I’ve been a huge fan of travel website Kiwi.com for some time now. Their unique approach to searching for low-cost travel makes it my go-to website when it comes time to book a flight. And their unique booking guarantee means that if you make a booking through them that involves connecting flights and you miss your connection, they will do all they can to get you to your destination.
But now they’ve gone one step further.
Playing the System
There have been numerous news articles in the travel press of late about airlines getting litigious with their own customers. Airlines have had the upper hand for far too long. Complicated routing and pricing, copious amounts of terms and conditions for a sale that is really a glorified bus ticket at the end of the day.
With technological advances, frequent travellers have been gradually turning the tables, using search engines to find ways to get from A to B for less. New terms such as “skiplagging” and “throw away ticketing” have come into the travel lexicon – and the airlines don’t like it when customers use their own tricks against them.
What’s The Problem?
In a nutshell, the airlines seem to think that because a customer has found that it’s cheaper to buy a ticket from A to C via B than to buy a ticket from A to B, and so has used only part of their ticket, they are somehow in breach of the airlines T&C’s. Perhaps they are but, when you apply the same logic to other transactions, the unreasonableness of the airline starts to look quite ridiculous.
Let’s say instead of airline tickets we are talking about having a meal in a restaurant. Many restaurants have a special menu that offers great value compared to their main menu – a table d’hote, menu del dia etc. Let’s say it’s three courses and coffee for £20. A customer only really wants a starter and a main course, but it’s cheaper to have the fixed price meal than order those things separately. So they order the fixed price meal but only eat the bits they want. Do you think a court would entertain a lawsuit from the restaurant because the diner didn’t eat all that was included? No of course not.
Yet airlines have somehow got away with introducing all sorts of terms and conditions that make a simple buy/sell transaction into a complicated legal contract which they are trying to use to sue their own customers.
A New Ally Enters The Fray
Today, Kiwi.com announced they are extending their booking guarantee to provide customers with protection against aggressive airline lawsuits.
Now, if you book an itinerary with Kiwi.com and an airline unreasonably decides you’re in breach, they will reimburse the amount claimed back, your legal costs, or provide assistance.
They will provide you with assistance in situations when a legal claim is brought against you by the airline in relation to your booking due to the alleged breach of the airline’s contractual clauses which are considered as unbalanced, disproportionate and/or abusive. These conditions include, among others, the practices commonly known as “throw-away”, “back to back” and “hidden city” ticketing.
Kiwi.com believe that these and similar contractual clauses are disproportionate and thus should not enjoy legal protection.