Kulula introduces new heavy baggage charges

Over and above the recent heavy increases in ACSA passenger charges that passengers now have to face when flying on any of the low-cost airlines in South Africa, Kulula have recently implemented a new charge system for heavy baggage. This new charge could see the cost for flying become somewhat heavy for passengers with extra festive weight in their baggage during the 2011 festive season.

Kulula did not make a public announcement of this increase and none of the competing low cost airlines have implemented such charges. Choosing rather to make use of a ësoft launchí despite the impact on passengers, Kulula may face some serious criticism this season.

The heavy baggage charge system is based on a “piece concept” system and will see passengers having to pay an additional R250 on check-in luggage weighing over the airlines 20kg baggage weight limit. This system will also see passengers paying an additional R300 if they choose to check-in an additional bag, despite the overall weight of their luggage.

As none of Kulula’s competitors have implemented such charges, the airline may find itself as one of the highest priced of the airlines in the low-cost industry. None of the other airlines has a “one bag” check in limit and some are offering additional weight limits for sports equipment or a two bag check in limit to encourage passengers with equipment such as golf clubs to travel with them.

Kulula have not notified passengers of this additional charge with their “soft launch” strategy and passengers can expect to be informed of the additional costs only at check in, which may result in delays and complications at the airline’s check in counters. This charge is set to be in place for the better part of the festive season until 15th January 2012.