Is Kiwi.com a smart travel agency or a scam?

A family lost $ 24,000 after booking a plane ticket on Kiwi.com that was impossible to actually fly. Kiwi.com says that the family is to blame for not checking transit restrictions, but does this incident rather show that Kiwi.com is just a scam?

After a $ 24,000 loss, was the family careless or is Kiwi.Com a scam?

A New Zealand family needed to get from Auckland to Amsterdam quickly due to a death in the family. By searching for alternatives online, the family found an expensive but convenient connecting trip on China Southern from AKL to AMS via Guangzhou (CAN). Oddly enough, it was not available at any other online travel agency, but represented the fastest way to get to Amsterdam. So the family bought the tickets and allegedly spent $ 24,000 NZD.

However, at check-in, they were denied boarding because China does not currently allow passenger transport due to its zero-COVID policy. The family was rejected, and when they contacted Kiwi.com, they were informed that they should have checked all transit requirements. An employee at the airport in China Southern was allegedly disbelieving that this ticket was even sold.

The innovation with Kiwi.com is that it puts several one-way tickets together on a single itinerary, which can result in significant cost savings or several options compared to booking the trip on a single ticket. In this case, it booked the family on a one-way ticket from Auckland to Guangzhou and a one-way ticket from Guangzhou to Amsterdam. Nowhere was it mentioned during booking, although prominent warnings to check transit and immigration rules were present.

So is the whole family to blame here (it certainly has some guilt) or should Kiwi.com not have sold them an itinerary in the first place it knew it was not possible to fly? (My understanding is that even Chinese citizens who can travel legally into China must be quarantined before taking a connecting flight, but at least a transit visa is required). Here are the current rules for TIMATIC New Zealand passholders:

I myself have had experience with Kiwi.com and it has generally been positive, although I do not appreciate the tricks that are In secret played (key words, secretly) to find lower prices. I once found out at check-in that I was actually booked on a hidden city ticket.

So is Kiwi.com a scam? I’m not sure I would have gone that far, though reservation emptor and I believe that this family is entitled to a refund if the booked itinerary was impossible to fly without quarantine.

In this case, although the family should have been more careful, the fact that China does not allow transit right now really made their ticket worthless.

CONCLUSION

A family claims to be out with $ 24,000 after being denied boarding on a trip in China that they bought on Kiwi.com. Kiwi.com says that the family should have checked the immigration and transit requirements before ordering.

Who do you think is to blame here?