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Jambojet: Is there need for consumer education?

Its slightly over two weeks since Jambojet – the Kenya Airways low cost subsidiary – began scheduled flights. Reports from the press, mainstream media and from casual conversation however suggests that Jambojet needs to conduct consumer education to explain how travellers can qualify for the lowest possible fare.

There has been great excitement among the public since the launch of Jambojet a few months ago. The main source of excitement is Jambojet’s minimum fare of Kshs2,850 for a one-way flight from Nairobi to Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret. This is possibly the lowest fare in Kenya’s air travel industry.

Since Jambojet began its flights on April 1, customers are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction at paying more than the Ksh2,850 minimum. In some cases, people paid fares closer to those of a full-service airline.

To qualify for Jambojet’s lowest fare, potential travellers are expected to book in advance of their planned flight. If you book just days to your flight, the fare will be higher than the minimum. In addition, Jambojet will charge a fee for luggage exceeding 10kg. This is the custom with low cost carriers across the world.

Yet another interesting observation is that many Kenyans are not familiar with online booking for flights . Rather than use the website, many travellers prefer sending an email or making a telephone call to Jambojet offices. Clearly this negates the entire concept of a low cost carrier because the airline needs to cut costs by not employing ticketing staff.

Below are more tweets about Jambojet:

 

There are certainly customers who paid the Ksh2,850 fare as seen in the tweets below from Jambojet.

 

 

What should Jambojet do in Kenya’s ‘peculiar’ operating environment?

There is quite clearly a shortage of information among Kenyan travellers on how a low cost carrier works. This isn’t necessarily a setback for Jambojet. If anything, the information gap presents Jambojet with an opportunity to shape the market and make its brand name synonymous with the term ‘low cost carrier’ in much the same way Kenyans identify washing detergent with ‘OMO’ or shoe polish with ‘Kiwi’.

Jambojet needs to embark on consumer education to eliminate the obvious information gap among its customers. Of course the airline would be worried about the costs of publicity, but consumer education need not be expensive if done creatively.

In the short term, Jambojet should consider opening ticketing offices in the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret. These offices will assist the many people that want to travel by Jambojet but are finding it difficult to do their own bookings over the internet. In addition, the ticketing offices could serve as a “classroom” on online booking. Ticketing offices do not have to be big and expensive.

UPDATE: Jambojet has provided a list of its ticketing offices. Please click here to find an office near your location.

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One thought on “Jambojet: Is there need for consumer education?

  • Andrew Gomes says:

    I have to travel from Eldoret to Nairobi for corporate meetings from time to time and sometimes these meetings are scheduled on Mondays or Tuesdays.

    Morning flights on Mondays and Tuesdays from and to Eldoret-Nairobi would greatly assist in convenience

    I have a meeting on 5 May and your evening flight to Nbi is scheduled at 8.35 pm ,too late for connection from JKIA to destination in Nbi.

    I would appreciate if morning flights from and to Eldoret/Nairobi are introduced