I tried for the first time in a few months to book a flight using the Kulula website a few minutes ago. All was as I remember, except the prices had roared upwards like one of their planes taking off.
Last time I used the service in March of this year, pre-booking a seat was R30. Now it is R70. Inflation is allegedly around 6%. The airline industry continues to be Rip-off Central.
Now lets get to the real nitty-gritty. Imagine you are in Pick’n’Panic. You select something that costs say R25 and put it in your basket. When you get to the checkout you find out it now costs R30. Not allowed, the price you see is the price you pay. This however, does not apply to Kulula.
I had selected a return flight, pre-booked my seats, the total cost as displayed a shade over R2000, and moved to the payment page, the total cost of a shade over R2000 still displayed on the screen. I put in my credit card details, then hit the button to pay.
Whoa, back comes a request from the call centre, please contact us there is a “technical fault” on my booking. After a bit of to and froing with the call centre, it appears that in the several milliseconds between my booking the flights and asking for Kulula to accept my hard-earned, the cost had risen by 10%, some R200. Technical fault, my sainted buttocks, I bet that there would not have been one if the price had fallen by 10%.
So, how, pray, I enquired gently, does Kulula avoid the simple premise set out with stunning clarity in the CPA, that what you see is what you pay? Back came the ultimate cop-out, “Please read the terms and conditions. You accepted them when you pressed the pay button”. That sort of response really pushes my buttons. I hope I didn’t upset the lassie too much with my trenchant observations on the airline industry in general, Kulula in particular, their predatory pricing strategies and their utter callous indifference towards their customers.
A plague on all their houses.