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Flair Airlines under fire for making customers in Canada pay $49 for physical distancing

Flair Airlines is under fire on social media for asking customers in Canada to fork out extra cash to ensure that the middle seat remains empty during flights.

The Edmonton-based airline is offering passengers the choice to block the seat for $49.

And it seems that not everyone is taking Flair up on the offer because some passengers are posting photos of the packed flights to social media, showing a lack of physical distancing.

The CEO of Flair Airlines Jim Scott told CTV that the airline is giving passengers a "choice."

Scott says that if Flair chose to block the middle seats, the cost would be passed on to passengers.

"We would have to charge everyone one-third more and I think the customers that we carry don't have a lot of money. They're not rich people and they'll take the precautions and put the mask on to save that type of money."

Fellow Canadian airlines WestJet and Air Canada are both blocking the sale of middle seats until at least June 30 to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.

"This is ridiculous," one person wrote of Flair's policy. "[This] pandemic isn't a choice, it's a public safety issue, and social distancing should not be based on whether you can afford it."

"Don't think my life is worth giving it to flair for 49.00 or any airline that does not look at #COVID19 distancing," another person added.

"Cheap flights > human lives," yet another person wrote. "Got it, thanks for making your position clear, Flair Airlines. #BoycottFlair."

Canada currently mandates that all passengers wear face masks on flights arriving or departing from Canadian airports. The government is also introducing mandated temperature checks.

Health officials also recommend that Canadians avoid "crowded areas" and maintain two metres of distance from others where possible while travelling, but there are no official rules when it comes to physical distancing on flights.

Flair currently operates flights to Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver, Kelowna and Winnipeg.

The airline said in a press release on June 3 that safety "comes first for Flair," with customers remaining their priority.

Lead photo by

Wikimedia Commons

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