The Malaysian government has announced that, starting Tuesday, fully vaccinated spouses and parents with children under 18 may once more travel freely within the country to reunite with their loved ones. Malaysia Airlines is hoping to facilitate the much-awaited reunifications – and perhaps motivate more people to get vaccinated – with domestic fares as low as $21.
Airlines continue to do their part in incentivizing hesitant public to get vaccinated. While it may be inspired by a desire for societal good, it is also driven to a large extent by self-preservation.
As new contagious variants such as Delta are causing new waves of infections across the globe, broad vaccinations efforts continue to lag behind in many places, hampering industry recovery. Much due to logistics and a lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines, but also because of widespread skepticism.
While not quite replicating the sweepstakes of United Airlines where lucky, fully-vaccinated loyalty program members won a year’s worth of free flights, Malaysia Airlines is now offering super low fares to help facilitate the reunion of vaccinated spouses and parents and their children.
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Valid for immediate travel
Prices for domestic destinations start as low as RM89 ($21) in Economy Lite. The promotion is available for bookings from August 10th to September 30th and valid for travel until October 30th, 2021.
“Malaysia Airlines is fully prepared and delighted to play our part in connecting customers onboard who have not seen their loved ones since the implementation of the nationwide lockdown. This latest flight series reflects the national airline’s significant role in providing critical air connectivity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for essential travels,” the airline Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Captain Izham Ismail, said in a statement.
Employee vaccination drive
Malaysia Airlines states that, thus far, over 93% of its pilots and cabin crew have been vaccinated. Along with its sister companies in the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), it expects to have 100% of employees vaccinated by mid-August.
The promotion comes after the news that the Malaysian government has relaxed some of the coronavirus restrictions for those who have received their COVID-19 vaccine. Nationwide, fully vaccinated spouses and parents and their children younger than 18 may once more see each other after months of border closures between states.
Restrictions ease despite increase in cases
From Tuesday, local tourism is also allowed within states or territories that have progressed to at least what is known as phase two of the National Recovery Plan. These are currently Perlis, Sarawak, and the federal territory of Labuan (phase three) and Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Penang, and Sabah (phase two).
Non-contact outdoor sports and eating at restaurants will also be available to fully-vaccinated people in these areas two weeks after their second dose or three weeks in the case of receiving a one-shot-only vaccine. Meanwhile, case numbers in Malaysia are on a skyrocketing trajectory, with close to 20,000 new cases reported Tuesday.
Thus far, 28,3% of the population has been fully vaccinated, with the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine being delivered to the country by Malaysian Airlines in late February.