Is Kiwi.com safe for Booking Flights

A man has a laptop open on a travel search page & a sign that says 'should you book flights on kiwi.com. What are the dangers
A man has a laptop open on a travel search page & a sign that says 'should you book flights on kiwi.com. What are the dangers

Is kiwi.com safe for booking flights? It depends.

While booking flights with kiwi.com can be safe, the reliability and trustworthiness of kiwi flights may vary. If you want to go straight to the dangers of booking with kiwi. com, here is the link.

However, if you follow my trick and plan to keep your flight, kiwi flights could provide the best value. This is especially true for light travelers without checked bags.

This article will explore all aspects of booking with Kiwi.com, including my personal kiwi reviews with screenshots of my experience. It aims to address common concerns about Kiwi flights' safety and offerings.

It also explores whether Kiwi.com is truly the cheapest option and provides tips to avoid inflated final price and secure the best deal.

Last updated February 4th, 2024

Hello, I am Tatiana—historical architecture addict fascinated with beautiful old buildings and discovering best places in Europe to go. Check out my travel tips on Alonga Travel and reviews of the best European destinations and city breaks. They are the result of my slow travelling explorations. Let's connect on social media!

Quick summary of this page

  • I talk about Kiwi.com, an online travel agency.

  • I share my personal experience and reviews of booking with Kiwi.com, highlighting the pros and cons, the risks and benefits, and the tips and tricks.

  • I warn you about some scams and questionable practices that Kiwi.com may use.

  • I help you decide whether Kiwi.com is worth it for you, depending on your preferences, budget, and travel plans. 

What is Kiwi.com?

Kiwi.com or Kiwi.com flights is a search engine owned by a Czech company, that helps you find cheap flights and buy cheap air tickets.

You were, probably searching for this if you were wondering: 'Is Kiwi flights legit'?

Is kiwi.com legit?

The answer is yes, Kiwi flights or Kiwi.com, a Czech-based online travel agency since 2012, is a legit company. However, that doesn't mean they are trustworthy with everything. Read on to find out when you can trust them and when you should exercise some caution.

is Kiwi.com safe to book flights?

Kiwi.com is safe in the sense that it is a legitimate company that sells flight tickets and uses secure payment methods and encryption to protect your personal and financial data.

However, it is not safe in the sense that they will try to hike up the price if you have checked luggage. Booking with Kiwi.com can also be unsafe if you need a refund but canceled your trip yourself, even if you bought the trip guarantee through them!

Why is kiwi.com cheaper?

Kiwi.com  is usually cheaper than many other places to finds cheap flights. How does this service do that?

how kiwi.com finds cheaper air price

Kiwi.com uses unique algorithm to find the cheapest flights for you. It lets you book flights with multiple carriers all in one trip for a cheaper price. 

Kiwi flights can do this because it combines tickets from different airlines that might not normally work together.

This lets Kiwi find cheap flights and flight combinations that most other websites and booking apps just can't.

The unique proprietary algorithm  kiwi flights use is called  Virtual Interlining.

The reason some airline don't normally work together is because they may not have codeshare agreements. But it doesn't matter to Kiwi. The company buys the tickets and then resell them to you in any combination it wants. 

So, great, right? Not so fast. First, let's address the trust issue some people are having with kiwi.com (myself including).

An open laptop with a sign on the screen saying 'Why kiwi.com is cheaper?'
An open laptop with a sign on the screen saying 'Why kiwi.com is cheaper?'

Is kiwi. com trustworthy?

The question of whether Kiwi.com can be trusted can only be answered with -- it depends.

In certain aspects of booking, such as a trip support and check-in, you can trust them, but only if both you and the airline won't change your flight.

However, there are some borderline legal areas to be aware of, which I will highlight.

Kiwi.com claims to offer cheaper prices compared to booking directly with the airline, but this also can be misleading. Booking directly with the airline can be cheaper than using Kiwi.com, if you have luggage.

The Kiwi.com guarantee policy is also rather misleading, giving you a false impression of coverage when you may not be fully protected. You need to read the Guarantee policy thoroughly to understand what exactly you are buying, but I highlight the dangers in this post below. 

So, let's examine all possible scenarios to determine when Kiwi.com can be trusted and when it was not trustworthy based on my own experience, which could happen to you as well.

If Kiwi.com didn't have any positive aspects, I would advise avoiding them completely. However, Kiwi flights  have some attractive features for booking cheap flights and can save you money. So, if you're a savvy traveler, read on.  

A passport with air tickets inside, a ✈, & a custom sign that says 'is kiwi.com trustworthy?'
A passport with air tickets inside, a ✈, & a custom sign that says 'is kiwi.com trustworthy?'

Is kiwi.com reliable?

Kiwi.com is reliable in their automated e-mail support after you bought a ticket from them.

So, it's reliable in a sense it provides you with all the information and instructions you need to complete your trip.

It provides you with automatic check in, boarding passes, confirmation codes, terminal numbers, etc.

You can access them through the Kiwi.com website or app. Though many complained about having a hard time contacting kiwi.com representatives. 

But are they reliable about refunding money to you if the trip is canceled? It depends. Read about it below. 

Booking a flight with kiwi.com

Kiwi flights: when it's good to use it for booking

Booking a flight with kiwi.com only makes sense for a budget traveler or anyone who doesn't want to overpay for his flight, if they are planning to buy a cheap ticket.

Booking a more expensive flight, & buying the cheapest ticket option on kiwi.com ( the Saver Ticket) will result in a 10 euros refund, if you cancel your flight. Keep this in mind, and read about it in the "negatives" section.

Positive aspects of buying with kiwi.com:

  • Search Radius: You can no longer search for flights to or from a specific city or country by drawing a circle on the map, but you can do the same by choosing the '250 km from "your city" option.'

  • Fly Anywhere: You can enter “anywhere” as your destination and see the cheapest flights to various places around the world.

  • Instead of 'anywhere' you again can add "250 km from "this city" option.'

  • Kiwi price lock. Kiwi flights let you use ‘lock in the cheap price’ you found for 3 days (cost- €10), if you need more time to pay.

  • Multi-city Feature: You can plan complex trips with multiple stops and destinations with ease.

  • Date Range: You can search for flights within a flexible time frame and see the best prices for each day, or by adding '-/+5 days'

  • Nomad future. This feature, when chosen, shuffles the destinations to create an itinerary for you: you suggest cities, it chooses the best days for the flights. It also offers to combine flights, buses, and trains.

  • Price Alert: You can set up notifications for when the price of your desired flight drops or rises.

However, watch out for 3 scams below kiwi might employ, but you can prevent them if you know about kiwi scams in advance.

A custom round sign on green background that says 'Booking a flight with kiwi.com: the advantages'
A custom round sign on green background that says 'Booking a flight with kiwi.com: the advantages'

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Negatives of booking flights with Kiwi.com

Booking with kiwi.com carries some risks that you should be aware of, such as:

  • Flight Changes or Cancellations: If your flight is changed or canceled by the airline, kiwi.com may not be able to offer you a suitable alternative or a full refund. You may have to pay extra fees or accept vouchers instead of cash. You may also have to deal with poor customer service and long waiting times to resolve your issue.

  • Missed Connections: If you miss your connecting flight due to delays, bad weather, or other reasons, Kiwi.com may not be responsible for rebooking you on another flight or covering your expenses. You may have to buy a new ticket yourself or rely on the Kiwi.com Guarantee  if it applies.

  • Extra Costs: Booking with kiwi flight may involve extra costs that are not included in the initial price, such as baggage fees. You may also have to pay more taxes or fees if you book flights in a different currency or country than your own.

Now, it’s reasonable to expect that baggage fees might be extra, and no one argues with that. However, Kiwi.com also uses some questionable practices lately, that I want you to be aware of.

A round custom sign on a background with shadows that says 'Booking a flight with kiwi: the negative
A round custom sign on a background with shadows that says 'Booking a flight with kiwi: the negative

What is the Kiwi.com Guarantee?

The Kiwi.com Guarantee is a service that covers you in case of flight changes or cancellations by the airline, or missed connections due to delays of more than 1 hour. It only applies if you book all your flights under one itinerary with Kiwi.com.

A warning, this Kiwi.com Guarantee is not much different from the guarantees you get from the airline directly! Read below what Kiwi com guarantee covers and what it doesn't.

is Kiwi.com Guarantee worth it?

Below is the unique and thorough analysis of all cancelation options you have if either you or the airline cancels your flight. This will help you decide for yourself if kiwi.com guarantee worthit.

I uncover everything that you might miss on Kiwi website readong about kiwi guarantee, if you are not paying a specific attention to this.

Which is easy to do, when kiwi.com refers to some of its rules with: "You’ll find the details of your purchased cancelation policy in section 5 of our Terms & Conditions. And then go to subsection 5ii to read the rest of conditions...". Okay, I am just kidding, there is no subsection to section 5, they only ask you to read the well hidden section 5!;)

Warning! Having the Kiwi.com Guarantee doesn’t guarantee you a refund (above €10) if you cancel the trip yourself. Kiwi guarantee mainly provides coverage for trip disruptions caused by the carrier.

Can I get a full refund from Kiwi com?

If you bought Kiwi Guarantee when booking your flight, you will receive a full refund, only if it was the airline's fault! If it were personal reasons, force majeure, or misconduct, Kiwi flights company won't pay you.

If you do not have Guarantee and your flight was canceled by your carrier, you have a chance to receive either a full or partial refund. The link to claim your refund through kiwi.com can be found here.

If you cancel your trip

You can cancel up to 48 hours before departure and be eligible for a refund, but the refund amount depends on the ticket type you chose when booking, here is a link to more information. Keep in mind, you will end up with €10 credit for your next booking on a €500 ( or a $1000) ticket you already bought, if you bought the cheapest saver ticket! Having Kiwi guarantee won’t change that!

If the flight was canceled by the carrier

  • If you have the Kiwi.com Guarantee, you’ll get a full refund for the unused parts of your trip, either in Kiwi.com Credit or back to your original payment method. However, you would get the same protection, without buying any guarantee polices, if you booked directly with the airline.

  • Without the Kiwi.com Guarantee, Kiwi.com will request a refund from the carrier on your behalf, but they state that a refund might not always be possible, as some carriers only refund in vouchers, or they don’t refund at all.  Keep in mind, it will take them up to 6 months to refund your money!

  • If you choose to cancel directly through the carrier, the refund amount can’t be guaranteed by kiwi.com ( presumably, because airline policies vary, but this is a grey area!). Kiwi states that the airline might send the refund to you or to Kiwi.com ( with the possibility for them to hold your money longer than necessary).

So, what was the point of buying Kiwi com Guarantee? A good question many people ask themselves. So, my verdict is - no, buying kiwi.com guarantee is not worth it. I never buy it myself when booking with kiwi flights.

Read here in more details about everything Kiwi.com Guarantee covers. It’s not much at all if you canceled the trip yourself! You might end up with $10 only and in a form of a credit for the next flight!

I don’t know about you, but it sounds quite sketchy, unless you are buying a very cheap $20 ticket. I still use their services for these kind of tickets, as the risk is low. 

But kiwi flights “sweeten the deal” by advising that adding a travel insurance (in addition to their kiwi guarantee) will cover your expenses if you can’t travel due to medical reasons. Duh…

KIWI.COM SCAMS

I have already mentioned borderline legitimate practices of Kiwi com guarantee. I will also discuss here all the complaints they got for not issuing the refund. 

But that's not the only way they will try to scam you.

They’ll try also try to scam you by charging 2-3 times more ( compared to the airline) for an extra baggage if you need it. Or, will forget to acknowledge you already paid for your bag. 

KIWI SCAM #1 - OVERCHARGING FOR BAGGAGE

How will Kiwi.com try to overcharge you? Well, they offer a complimentary service of automatically checking you in 3 days before your flight.

Then, or maybe right after you bought the ticket, they will send you an email, offering you to manage your booking.

And if you want to add an extra bag, they’ll offer you a €59 fee for checking your bag or one extra cabin bag. You have no other choice but to agree.

I got taken advantage of twice (that I know of)! After which I decided to investigate and compare how much it would cost me to add the bag directly from the EasyJet website.

I don’t know if it was by design or not; it took EasyJet a long time to find my reservation by reference numbers provided by the Kiwi website.

I was informed that EasyJet can’t find my flight, and if I bought my air ticket from a 3rd party site (like Kiwi), I should go there to manage my trip.

A screenshot of baggage bundles offered for Alonga Travel author during ticket purchase on kiwi.com
A screenshot of baggage bundles offered for Alonga Travel author during ticket purchase on kiwi.com

A screenshot of baggage bundles offered for Alonga Travel, the author, during the ticket purchase on Kiwi flights.

Notice how they offered a 15 kg checked bag for a €59 fee? Compare the picture below with the same bag offered for €24 on EasyJet.

But I persisted with clicking on different links and finally made EasyJet find my flight.

And the first thing EasyJet website has offered me was €27 Extra Leg Space ticket fee, where I get to have an extra space for my legs + choose a seat for free + bring a large carry-on besides the 1 offered for free without paying!

So, all these listed above extra perks for €27! Or, even - all the above but minus extra leg room - €24 for an Up Front ticket on EasyJet. While Kiwi.com wanted €59 for just one extra bag, & no other perks! So, Kiwi.com was trying to charge me €35 (more than twice) more than I would pay on the airline website.

But that’s not the only way they scam you…

EaseJet offering 27 euro for Extra Legroom ticket
EaseJet offering 27 euro for Extra Legroom ticket

Extra Legroom offering by Easy Jet for 27 euro

Kiwi.com scam #2.

Second Kiwi scam is not showing you paid bags on your phone app to make you pay for it again

Another scam by Kiwi dot com is not to show you your paid bag you already paid for when you booked your air ticket!

Kiwi will send you an email upon automatically checking you in, where they will only list your one free small cabin bag ( see below), and the extra bag you’re planning to check in and already paid for during the ticket purchase through them is not listed.

Now, if you bought your air ticket in advance, do you remember if you already paid for the extra bag you are planning to check in, or not? I didn’t—and paid for the bag again.

And then, when you already paid for the same bag again, they send you a new email, where they show that you have 2 paid bags to check in! When you already need one! And it’s too late to do anything about that, you already paid!

Good luck reaching them and demanding a refund, or explaining to your bank why you want to dispute the transaction!

A screenshot of no paid checked bag showed on their email conformation to you 3 days before your flight, even though you already paid for one checked bag during the initial booking 3 months ago ( which you don't even remember now).

Kiwi. com scam #3

Kiwi.com not refunding you money that the airline paid them when they cancel your flight. Or, taking their sweet time (6 months) to do so. Or, only refunding $11 from an expensive ticket. 

This is a highly questionable practice of kiwi.com!

If your flight was canceled by the airline, you’re entitled to a full refund or a choice of a different flight. The airline refunds the 3rd party booking agency, Kiwi in our case, the money. They are supposed to refund you that funds immediately.

Except, that doesn't always happen!

Read through kiwi.com reviews.

Kiwi.com reviews flights

There are so many complaints about that and many bad reviews about kiwi.com! In fact, kiwi.com was rated only 1.7 starts on Trustpilot.

TripAdvisor also has over 6,000 complains about Kiwi.com, you can read about some of the TripAdvisor complaints here.

That is because while air ticket purchases on kiwi.com supposedly come with 24/7 customer support & the Kiwi.com Guarantee, but it seems it's not always the case.

Now, the disclaimer. I, personally, never had to claim a refund with Kiwi.com. I am only aware of this problem that some people were having from their  numerous reviews.

But I did thoroughly analyzed all kiwi website posts on all the scenarios they will issue a refund, and all guarantee terms and conditions, and it's pretty sketchy.

But I had a firsthand experience with the 1st, and the 2nd scam.

So, above are the 3 scams by Kiwi.com to watch out for.

Do your math! I did mine, and, while I might still buy air tickets from Kiwi.com in the future if I see a great deal on a one-way air ticket (without the extra bag during the ticket purchase), I will make sure to go to the EasyJet (or whoever) website 30 days before a flight and add some extra perks, including a paid baggage.

FAQ

What does kiwi.com GUARANTEE covers. 

The Kiwi.com Guarantee offers you the following benefits:

  • Alternative Flight: Kiwi.com will try to find and book you an alternative flight to your destination as soon as possible, at no extra cost to you.

  • Accommodation: Kiwi.com will cover the cost of accommodation for up to 2 nights if you have to wait for your alternative flight for more than 8 hours during the day or 4 hours during the night.

  • Food and Drink: Kiwi.com will cover the cost of food and drink for up to 3 meals per day if you have to wait for your alternative flight for more than 4 hours.

  • Transport: Kiwi.com will cover the cost of transport between the airport and your accommodation, or between different airports if needed.

  • Refund: Kiwi.com will refund you the full price of your original ticket if you decide not to take the alternative flight offered by them.

The Kiwi.com Guarantee does not cover you in case of:

  • Personal Reasons: If you cancel or change your flight due to personal reasons, such as illness, injury, death, etc., you will have to follow the cancellation or change policy of the airline and pay any fees or penalties that apply.

  • Force Majeure: If your flight is affected by force majeure events, such as natural disasters, wars, strikes, etc., you will have to follow the policy of the airline and Kiwi.com will not be liable for any compensation or assistance.

  • Fraud or Misconduct: If you provide false or misleading information, misuse or abuse the service, or violate any terms and conditions of Kiwi.com or the airline, you will lose the benefits of the Kiwi.com Guarantee and may face legal action.

Take a note, these are a lot of cases you would not be covered by the Guarantee, even though you have paid for it! 

For more information, you can visit the Kiwi.com Guarantee page.

How to Claim the Kiwi.com Guarantee?

If you need to claim the Kiwi.com Guarantee, you should contact Kiwi.com as soon as possible through their website or app. You will need to provide your booking number, flight details, and proof of your expenses (such as receipts or invoices).

Don't bother looking for kiwi.com phone number: it's impossible to find. 

Kiwi.com will review your claim and process it within 14 days. It may take up to 6 months for you to get that refund in your bank.  You can check the status of your claim online or through their app.

Is kiwi.com ATOL protected

No, Kiwi.com is not covered by ATOL, because it’s inapplicable for this regulation. ATOL only applies to companies based in the UK and not those located overseas.

Kiwi.com is a Czech Republic registered company that operates online and is not subject to ATOL regulations

What is ATOL

In the UK, all companies selling package holidays must have ATOL membership by law. This includes package holidays that include flights, accommodation, and/or car hire.

ATOL membership also covers certain Flight-Only bookings sold by UK travel companies if they cease trading.

Is Kiwi.com Worth It?

To conclude my post, kiwi.com is worth it if you are looking for cheap flights and don’t mind taking some risks and inconveniences. It can help you save money and time by finding combinations of flights that other websites cannot.

It can also offer you some protection and assistance in case of flight disruptions with its Kiwi.com Guarantee, but only some, without the real guarantees. 

However, kiwi.com is not worth it if you prefer booking directly with the airline and having more control and security over your trip. 

Therefore, before booking with Kiwi flight you should weigh the pros and cons carefully and decide what matters more to you: price or convenience. You should also read the terms and conditions of Kiwi.com and the airline carefully and compare prices and options with other websites.

I hope this blog post has helped you understand more about Kiwi.com and whether it is legit, safe and reliable for booking flights!

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