In a space of a week, South Africa's current and previous presidents have both been spotted flying in economy class. Jacob Zuma was the latest to be spotted flying cheap on Wednesday, aboard a Kulula economy flight.
Kulala only has economy class, of course, but perhaps the excitement at Zuma flying economy is justified – it's unusual to see a former world leader travel on a budget like the rest of us.
What an honour to have #President@CyrilRamaphosa flying with us this morning! Thank you sir for your kindness and for graciously allowing our staff and customers to take pictures with you. Wishing you and everyone a brilliant #HolidayWeekend! pic.twitter.com/logJ5R9Cuo— FlySafair (@FlySafair) March 30, 2018
President Cyril Ramaphosa was also spotted aboard an economy-class Safair flight to Durban – he's one of a number of world leaders who have flown in budget seats to save taxpayers money.
Here are some other world leaders, current of former, who have flown in less-than-first-class.
1. David Cameron
Then-U.K. prime minister David Cameron was spotted in a commercial plane to the U.S. back in 2010. According to CNN ,Cameron was "slumming it in business class" – despite the fact that he could have travelled in his private jet.
Under normal circumstances, prime ministers usually fly in 747 Boeing or use military jets, but Cameron did not even fly first class on British Airways, saving the state almost R3.5-million in expenses.
It turned out to be a well-received gesture in the British press.
The gruesome 24-hour flight from Sydney to Paris would certainly be less excruciating if it were in first class. But former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott was another prominent leader who opted not to splurge, despite the daunting trip he and his family had to undergo. According to the Telegraph, Abbott tried to live as normal a life as possible and was spotted on the economy trip in a casual blue polo shirt.
He was travelling with his wife and two younger daughters for the Christmas holidays to Paris, and his cost-cutting gesture also got him lots of positive media coverage.
They say its better to lead by example, and this is exactly what Indonesian president Joko Widodo did after urgingthe government to cut travel budgets. He flew to Singapore at his own expense, after refusing to use the presidential plane.
According to the Australian, Widodo – who had to fly to Singapore for personal reasons – said that politicians were not exempt from making personal cutbacks, as he wanted to avoid higher taxes.