Kenya Airways: Extortionate and Spiteful

Old Mar 4, 19, 7:46 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania
Posts: 47
Angry Kenya Airways: Extortionate and Spiteful

Extortionate:
- Monopolise the NBO/DAR/NBO route and charge ~$350 return for a 1hr flight BECAUSE THEY CAN!!!
- Consolidate flights on this route at will citing random technical issues, thereby disrupting passengers' timetables for their own greed
- Conveniently 'forget' to release cheaper booking classes on their booking engine

Spiteful:
- Point out a mistake or oversight, and you get ignorance / stalling until you bite the bullet
- Point out a mass-error and they'll resolve all instances but yours as punishment for flagging the error

Kenya Airways (KQ) forgot to release X class (Standard Economy Reward) seats on the NBO/DAR leg for the entire year 2019, and I discovered this when I couldn't use my miles to book a DAR/NBO/DAR flight. The DAR/NBO leg was fine for X class. KQ spent a week arguing that X class seats were merely booked up for all dates/times (5 flights daily), before realising you can't fully book seats that were never released in the first place. On acknowledging the oversight, they ask me my preferred travel date/time for NBO/DAR, and then they swiftly released X class seats on all flights and all dates in 2019 except for my preferred date/time and the one immediately after. They emailed me to say that X class seats have now been released but my preferred flight is fully booked in X class even though they had only just released seats for the first time. I checked +/- 3 days and all 5 flights on all other 6 days had X class seats available and the 3 other flights on my preferred date did too, just the 2 flights at my preferred time and the one immediately after were missing availability. I wish I had lied about my preferences, but a lesson nevertheless for others' benefit...

Is this extortion, spitefulness, both or something else? Keen on thoughts
MB_again is offline  
Old Mar 4, 19, 12:13 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: Flying Blue, Diamond Club
Posts: 403
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
Extortionate:
- Monopolise the NBO/DAR/NBO route
Well, technically this is incorrect!
Precision Air (PW) flies daily also between these two cities.
flying_blue_white_red is offline  
Old Mar 4, 19, 1:02 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Programs: EK Gold, A3 *G, AB Gold, Jetblue Mosaic
Posts: 681
Originally Posted by flying_blue_white_red View Post
Well, technically this is incorrect!
Precision Air (PW) flies daily also between these two cities.
While true, KQ owns a stake in PW and they coordinate flights and prices on this route so basically a duopoly
MB_again likes this.
kq747 is offline  
Old Mar 4, 19, 1:11 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,943
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
Extortionate:
- Monopolise the NBO/DAR/NBO route and charge ~$350 return for a 1hr flight BECAUSE THEY CAN!!!
Why not fly indirect? RwandAir has tickets starting from $230, Ethiopian from $290.
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Mar 4, 19, 1:42 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: Flying Blue, Diamond Club
Posts: 403
Originally Posted by kq747 View Post
they coordinate flights and prices on this route
Are you sure?
The same flight on the same day:
- On Precision Air website you can get it for 338,100 TZS (= EUR 127)
- On Kenya Airways website, you will get it at EUR 340

Precision Air


Kenya Airways
nancypants and JDiver like this.
flying_blue_white_red is offline  
Old Mar 4, 19, 2:00 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Programs: EK Gold, A3 *G, AB Gold, Jetblue Mosaic
Posts: 681
Originally Posted by flying_blue_white_red View Post
Are you sure?
The same flight on the same day:
- On Precision Air website you can get it for 338,100 TZS (= EUR 127)
- On Kenya Airways website, you will get it at EUR 340

Precision Air


Kenya Airways
Hmmm that's very interesting. I used to fly this route a lot for a few years and mostly on KQ/PW and there was usually no difference in price (usually about $400 RT) and the coordination was so aligned that you really wouldn't know if you were on KQ or PW metal until boarding. I guess that's changed
kq747 is offline  
Old Mar 4, 19, 2:35 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: Flying Blue, Diamond Club
Posts: 403
Originally Posted by kq747 View Post
Hmmm that's very interesting. I used to fly this route a lot for a few years and mostly on KQ/PW and there was usually no difference in price (usually about $400 RT) and the coordination was so aligned that you really wouldn't know if you were on KQ or PW metal until boarding. I guess that's changed
But it might not stay like that for long though:
Kenya Airways (KQ) is seeking exemption from competition rules in its joint venture deal with Tanzania’s national carrier Precision Air.
KQ, which has a 41.23 stake in Precision Air wants regulatory approval to discuss revenue sharing, price setting, route schedules, sales and marketing on the two airline’s joint venture routes in Kenya and Tanzania.
They have now applied to be exempted from competition regulations until April 2022.


https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/...ajz/index.html

FastJet could have been a great alternative but they did not last long on that route ...
flying_blue_white_red is offline  
Old Mar 5, 19, 12:47 am
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
Why not fly indirect? RwandAir has tickets starting from $230, Ethiopian from $290.
I wanted to make use of my miles and of course the convenience of a 1hr direct flight vs >5hr connecting flights...

Anyway, this morning availability magically appeared on the flight immediately (~4.5hrs) after my preferred flight, so I went ahead and booked it which seems a wise move as a couple of hours later all X class seats on all dates (I checked both April and November) have magically disappeared once again!

Looks like I may have misunderstood their quota system - it may actually be on a per year (or rolling 12 month period) basis rather than on a per flight basis. Hopefully this proves true and helps others on here with some advance planning...

PS> My return flight cost me 14000 flying blue miles + ~€115 in taxes, way cheaper than any other options especially considering I had just a couple of months' validity left on my miles.

PS2> Hopefully Air Tanzania can step in on this route with its modest fare policies!

Last edited by MB_again; Mar 5, 19 at 12:56 am Reason: Additional comment
MB_again is offline  
Old Mar 5, 19, 1:15 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,943
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
I wanted to make use of my miles and of course the convenience of a 1hr direct flight vs >5hr connecting flights...
If you want to use miles, then what difference does it make how much they charge in cash for the ticket?

(And it is because of that very convenience you mention that ALL airlines - not just KQ - charge more for direct service than they do for connecting itineraries.)
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Mar 5, 19, 1:35 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
If you want to use miles, then what difference does it make how much they charge in cash for the ticket?
X class reward flights cost 7000 miles each way, they had only B class available @ 13500 miles each way, which is the same as mileage required for Business Class (surprisingly, Business Class has lower taxes).
If I remember right, you only earn 125 miles per leg on the cheapest cash fare either way on this route, imagine how many trips it takes to earn 7000 miles let alone 13500 miles.

Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
(And it is because of that very convenience you mention that ALL airlines - not just KQ - charge more for direct service than they do for connecting itineraries.)
Charging more is fine, charging extortionately is not! It's only a 1hr flight after all, and they do take the liberty of consolidating flights when they wish.
MB_again is offline  
Old Mar 5, 19, 1:54 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: DAR/ADD/CPH
Programs: TK Gold
Posts: 314
Well $ 350 is still better than before.
Go back 5-7 years to before Fastjet entered the market and tickets DAR-NBO directly were $ 425-450 return as I remember, never on sale. Total rip off.
If you look into the history of Fastjet you will see they bought up a Kenyan company (Fly540) in order to obtain rights to fly in Kenya, but as far as I heard the Kenyan government tried to bully them out of it, and somewhat succeeded.
By the time they finally got permission to fly DAR-NBO direct, Tanzania ended up in recession and recently Fastjet has collapsed and now under re-structuring with new owners. They did offer DAR-NBO direct tickets for about $ 250 return as far as I remember. And KQ almost matched the fares.
Bear in mind, the economic situation in Tanzania currently hasn't been kind to airliners. KQ has cut down a lot on their frequencies NBO-DAR, just like e.g. EK has cut down DXB-DAR down to now 7 flights weekly, down from 12 or 14 if I am not mistaken. (And now 5 flights weekly during runway maintenance in DXB). Etihad completely stopped flying to DAR, Qatar is now adding a stopover in JRO and MS is now flying with stopover in Kenya.

But a lot of routes in Africa are like expensive like this. I fly DAR-ADD direct on ET at least every second week. When booking DAR-ADD the pricing is usually $ 450-500 and if you book ADD-DAR you can get it down to $ 385ish. In comparison you often see tickets DAR-ADD-BOM or DAR-ADD-JNB for about $ 325-350. Sure, I can save a bit of money by doing a connection in Rwanda or Kenya, but no time for that when flying so often.
DAR-JNB is another example, you are going to pay a lot of money if you want to fly directly on SA.

Interestingly, I haven't seen Air Tanzania talk about NBO flights in the multitude of newspaper articles there has been about them. But I guess it should come sooner or later - or a code share with KQ.

There are continuous talks in African Union about the Open Skies initiative on the continent, but unsurprisingly it seems only the member states with strong national airliners are supporters of this.
Goaguy is offline  
Old Mar 5, 19, 1:59 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 22,823
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
Charging more is fine, charging extortionately is not! It's only a 1hr flight after all, and they do take the liberty of consolidating flights when they wish.
The length of time an aircraft is in the air is large immaterial to the price of the ticket (viz LON-NYC for much of the year). Have a look at what some Air Canada partners charge for infrequent and poor-service flights on old aircraft to Canada remote northern communities.
irishguy28 and ajeleonard like this.
LondonElite is online now  
Old Mar 5, 19, 2:19 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 3,508
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
Extortionate:
- Monopolise the NBO/DAR/NBO route and charge ~$350 return for a 1hr flight BECAUSE THEY CAN!!!
I see no problem with that, they are not the only carrier in Africa doing this, you can't reasonably try and compare it with what you might be familiar with from the European market.
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
- Consolidate flights on this route at will citing random technical issues, thereby disrupting passengers' timetables for their own greed
Not too long ago 2 of their E190 collided in NBO - https://simpleflying.com/kenya-airways-planes-collide/
I don't know if that might be part of what you are referring to, consolidating flights is something airlines occasionally do, are you saying KQ is doing it more than others? What is your source for that?
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
- Conveniently 'forget' to release cheaper booking classes on their booking engine
I doubt they 'forgot', revenue management can do whatever they want, they can release booking classes one day and remove them the day later if they think enough PAX will now book the more expensive classes.
Originally Posted by MB_again View Post
Spiteful:
- Point out a mistake or oversight, and you get ignorance / stalling until you bite the bullet
- Point out a mass-error and they'll resolve all instances but yours as punishment for flagging the error
I really find the latter hard to believe... for the former see above, if RM decided that booking class X is not available, from customer service point of view, all X class tickets are booked, it doesn't matter how many PAX booked it (or even if it is 0)
Ditto is online now  
Old Mar 5, 19, 2:43 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: DAR/ADD/CPH
Programs: TK Gold
Posts: 314
Originally Posted by Ditto View Post
I see no problem with that, they are not the only carrier in Africa doing this, you can't reasonably try and compare it with what you might be familiar with from the European market.
This is a very true and fair statement if the market was open for all. But you forget that the African airline market isn't free and open but very bureaucratic and corrupt. Each country will try to keep their competitors out on purpose to support their national airlines, in this case the Kenyan government delayed Fastjet's entry into Kenya with quite a few years. Most of Fastjet's initial business plans couldn't be carried out because of this, in my opinion it was a large contributing factor to their collapse.
Also LX and MS operate with stops in NBO and then onto DAR, but none of them have permission to carry passengers between these destinations (5th freedom flights). I am certain that ET would have done ADD-NBO-DAR flights by now if they had the permission to do so, or perhaps so would QR and KL which currently fly to DAR with a stopover in JRO. Or TK that flies to DAR with a "stopover" in LUN.
QR, KL and ET all currently operate flights between JRO and DAR/ZNZ in Mainland Tanzania, but don't have permission to carry passengers domestically.
MB_again likes this.
Goaguy is offline  
Old Mar 5, 19, 3:42 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 3,508
Originally Posted by Goaguy View Post
This is a very true and fair statement if the market was open for all. But you forget that the African airline market isn't free and open but very bureaucratic and corrupt. Each country will try to keep their competitors out on purpose to support their national airlines, in this case the Kenyan government delayed Fastjet's entry into Kenya with quite a few years. Most of Fastjet's initial business plans couldn't be carried out because of this, in my opinion it was a large contributing factor to their collapse.
I didn't forget, I just didn't explicitly say it The reasons are whatever they are, I was merely emphasizing that KQ isn't any more or less extortionate when compared with similar market(s)
MB_again and Goaguy like this.
Ditto is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread