departure

Weight Control

Feel free to pack your entire wardrobe (evening gown, too, 'cos you never know...) next time you whiz down for a two-day rendezvous in the Cape winelands – because you can afford to! You can purchase extra bags online or via our Contact Centre at reduced rates (up to 33 percent less). If, at the time of booking, you're not sure that you'll require additional weight, it's not a problem – you can always add any additional baggage later online up to 2 hours prior to departure, or via the Contact Centre.

Now, just a heads-up: when you opt for the extra bags baggage option, remember there are no refunds if you change your mind after 2 hours prior to departure. If you're unsure, there is always the option to pay for extra bags at the airport – but this is going to cost a little bit extra per bag than doing it online prior to departure.

Special note:

If you're travelling with pets: There is a flat rate charged per pet and its container. Its always safer to call the Contact Centre before travelling with a pet. Pets need to be paid for at the airport on the day of departure.

When travelling with sports equipment, if it fits into one bag along with your other goodies and weighs 20kg, there is no additional fee. However if the equipment is in a seperate piece of luggage you'll need to pay for an extra bag either online or at the airport.


Bomb threats

kulula check in: 'Do you have any sharp objects in your possession?'
Passenger: 'No, just a bomb.'

This was an exchange between a staff member and passenger at the kulula check-in counter at George airport in March. It was the fourth bomb threat made at the airport this year. While we at kulula love to make our fans smile, bomb threats are no laughing matter. The customer who made the comment was immediately isolated, questioned and sent to court the same day, and his bags thoroughly checked.

Because we're super-concerned about your safety, we take false bomb threats very seriously. The Civil Aviation Act states that anyone who 'communicates information which he or she knows to be false, thereby endangering the safety of an aircraft in service, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment not exceeding 30 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.'

So statements, jokes and false threats is an absolute no-no, even when you're flying with other airlines.

Manage your booking

Changing your flight booking on kulula is easy. Simply select 'manage my booking'  to view the available options. Please note that any booking changes are subject to a change fee. There is one online change allowed per booking. Alternatively, buzz the kulula Contact Centre on 0861 KULULA (585852). And don't forget to have your booking reference code handy before you ring us. This option will cost you an additional 80 bucks (a service fee; includes VAT). This means it's cheaper to change online. Fees are charged per person per flight. Don't forget you'll also have to pay in if there's a difference in fares. If you want to change your flight at the airport, zoot over to our ticket sales desk before check-in. If you have already missed your flight, sorry, you can't change your booking. You can only change future-dated bookings.

We'll help you change what we can but we are not able to change traveller names. So ensure you have the exact detail as found on their identification.

When can I change my booking?
For domestic flights: online up to 24 hours before you fly, or through the Contact Centre or airport ticket sales desk two hours before you fly. Otherwise, you will lose your ticket. Remember that these changes are subject to availability.

I've swopped my flights but I want to change back…
Sorry, once you've changed your booking it's finished and klaar. If you want to change to your original booking, you'll have to pay up. So be sure you're sure before you change your flights.

How do I change the name on my ticket?
There are no name changes allowed on bookings made. You're able to make name corrections.

Manage your booking now


Flight delays

Delays happen to all airlines and, yes, we know they are annoying. Trust us, we know. But they do happen, and are caused by a number of factors.

Below are a few examples of what can go wrong and what we try to avoid everyday:

  • Rotational delays this is when an earlier flight has been delayed and has a knock-on effect on the rest of the flights
  • Crew delays, these are within our control and we try our best to sort these out ASAP

There are external factors that affect delays and we as an airline have no control over:

  • Baggage delays, catering and air-traffic control, which are handled externally or by ACSA.
  • At super-busy airports like OR Tambo International, we sometimes have to wait for an incoming plane to land before our fans can jet-set safely off

Often the Pilot will fly a little faster to catch up on a small delay so that by the time you land, you're actually 'on time' again. We try to catch up some of the delayed time in the turnarounds, but since they are so short it doesn't give us much time to play with. Unfortunately if your flight was heavily delayed in the morning, it's quite likely that by the afternoon, we are still delaying other passengers because of it. We immediately notify our fans by sending them an SMS when we know that a flight will be delayed. This is followed by regular SMS updates to inform them of the new estimated time of departure.


Not your usual ABC's

Pilots are a cool bunch … wearing aviator shades, riding 'first class' upfront and talking their own lingo. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) phonetic alphabet is widely used throughout the airline industry. Aside from sounding Hollywood, it also ensures that pilots, traffic controllers and airline customer-service folks are clearly understood. So when you're ordering your next in-flight snack from the air-hostess-with-the-mostest, try it out:

A – Alpha
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Foxtrot
G – Golf
H – Hotel
I – India
J – Juliet
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whisky
X – X-ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

Fans with disabilities - a helping hand

For our fans with disabilities who love to fly as much as we do, we're going out of our way to give that little bit extra, and have made the following services available:

  • Wheelchair assistance for all our fans who can't walk long distances due to injury or disability.
  • A Passenger Aid Unit (PAU) service for all paraplegic and quadriplegic fans who have their own wheelchairs.
  • For visually impaired fans, we allow guide dogs onboard.
  • Our meet-and-assist service is there to help our fans who are not familiar with the airport operations to get around.

Give our Contact Centre a tinkle on 0861 KULULA (585852). They will confirm availability pronto and make the booking. Just remember that all special-needs requests must be made at least 24 hours prior to flight departure, and check in is 90 minutes before departure for all our special-needs fans. Once you have been checked in, we will take you to the designated waiting area. From here you'll be escorted to the aircraft and introduced to our fab crew who will cater to your needs during the flight.

At your destination, one of our ground staff members will escort you, assist with your baggage collection and take you to meet your welcoming party.


Travelling with pets

We're often asked if our fans can bring their pets along on the flight (after all, pets need holidays too – all that looking cute and eating can really take it out of you). So, if you're wondering whether your handsome Boston terrier called Sepp can travel with you, here are the guidelines:

  • Only domestic cats and dogs can fly, but they'll have to fly pet class (super deluxe accommodation where Animal Planet runs non-stop). Only visually impaired fans are allowed to bring their guide dogs into the cabin (just make sure you let us know in advance so we can get the Captain's okay).
  • To get access to pet class, you'll need to check your furry (or scaly) friend in when you drop off your luggage. Even though pets are checked in as cargo, they're not stuffed into the same place as all the bags. Pets travel in a special section of the plane located near the front with the same cabin pressure and temperature as everyone else on board.
  • Your pet must travel in a suitable container so that our staff can ensure they are carefully buckled in. The container must have enough space for the pet to turn about normally while standing, to sit and lie in a natural position. To determine the correct dimensions, the kennel length is the distance from the root of the tail to the tip of the nose plus half the elbow to ground measurement.
  • It is your responsibility as the owner to ensure your pet is suitably sedated to lessen any anxiety or stress while flying. Your vet can give you advice on what's suitable.
  • You need to obtain the necessary health and vaccination certificates and other documentation for your pet, as these may be requested at the airport before you take off. If you fail to present these your pet may be refused on board (and will go into a massive sulk). A quick visit to the vet will sort this out.
  • Your pet, container and food carrier will be weighed at the airport and charged R350, it it must weigh under 20kg. If everything weighs more than 20kg, you'll have to pay a heavy bag fee or R250.
  • Make a reservation for Fluffy or Butch at least 72 hours prior to departure on 0861 KULULA (585852).

Airport taxes and fees research

Every time a passenger buys a flight ticket he/she is charged airport taxes, which differ from airline to airline. It is often assumed that all airport taxes are charged by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and the airline, when in fact only the 'passenger service charge' portion goes to ACSA. The rest of the fees go towards security charges, the Civil Aviation Authority, safety charges, fuel levies and SARS tourism levies.

Airport taxes may include the following:
  • ACSA's Passenger Service Charge
    The Passenger Service Charge (PSC) is normally reflected on airline tickets as "airport taxes", and is often included along other non-ACSA related charges. The PSC is independently regulated in a manner that ensures protection for both the passenger and ACSA. The PSC is charged to the passenger, per passenger on departures only (categorised into domestic, regional and international flights).
  • The aircraft landing fee
    An aircraft landing fee is charged to the airline, this charge is built into the total ticket price. It is categorised by maximum aircraft take-off weight and depends on whether the flight is domestic, regional or international.
  • The aircraft parking fee
    An aircraft parking fee is charged to the airlines for aircrafts parked for longer than 4 hours. This fee may vary depending on how close to the terminal the aircraft is parked. So passengers pay for the convenience of not having to take airport shuttles to board.
  • The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) compliance charge
    SACAA (which regulates and oversees the functioning and development of the airline industry) charges a fee to airlines to promote and maintain a safe, secure and sustainable civil aviation industry.
  • Airline fuel surcharge
    This non-regulated charge is applied by the airline and is frequently the single largest component of the so-called airport taxes.
Why airport taxes differ from airline to airline
  • The airport: Airport taxes may differ depending on the airport the passenger is leaving from or arriving at. There are also fees levied for insurance and security measures. The better the airport security the more the charge may be. The type of airport facilities also has an effect of the fees that passengers pay. So it may cost less to leave from one airport versus another.
  • The price of fuel: When the price of fuel increases, airlines may add fuel surcharges to compensate for the cost of fuel; this cost is then passed onto the passenger.

Ticket pricing

Here at kulula Headquarters, we regularly get asked why the price of tickets can yo-yo (even in the course of a day). Without getting into complicated economics, our prices are determined mainly by supply and demand, like all airlines. Basically, an air ticket is likely to be higher in demand around public holidays, long weekends and school holidays, as well as close to matches. As a result, one should expect to pay higher prices than normal during these times. Because of demand and limited supply (we only have so many planes), we suggest booking air tickets well in advance to get the best deals.

The further back a plan is made, the fewer the factors are that can affect demand and therefore price. That said, we monitor each of our flights daily and if there aren't enough bums in seats on an off-peak flight, we'll lower the ticket price to get as many fans on the flight as possible. If you're a bit of gambler and like doing things last-minute, it can be a way to enjoy some great deals. Because some of our biggest costs (such as fuel) are dollar based, prices are constantly changing (based on exchange rates). With the ability to book six to nine months in advance, kulula fans can get some great deals if for example, the dollar gets more expensive against the rand later on. Predicting what these costs will be far ahead in the future is anyone's guess, though. Fortunately, real-time pricing allows us to adjust our prices to these fluctuations.