Kenya Airways Allows Passengers to Book Extra Seat for Social Distancing

Travellers considering flying and are concerned about social distancing can now book an extra seat or row on Kenya Airways (KQ).

The national carrier has launched the service dubbed Economy Max for flyers who want extra space for in-flight safety.

Passengers are 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 coronavirus disease.

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.

"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.

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.

Mr Thairu said 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.

"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.

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.

Domestic passengers will pay $15 for an extra seat and $20 for two.Travellers from or to Nairobi from the Americas will pay $120 for one seat, and $230 for two.Those heading to or from Europe will pay $80 and $150 for one and two seats respectively, while for the Middle East and Asia pay $60 and $110.Passengers flying to African destinations will be charged $45 for an extra seat and $80 for two.-Additional reporting by Hellen Githaiga

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