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Kenyan Overbooking Shambles  
User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2013 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5586 times:

I've just come back from a wonderful group safari holiday in Kenya, but one with major problems with the flights.
On the way out, there was a problem (KQ101 on the 23rd August) with the booking, so that the details hadn't been transferred on to the KQ system for several of us.
On the way back, our details were fine, but the return flight (KQ102 on the 29th August) was overbooked by 40 people. After a long and tedious delay, we got our $300 and retired to a hotel for 3 hours sleep before trying again with (a very late) KQ105 the following morning - only our group of 8 were put on this flight, the rest of the people were bumped to the later KQ102 flight.

Talking to people, I've heard stories of smilar overbooking on KQ flights (one of 51 people in July). How can such dramatic overbooking take place, and this typical of KQ and other African carriers?


it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBullpitt From Spain, joined Mar 2004, 871 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5531 times:

Hi all

I would say that's tipical of many carriers.



These are my principles but if you don't like them I have others
User currently offlineAirNovaBAe146 From Canada, joined Jun 2008, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5491 times:

I've been waiting for somebody to start a thread on this topic.

For an airline that purports to be "The Pride of Africa," KQ's customer service and overbooking policies are a disaster.

I would answer and say 'its just Africa,' except that Kenya Airways purports to be the second-best airline in Africa, recently joined SkyTeam as an associate member, and has higher standards to live up to.

The advice I give to people taking KQ is to get to the airport EARLY for check in. They issue boarding passes on a first-come, first-served basis. On a December flight on a B737 KQ flight from FBM - NBO, I checked in as soon as their counter opened. I learned later that this flight had been overbooked by 30! Don't let it happen to you - get to the airport early. I'd rather have a couple hours extra at an airport, rather than be delayed by a couple days.

In general, KQ customer service is mediocre. The only thing that works in their favor is they have a very generous rebooking policy. I've known people that because KQ bungled their connection in NBO, ended up getting 2 or 3 nights accomodation at $300/night hotels in NBO, plus meal allowance (due to a route system that doesn't offer daily service to many of their African destinations). Makes me wonder how much they'd save if they could book people properly.

Additionally, their transfer desk in NBO is an absolute disaster. At peak times, they only seem to staff it with 2 employees, and I've seen the lineup there take literally hours. The transfer desk is necessary because many of the African destinations they serve don't have computerized thru ticketing. Although in fairness to KQ, they are making an effort to expand this service, and recently introduced it at my home airport (FBM), among other places.

KQ's baggage transfer system in NBO was horrific, and is slowly getting better. IMHO, with their NBO operations being in such a confined area, there is no excuse for baggage not making a connection with six hours of ground time (something that frequently occurs there).

AN


User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2013 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5419 times:



Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 2):
For an airline that purports to be "The Pride of Africa," KQ's customer service and overbooking policies are a disaster.

Thanks for the interesting reply, I must admit that I had expected better from a skyteam associate with KLM help. It must cost them a fortune in compensation - the cashdesk ran out of dollars by the time our group of 8 had passed through!

The flight back itself was poor - the APU had failed (?) on our 77E so that our 2 interminable hour wait on the ground at Mombassa was bakingly hot, my PTV headphone socket was broken, and the in flight service was slow and patchy. Add in a cabin full of manic children, and not a happy flight!!!



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1448 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5327 times:

I've heard a lot of nightmares with KQ lately, especially when it comes to over-booking flights. Maybe they need a few A380's to avoid these situations.  wink 


If you're going through hell, keep going
User currently offlineMalaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3359 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5279 times:

The sales department at KQ needs to change the overbooking estimate values since apparently the NO SHOW factor is much less than estimated when overselling. They need to stop selling a higher oversell factor for the certain flights that this is occurring on.


There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
User currently offlineAF022 From France, joined Dec 2003, 2162 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 5013 times:

Perhaps KQ is not doing so well financially and overbook hoping to generate more income? Risky, no?

How is their CDG flight doing which they just reintroduced? Any info?


User currently offlineMalaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3359 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4996 times:



Quoting AF022 (Reply 6):
Perhaps KQ is not doing so well financially and overbook hoping to generate more income? Risky, no?

It can be risky cause it may mean more vouchers and more hotel stays, plus adding up expenses for denied boardings



There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
User currently offlineYellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6220 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3996 times:

Makes me begin to wonder about my KQ trip next year.....

Thanks for the heads up!



When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineTimRees From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2001, 355 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3751 times:

Don't think this is a new problem!

I flew them back in July 1999 and on arriving at LHR (T4) fairly early for check in was told that the flight (An A310 in those days) was over-booked by about 30 and they asked for volunteers to transfer for the BA flight ex LGW leaving a couple of hours later.
Quite innocently, as my safari wasn't due to start until the day after arriving in NBO, my partner and I agreed to transfer together with about 20 other passengers to LGW. We took our compensation (not that much I seem to remember) as we genuinely thought that BA would probably be better and we would help KQ out - they also said they would upgrade us on the way home!
On arrival at LGW we headed to the BA desk with our tickets (altered by hand to reflect the new flight details) only to be told that BA knew absolutely nothing about us and that their flight was also heavily overbooked (It was the beginning of the summer holidays and their flight went onto SEY so they weren't thinking there would be many no-shows!)
After an agonising wait to see how many no-shows there were and BA disallowing staff travel we were accommodated on the BA flight. The wait was terrible as one couldn't check in until the flight was closed and then it was a sprint through security to board the aircraft in around 15 minutes.
On the return flight, of course, no-one had heard of our dilemma and the upgrade didn't happen. Our letter of complaint didn't get much of a response either - just the usual stuff about the airline only agreeing to transport you from A-B and they argued this had happened.

BA were great and saved the day. My lesson was never trust what you're told and NEVER agree to be off-loaded however much you are offered!


User currently offlineYOWza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4900 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3722 times:

If you think KQ is a mess now you should have seen it in the 80s. As a child I recall being scheduled to fly LLW-NBO-KHI-KTM on a mix of KQ and PK with my family. All in all we arrived 8 days late! On the plus side it did give us a chance to discover "Carnivore" in Nairobi  Smile

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineSwallow From Uganda, joined Jul 2007, 555 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3566 times:



Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 2):
I've been waiting for somebody to start a thread on this topic

 bigthumbsup  Me too

Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 2):
The advice I give to people taking KQ is to get to the airport EARLY for check in

I go a step further and check in online. A lady at the check-in desk advised that it helps if you pre-book a seat. However, you still have to get there early to get a boarding pass



Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 2):
Additionally, their transfer desk in NBO is an absolute disaster

The queues are a nightmare and the staff don't care. Apparently pay is meagre and morale suffers.

Quoting AirbusA6 (Thread starter):
How can such dramatic overbooking take place, and this typical of KQ and other African carriers?

I have only had this experience on KQ. SA, BP, BA don't overbook to this extent.



The grass is greener where you water it
User currently offlineAirNovaBAe146 From Canada, joined Jun 2008, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3461 times:



Quoting Swallow (Reply 11):

I go a step further and check in online. A lady at the check-in desk advised that it helps if you pre-book a seat. However, you still have to get there early to get a boarding pass

Swallow - at least you have been lucky and been able to check in online. I've tried on two recent KQ trips and been unable, due to technical problems with their website.

But the worst is their booking search engine from www.kenya-airways.com. It comes back with an error message 9 times out of 10 when I try to use it. Apparently they don't want my business. When I book KQ tickets online, I usually have to do it through a third party, like www.vayama.com, because KQ's reservation website is not functional.

The sad thing is, I see KQ as having enormous potential. Having joined SkyTeam as an associate, they will get lots of traffic funneled to them through AMS, CDG, and to a lesser extent LHR. IMHO, their NBO hub offers the best range of connection opportunities from Africa to outside continents. For travellers from the northern hemisphere, I think a KQ/SkyTeam transfer in NBO is far preferable than a Star Alliance connection in JNB, which literally see people flying to the southern end of Africa, and then backtracking thousands of miles.....

Obviously KQ's management just doesn't care enough to fix the product. Its almost tragic, because their onboard service is decent, the IFE good (when it works), and KQ should be a tourist magnet, with KQ reaping the benefits.

AN


User currently offlineYellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6220 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3367 times:



Quoting YOWza (Reply 10):
"Carnivore" in Nairobi  

That is a great place....looking forward to going back!



When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineAirbuske From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 466 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3243 times:

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Kenya.  Smile

KQ is notorious for over booking flights. Many times, they even cancel flights because the a/c is relatively empty. Next time, try Fly540. Turboprops, but much better service IMO.

Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 2):
For an airline that purports to be "The Pride of Africa," KQ's customer service and overbooking policies are a disaster.

I whole heartedly agree.


User currently offlineAirNovaBAe146 From Canada, joined Jun 2008, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3181 times:



Quoting Airbuske (Reply 14):

KQ is notorious for over booking flights. Many times, they even cancel flights because the a/c is relatively empty. Next time, try Fly540. Turboprops, but much better service IMO.

I haven't had the chance to fly Fly540 yet but hope to in the year ahead.

In July, I referred a friend who needed a last minute ticket EBB - NBO to them, as their price was about three times less than KQ's. I was quite impressed, from the ease of their online reservation site to spirit of their employees, and what that company is trying to become. My friend gave them good reviews also. On a short flight like that, an ATR42 shouldn't bleed traffic to a 737 or E170, as in general there isn't that jet/turboprop stigma that exists in the western world. Give them a couple more years worth of growth and they may become a threat to KQ, at least on regional routes. There is clearly the business for them.

As for transportation links to East Africa, I'm also hopeful Air Uganda can amount to something. The EBB airport is a great facility, I believe it could morph into a good regional hub. Given the choice of connection at both places, I'd much rather go through EBB than NBO. Air Uganda just needs to increase their network, add more planes, and get more traffic into EBB to allow for long-haul flights.

RwandAir, on the other hand, seems to be nothing more than a virtual airline, using wet-leased Kenyan-registered DHC-8s for regional routes. I'm not sure about their 737s - over the last couple years they had DC-9s on the route, then were using Air Malawi. I believe they've gone back to their own metal. But with disorganization like that, its no wonder KQ is sending multiple 767s per day NBO - Kigali - NBO and making a mint.

Right now, it seems KQ dominates more by default than anything else.

AN


User currently offlineAirbuske From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 466 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2977 times:



Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 15):
Give them a couple more years worth of growth and they may become a threat to KQ, at least on regional routes. There is clearly the business for them.

As a KQ share holder, I know that KQ's regional load factors are already being affected to due the prescence of Fly540.

Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 15):
Right now, it seems KQ dominates more by default than anything else.

You are forgetting Ethopian Airlines..


User currently offlineCchan From New Zealand, joined May 2003, 1762 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2910 times:



Quoting Airbuske (Reply 16):
You are forgetting Ethopian Airlines..

A bit off-topic, I have never been on ET, but am keen to give them a try. How does ET compare with KQ in terms of service?


User currently offlineA300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2744 times:
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I had a similar experience with KQ this past June. The DXB-NBO flight was oversold and late. A lot of people could not get a sit. I got the last seat on the aircraft (business) after a combination of yelling and sweet talking. My original seat was in economy. I felt graet that I got on and got a better seat. Little I knew that my bag was not going to arrive until 36 hours later. They did pay me USD 100 for the second fiasco (againg after a combination of yelling and sweet talking).


Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
User currently offlineAirbuske From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 466 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2671 times:



Quoting Cchan (Reply 17):
A bit off-topic, I have never been on ET, but am keen to give them a try. How does ET compare with KQ in terms of service?

Personally, I've never travelled on ET. But from what I gather, you get 'more bang for the buck' with them in comparison to KQ.


User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2013 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2625 times:



Quoting A300 (Reply 18):
I had a similar experience with KQ this past June. The DXB-NBO flight was oversold and late. A lot of people could not get a sit. I got the last seat on the aircraft (business) after a combination of yelling and sweet talking. My original seat was in economy. I felt graet that I got on and got a better seat. Little I knew that my bag was not going to arrive until 36 hours later. They did pay me USD 100 for the second fiasco (againg after a combination of yelling and sweet talking).

Another person I found out was upgraded on the LHR-NBO after finding out her luggage had been checked through to Malawi, I think! Luckily, her luggage was (eventually) taken off the place in NBO where she was going...



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5124 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2483 times:



Quoting Cchan (Reply 17):
A bit off-topic, I have never been on ET, but am keen to give them a try. How does ET compare with KQ in terms of service?

= ET is FAR superior in terms of value-for-the-money. Their J is antiquated, but you can get some bargain deals. Also, ADD is a VERY pleasant hub - I prefer transiting at ADD than some European airports. Though, NBO will always have that awesome jet travel charm  Smile.

Cheers,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineCchan From New Zealand, joined May 2003, 1762 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2346 times:

Thanks all for the info regarding ET. Looks like I should give them a try next time, and possibly get into ADD city for a few days.

User currently offlineAirbuske From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 466 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2209 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 21):
Though, NBO will always have that awesome jet travel charm Smile.

I know exactly what you mean. I know I might get flamed for this comment, but to me, it's like when I'm flying to America, I would rather transit in LHR as opposed to DXB. I have nothing against DXB and it's actually more convenient to fly through there, but it just doesn't have the same charm as LHR.


User currently offlineSwallow From Uganda, joined Jul 2007, 555 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2167 times:

Has KQ improved her on-time departure performance? I flew KQ four times in two weeks in March and each flight was at least 1 hr late.  Sad

It seems capacity at KQ is tight since the loss of 5Y-KYA in Cameroon last year. I hope the arrival of the new 738 later this year adds some margin to a compressed schedule. One late incoming flight has knock on effects on the schedule as outbound flights have to wait for adjoining passengers.

Their Sunday morning NBO-JNB-NBO flight is occasionally upgauged to a 767 [to carry more cargo?] and is usually 1 hr late arriving into JNB coz the aircraft had been late into NBO from an overnight sector. I have taken this flight twice and been late both times missing my onward connections. They must be uplifting lots of cargo coz the flight was not full on either occasion.

Their new E170s for domestic flights are a great improvement over the Saab 340s.

 wave  Thank you for flying KQ.



The grass is greener where you water it
25 787KQ : According to one of my sources, the overbooking stems from a reservation system imposed on the airline by KLM or the KLM chosen managers at KQ. It jus
26 Shamrock_747 : I don't know the specifics regarding KQ, but overbooking to those kind of numbers is usual on many routes from Heathrow to various parts of Africa. Th
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