For the longest time Kenyans have been complaining about the high prices charged by our national airline Kenya Airways. This was more so in routes where they had little or no competition. As such news of the entrance of Fastjet into the Kenyan market was greeted with jubilation due to their low air fares. Competition in any sector always bodes well for the consumers and in this instance as soon as Fastjet announced their fares for the Nairobi – Dar salaam route, KQ had to comply and lower their fares. KQ has also taken to the media to push their lower fare with the tag line “Don’t let anyone pull a fast one” clearly aimed at FastJet.
Fastjet currently offers a return flight to Dar at Kshs. 26,400 while KQ offers the same at Kshs. 28,030 including of taxes making a price difference of Kshs. 1,630. I had a look at what KQ are offering vis a vis Fastjet in a bid to determine whether the price difference was justified.
According to KQ they allow you to have two bags in the hold for free whereas Fastjet only allows you only one item of hand luggage. Woe unto you if your bag it is too big to fit into their baggage gauges whereupon you will need to check it in as hold baggage. Being an international flight you are allowed a maximum of 2 bags with a 20 kg bag being charged at $15 if pre-paid and $ 30 if you decide to pay at the airport. Being that most of us don’t know how to travel light be prepared to pay an additional Kshs. 1,500 for your suitcase/bag.
Refreshments on Board
KQ promises to give you refreshments on board for free which from experience mostly consists of soda/juice and a packet of peanuts. For Fastjet there are no free refreshments and you have to pay for any refreshment that you take with a bottle of water going for Kshs. 200 ($2) and a samosa for Kshs. 500 ($5). That would have to be the most expensive samosa ever made.
Entertainment on Board
KQ offers on board entertainment which includes movies and series to keep you occupied during the flight. Fastjet on the other hand being a budget airline most probably does not have any form of entertainment, a look at their website did not prove otherwise.
Choice of flights
According to KQ they offer a choice of 5 flights every day hence you can be able to plan your journey better. Fastjet on the other hand operates only one flight a day.
Refund on your ticket
If you choose to fly with Fastjet ensure that you are always on time because if you happen to miss a flight there are no refunds whatsoever. The same applies if you decide to cancel a flight whereby you will forfeit the total amount paid. KQ on the other hand gives you a chance to get a refund on your ticket or at least hold your money till the next time you decide to fly.
Kenya Airways clearly has a superior value proposition as compared to Fastjet price difference notwithstanding. In any case you are most likely to be charged for the luggage making the cost on both airlines more or less the same. It seems Kenyans have realized the Kenya Airways are the better option as it Fastjet has been forced to reduce their daily flights to only twice per week.