Review: Kiwi.com for International Flight Booking!!

posted in: Booking Channel, Reviews | 4


DisclaimerIncident mentioned here is personal as experienced by myself and the recommendation is a mere opinion I made out of this single incident and a thorough research made after that.

Like most of the travelers, I prefer to use Skyscanner.com or Kayak.com for my flight booking. I’m not very sure which flight search engine- Skyscanner or Kayak, but one of them referred me to KIWI.COM for my outbound flight from Indonesia to India.

Source – Pixabay

What’s the matter?

There were no direct flight (at least cheap flight) options from Denpasar, Bali to India. And after a lot of search I found AirAsia’s flight to Hyderabad, India the cheapest one. Kiwi, without any specific terms and conditions, was giving the same flight for nearly 20 USD cheaper than the other closest option. Just to verify if there was any catch, I double checked every detail. The flight was not a direct one as already mentioned and I was supposed to change my flight in Kualalumpur.

 

Source – Pixabay

Booking My Tickets with KIWI

I couldn’t find many reviews about this website over the web. But considering that it was recommended by one the world’s biggest and highly reviewed flight search engine I took a leap of faith. Most of the KIWI’s specific terms and conditions were indifferent or in order with other flight booking providers. Besides, just to mention here, KIWI’s cancellation charges seemed to be on higher side than other more established players in this domain. But, for me it was not a concern at all. I was almost certain and equally excited about my upcoming trip.

Anything wrong till the day of travel?

Absolutely not!! Everything was smooth, I got a mail from KIWI that they would like to do my web check-in. It was indeed impressive!! Once checked-in they immediately issued my e-boarding pass and sent it to me over my email-ID. All is good here.

I would admit here that I never cared to verify if the PNR number for my two flights were same or different.
Same eticket – But Different PNR

And the date of Departure – The catch was here!!

Here I was, handing over my e-ticket to AirAsia’s staff in Denpasar airport and he nicely handed me over my boarding pass to Kualalumpur. I was still waiting for my boarding pass from Kualalumpur to Hyderabad. After a few moments of waiting, I had to ask him regarding my onward ticket to which he had no clue.

I showed him my other ticket as well for which he informed; your ticket is for transit journey and not a connected ticket. He asked me to look at the PNR of the tickets; which out of my bad luck was different. Our flight was not a connecting flight and we realized this at the very last moment.

I was actually screwed as I was supposed to take the Transit VISA (or some kind of short term visa to Malaysia), to collect my baggage and check-in again at the Kualalumpur airport.

This is when I found the reason of this cheap fare – somehow Kiwi booked the two different flights and merged them into single e-ticket and forwarded the same to us. From the experience of all my previous bookings which involved numerous connecting flights, I never experienced this problem before.

Just to check with other flight booking channels later, I tried booking exactly same flight plan on their portal and called their customer care to confirm if the ticket they were selling was connecting flight or required transit. To my surprise all of them were connecting flights except KIWI who were selling this Transit Journey Ticket.

Final words on KIWI

I really liked their services, ease of payment, their timely reminders and customer concern once the business was booked.

But, they are using some not very popular means (or algorithms), to offer cheaper price options. Offering transit journey ticket instead of connecting flight doesn’t make any sense if the passenger is booking flight in one go.

My verdict – Use their services but with CAUTION

You have anything to share about KIWI.COM or otherwise. Please comment and let us all know about it.

Thanks for reading and happy traveling.

4 Responses

  1. Aradhana

    Goibibo does the same, merges different PNR numbers for a cheaper fare. However, there is a disclaimer “Transit Visa may be required- multi PNR itinerary” in red 🙂

  2. P

    TERRIBLE Experience! In the full sense of that statement.

    Here is a brief account: Booked through Kiwi.com (price was better’ish compared to expedia, etc).

    Made a small mistake in the birth date (instead of 10/05 put down 10/10), double checked before confirming but missed it until I got the email.

    Called them back, automated message said 20 min wait, but ultimately ended up being a 50 min wait.

    In the mean time went to the website and placed the correction request (including the required ID photo attached)

    Representative finally responded and informed me that all looks to be in order and a request will be made with response/confirmation in 48 HOURS, however this will cost me 10 EUROS in addition to whatever fee the airlines may charge for the change. After going back and forth about how ridiculous it would be to have to pay a 10 Euro fee to change 2 digits on the birthday, I requested to speak w/ a supervisor.

    A supervisor called me from GREAT BRITAIN w/ a LOCAL BRITISH NUMBER but w/ a thick Filipino accent, and after patronizing me about business practices and arguing with me about the 10 Euros, hung up.

    I called my cell phone company to see how much of the wasted 18 min I spent on the phone with him will cost me and was informed that it will be $1.99 per minute. So ended up adding an international plan for $5 to correct that.

    Bottom Line: yes I could have been more careful with the info I put down, yes I could’ve just eaten the 10 Euro fees and spare myself the headache, however compared to pretty much all the other 3rd party companies (Expedia, HotWire, Travelocity, Kayak, etc.) that give you absolutely no hassle for small details like this or even if you need to change/cancel the flight within the first 24 hours, dealing with these guys, from their service, to their inflexibility and rudeness was beyond reasonable.

    A friend of mine had a similar experience about a month ago, but didn’t know that it was with Kiwi as well till today when I told her.

    My advice, stay away from these guys. The slightly lower prices are not worth the hassle or the LACK of peace of mind.

    • IncidentalNomad

      Hey.. Sad to here your experience.. and it actually is too horrible to imagine… Thanks for sharing your experience here and i definitely will now refrain from using their services, how so ever lucrative they might sound!!

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