the much-anticipated annual #FlySafair ticket sale. Here are some mixed reactions - some highs, some lows: 

UPDATE:

*12pm*

The FlySafair's 5th birthday sale inventory is almost all gone, according to the info detailed on the airline's website

After a rocky start, the sale of 45 000 tickets at R5 each, including airport taxes - bookable for travel valid until September 2019 - was more than halfway through at 12pm. 

FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon, confirmed at midday more than "30 733 tickets" had been sold as sales began moving very fast.

Gordon says about 30% of the birthday sale bookings were made for Cape Town and Joburg flights. A further 13% of the bookings were made between Cape Town and Durban, while 10% were made between Joburg and Durban.

School holidays also seemed to drive the process as "a lot of people are booking between June and July, he says.

FlySafair tickets went on sale for R5 each

The initial server error that saw the sale paused just after 09:00am, appears to have stabalised - with the airline launching a number of added benefits with its annual birthday sale this year to keep those in the waiting room enticed. 

Customers who find themselves in the digital waiting room can enter:

  • The Free2Fly promotion, where they can win a magical card that allows them to fly on any FlySafair flight for free, for 12 whole months.
  • The Jive for R5 promotion, where they can submit the best video of them jiving for their R5 tickets. Five winners will then be selected, who will each receive one of five FlySafair return tickets.
  • The R5 Madness competition, every year, the airline receives pictures on social media of people with multiple devices lined up waiting to gain access to its sale. Customers can share a picture of them and their colleagues with all their devices for a chance to win an awesome online shopping voucher.  
  • *10:20* 

    It is all systems go for the FlySafair birthday sale. Spokesperson Kirby Gordon confirmed the sale was on again after it had been paused due to a faulty server.

    There are 45 000 tickets on sale for R5 each, including airport taxes - bookable for travel valid until September 2019. 

    UPDATE:

    *09:30*

    According to FlySafair Spokesperson Kirby Gordon the R5 birthday sale has been paused.

    "We have paused the sales for now so that everybody gets a fair chance."

    FlySafair says it will be fixing the server before the sale resumes. The sale was meant to start om Tuesday morning at 9am. 

    There are 45 000 tickets on sale for R5 each, including airport taxes - bookable for travel valid until September 2019.

    Many users are finding themselves either hitting a 504 Gateway Error or in the waiting room but still seeing 100% tickets available.

    Previously Gordon said,"There are currently 25 000 people actually in the waiting room, but IPs that hit the bad server are getting an error. IT teams are on it," says Gordon.

    UPDATE:

    * 09:05*

    The frustration has hit, as FlySafair's annual sale has kicked off with a Gateway Error on both mobile and web. 

    According to FlySafair Spokesperson Kirby Gordon, One of the site's servers is "acting up".

    "There are currently 25 000 people actually in the waiting room, but IPs that hit the bad server are getting an error. IT teams are on it," says Gordon.

    Error

    ****

     Now five years in the running - FlySafair's annual sale, has been given a mega boost and will see 45 000 seats selling for just R5 each. 

    The sale starts Tuesday morning at 9am, for travel valid until September 2019. The R5 includes airport taxes. 

     But this year’s sale is bigger and better than ever before, says the airline.

    “We’ve bought new aircraft and grown our business by almost 40% over the last year, so we decided to up the number of R5 seats from 30 000 to 45 000. We’re especially grateful for all the support FlySafair has received from its customers,” says Kirby Gordon, Head of Sales and Distribution, speaking to the increased number of seats available during this year’s sale.

    Game On

    This year, the airline will be running three competitions alongside the sale to offer customers something to do while they wait for their chance to get R5 tickets. Customers who find themselves in the digital waiting room can enter:

    • The Free2Fly promotion, where they can win a magical card that allows them to fly on any FlySafair flight for free, for 12 whole months.
    • The Jive for R5 promotion, where they can submit the best video of them jiving for their R5 tickets. Five winners will then be selected, who will each receive one of five FlySafair return tickets.
    • The R5 Madness competition, every year, the airline receives pictures on social media of people with multiple devices lined up waiting to gain access to its sale. Customers can share a picture of them and their colleagues with all their devices for a chance to win an awesome online shopping voucher.

    So, as you gear up to face the R5 ticket sale mayhem, keep the below tips in mind:

    • Use multiple devices – it’s true, the more devices you’re using the better your chances of gaining access to the site.
    • When you’re in, don’t refresh your page – there’s a chance that you’ll be sent back into the waiting room.
    • Use FlySafair’s Low Fare Finder to track down the R5 flights – the airline has a tool on its site allowing you to view the cheapest departures each day for a month. This is the easiest way to find cheap flights.
    • Keep your eye on the prize – once you get through to the site there’s a limited period of time before your session will expire due to inactivity, so you need to start booking as soon as possible. 

    How it will work: 

    Learning from the first year’s website issues, FlySafair implemented what it calls a “Waiting Room” in year two. This is effectively a holding area that allows a random selection of users onto the site every five minutes in order to avoid the website from being overwhelmed.

    Here’s how it will work – at the start of the sale, a number of customers will be randomly selected from the group of online users in the waiting room. 

    Selected customers will then be allowed to enter the airline’s website where they will need to complete their purchase immediately, or their session will expire. Tickets can only be reserved by completing payment.

    If customers haven’t yet been selected, they should remain in FlySafair’s digital waiting room, as a new group will be selected at random to enter the site every five minutes. And different groups will continue to be selected right up until the last ticket is sold. FlySafair has provided this step-by-step video detailing the random selection process.

    “The solution works well, and it adds an element of random selection to the sale, which feels like it makes the sale somehow seem fairer,” says Gordon.

    South African consumers quickly wised-up to the setup and tried to up their chances of gaining access to the site by using multiple devices to access the site.

    “There were images of entire boardrooms of people basking in the glow of our site, it was awesome.”

    Happy birthday FlySafair and Good luck Saffas! 

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