kulula's pre-seating option 'a rip-off'

2013-11-14 11:37

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Earlier this week kulula.com announced that they are now offering passengers the option of pre-booking a seat of their choice for a fee of R35.

The move seems to be edging dangerously toward infamous Irish airline, Ryanair’s ancillary service model – charging passengers for things that used to be free, while making it sound like a perk - especially in the light of kulula implementing a 'piece baggage concept' last year. With this system customers are only allowed to check one piece of luggage weighing 20kg or less. If the bag weighs more than this they are charged a once-off fee of R250, while extra bags cost R300 a piece. 

We asked our readers what they thought of this new service and whether they deemed it useful. 

Unsurprisingly most said that they found the service rather redundant, pointing out that you could get pretty much any seat you want anyway if you arrive at check-in early... or even better, check in online 24 hours before the flight. 

There were, however, a few who thought it wasn’t altogether a bad move.  

Here are a few of the responses. Tell us what you think in the comment section below:

Cool idea, kulula:

Wim Coetzee - Why not! Air Asia has been doing it forever! They are the fastest growing airline In the world. Even better, on Air Asia you can also select from a set menu and pre-pay for your food or extra baggage on the website before you pay for your ticket. How about a Nando's and KFC menu option.  On Air Asia you also pay extra for not checking in online. These are successful methods of running so called "low cost" airlines. I cannot understand why South African so called "low cost " airlines do not follow the Air Asia model!

What's with you? Get it right as a so called "low cost airline" or go home

Lynette Christodoulou - You don't have to take it if you don't want it... R35 is really not a lot of money... if you're not willing to pay that then just sit where you are seated...

Peter Rae - £2.11 for decent legroom.....cheaper than a beer......suits me

Natasja Oosthuizen - If you are over 6 feet like myself it is good.

John Hutton - Pay for a seat or get to choose one at exit for extra leg room for 35 bucks is a bargain! It only suits some people ie, people with disabilities ie close to toilets etc etc wake up man it's business NOTHING FOR MAHALA.

No! It’s a rip-off

Craig Lahee - It should be free.. Kulula is more expensive than BA and SAA in most cases so it should be free.

David Bond – Disgusted!

Dale Goodwin -  I recently pre-booked a seat on a kulula flight. When I got to the airport, the said that that seat was blocked off and that we could not sit there. It was such a mission to get a refund... They quick to give travel vouchers... But no refund. Its a money making scam... 

Paljas Paljassie -  Made use of their services 3 times and everytime the flight was delayed and some or other lame excuse. Gave vouchers every time and think it will ease the inconvinience caused. Mango has this option with even wifi on board. Much happier and never late.

Tiaan Olwagen -  Tried it and when the confirmation arrived, no pre-seats booked - system allowed me to pre-book and charged me. Now I struggle to get a response to my request to confirm the seats or re-fund.


Chris Albertyn -  As a frequent flyer on Kulula I see this as a money Making scheme! (Like removing 1 olive from a salad saving $100000's for Delta Air in the USA.) - Guess its back to MANGO! at least MANGO also offers INTERNET /WiFi while you fly

Twolips -  That's really crazy. I'll take my chances with the seat allocation without paying. The other online service worked well and I always got the seat I wanted, at no extra cost. Is Kulula perhaps charging for this to pay to land on the new Lanseria runway?

David Dayza Tsele - And thing is if you are early at check in desk you can still pretty much get whatever seat you want.

Mira Sturmair - nothing cheap about flying any airlines in south Africa......thus buses/trains seem the way to go......the most expensive route is from plz

Margo Riley - Kulula is a total rip-off! I've paid for my ticket ie: the SEAT now I must pay even more to have a specific seat of my choice?? Also, why and how can it be more expensive to fly to George (round-trip) from Jhb than it is to fly from Jhb to LONDON?? Please explain that Kulula! Total, utter rip-off artists! I'd rather fly SA Airlink - at least I get free breakfast.

Michelle Lew Tin Wah - Margo Riley i so agree with you. My three return tickets from joburg to george almost cost the same as our three tickets from mauritius to joburg??? CRAZY!!!!!

Ermi Spies Not useful, if it costs extra!!!!

Kat Koebke lame. they are already expensive enough considering they're meant to be a "cheaper" alternative.

We contacted kulula to find out whether cash refunds would be possible in the future, we're still waiting for a response. 

Read more on:    kulula  |  flights  |  air travel  |  travel south africa


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