UPDATE: Travellers unamused as FlySafair's R4 birthday sale sells out in less than three hours

2018-05-17 12:17 -
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Right now there are some very happy travellers across SA, as all of the 30 000 FlySafair tickets priced at R4 each have sold out in less than three hours. 

The airline, which has for the last four years celebrated its birthday with a ticket sale priced to match its age, has refined the process well enough that  this year's sale went off without a hitch.

Unlike previous years when the system would crash, leaving a number of frustrated customers - the airline's waiting room concept saw many trying various hacks to score the sweetly-priced tickets.

As a result, the sale which was meant to run from 09:00 until 17:00 on Thursday was sold out at 11:30 already.

FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon told Traveller24, "We're thrilled that the sale went off smoothly. We started at 9:00 and finished just over 11am having sold just over 30 000 tickets. There were over 260 000 people in our waiting room at one stage in the morning, which was awesome. We just want to thank everyone for playing along!"  

The airline also fielded over 2700 calls to their call center, managed over 3400 whatsapps, and dealt with more than 2400 Facebook and Twitter comments and questions. 

Traveller24 intern Ethan van Dieman managed to get in, however the process was slow in that each time he selected a date - the inventory appeared to be gobbled up before he could process and complete the sale. 

'How I almost won'

"Upon being selected as part of the group to buy some of the tickets for R4, I was transferred to a different page. If you blinked, you might have literally missed it.  

"I was part of the chosen few as I realised I was no longer in the waiting room. 

"I'd entered into the buying screen just around 11am, when there were around 10 000 +- tickets left so it was a frenzy at this point. 

"Familiarising myself with the system took a couple of seconds and nimble fingers were a must. You either had to book without a second doubt or someone did -  a lesson I learned the hard way. 

"Flights for R4 at this point were far and few between and there were no easy weekend getaways to Durban unfortunately. So I opted for my second choice.

"Trying to find flights with departure and return dates close to each other was near impossible - as there were mostly flights on Mondays and Tuesdays left. At this point I was making concessions around whether to plane one-way trips or not.

"Once I'd finally decided which flights to book and I thought I was on my way to Jo’burg from Cape Town for my birthday in September - sadly this was not to be.

"Tripping at the finish line, as soon as I attempt to make payment I'd get a red pop-up telling me that the flight/seat had been booked. Clearly, someone is faster than me. I repeated the process of searching, compromising, trying to book and then failing.

"So there you have it. Admittedly, I may not be flying to Johannesburg anytime soon but it sure was an exciting few minutes."

Luck of the draw

When asked about how long somebody could hold selected tickets and why sales were dropped, he stated "Inventory was confirmed upon payment. If you grabbed some flights in your basket, the first successfull payment confirmed the inventory.  That could include opting for our Pick n Pay or Pay Later solution where you confirm the tickets but then get 24 hours to go and make payment later.

Kirby added, “We always sell a few more to cater for what might get cancelled there so that we're always on the right side of the number we advertise
"It’s a big day for us, but when you get the messages afterward from people who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to fly, it makes it all worthwhile. We also love how incredibly creative and funny people on Twitter are, we get send some of the most fantastic memes” says Gordon.

Here are some of the other  bitter-sweet reactions: 

Those who did:

And those who didn't