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KQ faulted for revoked tickets on Covid crisis

JAMBO

Jambojet alone flies between 45,000 and 50,000 passengers a month. file photo | nmg

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways and its subsidiary Jambojet were found to have been at fault by the competition watchdog for cancelling tickets that had been booked in the period when the country effected travel bans.
  • The CAK said Kenya Airways had unilaterally cancelled tickets and rescheduled flights without notifying passengers in the wake of the Covid-19 induced travel bans that had forced travellers to halt their flight plans.
  • Jambojet rejected customer requests to renew tickets following the presidential ban on domestic and international flights, exposing customers to losses running into thousands of shillings.

Kenya Airways and its subsidiary Jambojet were found to have been at fault by the competition watchdog for cancelling tickets that had been booked in the period when the country effected travel bans to curb spread of the coronavirus disease.

In its latest annual report tabled before Parliament, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) says that it forced Kenya Airways to refund customers for tickets cancelled in the period under review and ordered Jambojet to renew others bought in March following customer complains. The tickets were for Nairobi-Mombasa and Nairobi-Eldoret routes.

The CAK said Kenya Airways had unilaterally cancelled tickets and rescheduled flights without notifying passengers in the wake of the Covid-19 induced travel bans that had forced travellers to halt their flight plans.

Jambojet rejected customer requests to renew tickets following the presidential ban on domestic and international flights, exposing customers to losses running into thousands of shillings.

The airline then went ahead and fined the customers cancellation fees saying that tickets could only remain valid if cancelled within seven days of the travel date prompting disgruntled customers to seek redress at the competitions watchdog.

Kenya banned domestic and international flights in March and restricted movement into four counties including Nairobi and Mombasa to curb spread of the coronavirus disease, forcing travellers to change their plans or risk losing their tickets.

“Lydia Seurei booked a return air ticket from Nairobi to Eldoret, however she could not travel due to the presidential directive regarding cessation of movement due to Covdi-19,” CAK says in its verdict on one of the cases.

“She requested her tickets to be kept open which was declined by the service provider and was charged cancellation charges.”

Jambojet had also declined a customer request to keep tickets valid for travel at later date as passengers waited on the State to lift the flight bans.

Jambojet then extended validity of the tickets for six months and one year, giving reprieve to the customers who had incurred cancellation charges in addition to losing thousands of shillings.

Kenya Airways and Jambojet escaped punishments for the breaches on customer rights after the two accepted liability and agreed to extend validity of the tickets.

This was the second time in two years that Kenya Airways was on the spot for breaching customer rights. In December, CAK ordered the national carrier to refund a customer more than Sh400, 000, for an overbooked flight from Kigali, Rwanda to Nairobi.

CAK carried out investigations after a customer filed a complaint about an incident that occurred in February 2018 where a passenger found that the flight from Kigali to Nairobi that he had booked was already full.

The passenger was denied boarding on arrival at the Kigali International Airport prompting him to seek redress at CAK.