Author Archives: Michael Otieno

ByMichael Otieno

Of safety measures and illegal cargo items

cargoPassengers hardly have anything positive to say about airlines, especially when faced with delays, lost luggage, bad food and other unpleasant stuff that happens on flights or in transit.

Many forget that some of things they love to complain about could have been avoided if they followed the laid down procedures.

The most shocking story I have ever heard from a passenger about an airline, unfortunately, involved the crash of a small plane on a domestic flight somewhere in Central Africa.

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Why airlines bump you off a flight

bdairplaneMy best memory of Brussels airport is not its glorious status as one of the busiest hubs in Europe or home to Brussels Airlines, but of the cold night spent at the airport because I had been bumped off a flight. The next available flight was 10 hours away.

Checking into a hotel within the airport or in the city was not an option. I had already cleared with immigration, rendering my single entry Schengen visa invalid.

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Why the tax, fees on airfare vary

ticketStarting July, air tickets for local and international travel in Kenya were costing more after the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) increased airport departure taxes for all domestic and international travel as announced in the 2016/2017 financial budget.

Airlines collect airport taxes on behalf of the airport authority by itemising them as part of the ticket cost.
Have you ever wondered what makes up the taxes and other charges that are usually quoted by the airline and then lumped together with the base fare to give you a total amount for your ticket?

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

The truth behind low-cost carriers

fastjetIn the recent past, we have been hearing about how air travel and connectivity within the region is getting better through low-cost or budget carriers.

However, don’t go into a celebratory mood just yet.

A spot check on the website of a recently launched low-cost carrier put the one-way fare between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam at approximately Ksh8,000 ($80).

The same search done, with the same exact parameters, on the website of a full-service carrier revealed a fare of Ksh8,895 ($89). So, if by name alone “low-cost carrier” should imply travel cost savings, why isn’t that benefit evident?

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Why you need to get travel insurance

travelinsuranceFor followers of travel news, 2010 witnessed one of the most disruptive incidents of all time. A single volcanic eruption in Iceland closed most of Europe’s skies. About 19,000 flights were cancelled each day, with over 10 million people stranded. Emerging market currencies closely tied to tourism, like the Kenya shilling and Turkish lira, fell.

Some 30 per cent of total worldwide airline capacity was cut: European capacity by 75 per cent, Africa by 30 per cent, the Middle East by 20 per cent, and the rest of the world by 15 per cent. Of the affected passengers, it would be interesting to know how many had travel insurance to cover such an eventuality.

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Flyer miles: Are they worth it?

ffpcardsThere is a famous story in the frequent flyer circles about a man who torn between spending New Year’s eve with family and attaining the highest level of recognition on an airline, chooses the latter and goes on a trans-Atlantic flight.

He attains the million miles status and gets a lifetime offer of free flights on the carrier; arguably the highest level of recognition the airline could give to a loyal customer.

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Direct Flights vs. Indirect Flights: The Pros and Cons

flightcompareIf you are a frequent flyer to the scenic South African city of Cape Town, you must have been thrilled at the recent Kenya Airways announcement of direct flights from Nairobi to Cape Town. The flights, to commence on July 1, will be operated thrice a week via Livingstone, Zambia.

The direct flights will bring an end to the hassle of having to transit via other connecting points currently, your top three options to Cape Town from Nairobi are: Via Johannesburg by KQ, via Johannesburg on South African Airways and via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines.

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Why cabin safety matters above all

Cabin_SafetyEarlier this year an aviation writer for The Economist started off his commentary by saying “Africa is ripe for air travel.” True, air travel in Africa is on the rise. And with this come the issues of airport and aircraft safety and most important, in-flight safety.

Aviation is probably one of the few service sectors where the proverbial “customer is king” phrase does not entirely apply. Actually, this is always subject to the safety and wellbeing of the passengers first. This where the airline crew comes in.

 

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

How airlines compute air fares

airplaneseatWhy do fares to the same destination and sometimes on the same flight vary?

On a recent regional flight from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi an interesting conversation taking place on the row behind me made me want to turn around and join in but due travel fatigue and the prospect of a stiff neck, I decided to wait it out and peacefully eavesdrop.

Notably irked that what he paid for his ticket, was higher than what his sitting companion paid, passenger X was not relenting in his curses and tirade of not so pleasant things to say about the airline. And because such misfortunes don’t come singly, they made him pay a penalty and some excess baggage fee. Dar es Salaam to Nairobi is only an hour twenty minutes by flight but this was a long one.

Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Ever traveled by air and arrived without your bags?

Baggage on beltYour service contract with any airline you choose to travel with is pretty simple; to deliver you and your baggage to the destination of your choice safely, preferably together. There have been or there will be those anxious moments when your baggage has not or will not arrive with you at that destination. It gets more complicated when you are on international travel.

You have either felt or will feel even more aggravated when that airline of choice remains aloof and unresponsive amid your frustration and mad rants about how you will never fly with them again since your baggage is lost/delayed.

 Here is a glimpse into what you should know about your service contract with an airline when you purchase a ticket. 

Read More