National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has been forced to refund a traveler more than Sh400,000, being the value of an unutilised ticket, following a botched trip that resulted from the airline’s poor preparation.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) ordered the airline to pay back the money to a Mr Christopher as compensation for the incident that occurred on February 23, 2018.
The passenger had booked a flight from Kigali to Nairobi, which was scheduled to depart at 7.40pm. However, on arrival at the airport, the passenger found that the flight he had booked was already full and he was denied boarding.
Consequently, he ended up missing a British Airways (BA) flight that was connecting him from Nairobi to London.
However, a KQ employee in Kigali put him at ease, telling him that the carrier would provide an alternative flight to enable him complete the trip to London. But once in Nairobi, he was asked to pay Sh415,262 for the connecting flight, which Kenya Airways promised it would refund.
This was never to be, as his attempts to seek a refund from KQ since then have been unsuccessful, forcing the passenger to file a complaint with CAK.
After launching investigations into the complaint, the agency says it found the national carrier culpable.
“KQ used its higher bargaining position to deny the complainant boarding yet he had checked online and arrived on time, which is unconscionable,” it said, adding that the airline had forced the complainant to comply with conditions that were not reasonably necessary.
“KQ used unfair tactics and undue pressure on the complainant, occasioning them to purchase another ticket on the promise that he will be refunded; KQ made false and misleading representations concerning the existence of a right or remedy; and KQ knowingly provided false information to the Authority regarding the reasons as to why the complainant was denied boarding.”
The agency noted that the airline had denied any responsibility in the matter when it appeared before it, claiming that Christopher had showed up to the airport late.
However, KQ had admitted that overbooking is a common practice, citing instances where some passengers fail to show up for flights.
“In view of the above, the Authority ordered KQ to refund the complainant Sh415,263 being the amount equivalent to the value of the unutilised ticket, commit to be informing consumers of the reason for being involuntary denied boarding and be duty bound to remit appropriate compensation to affected consumers if bumping is inevitable,” CAK said in a statement. – Nation Media Group