Skip to main content

How Jambojet's Pricing Works

Jambo Jet's pricing is driven by a goal to sell all seats at the highest price passengers are willing to pay
Jambojet's pricing is driven by a goal to sell all seats at the highest price passengers are willing to pay
Just how much does a Jambojet flight cost?

For many, the launch of Jambojet came with great expectations, that it would now cost the price of a bus ticket to fly.

Jambojet’s introductory prices were not far off,  at about KSh. 3,000 - KSh. 4,000,  which comes to about double to thrice what you would pay for a bus.

Many people, however, feel that Jambojet has not made flying any more affordable, with some stating that even Kenya Airways is cheaper at times.

What’s the truth? Both cases are true. This is how.

First,  we need to understand how low-cost airlines such as Jambojet work. The easiest analogy for a Kenyan would be that they work the same way a matatu works.

Fares to Rongai by matatu vary from KSh. 20 in the morning all the way to KSh. 150 on an average day and KSh. 300 on some days, such as when it rains.

Low-cost airlines price their fares, in the same way,  varying from low fares all the way to fares that cost more than standard fares.

Like matatus, low-cost airline fares are priced around demand. At the same time, a low-cost airline looks at maximising the amount of money it can make off a single flight - it’s business.

As such, during normal demand periods, most passengers will pay lower fares compared to non-standard airlines. A few seats will, however, have a high fare - these are targeted at customers who badly need a seat and are ready to pay whatever price.  It makes more business sense for the airline to sell these seats to the highest bidder as they make more money.

During peak demand period, such as during Christmas season, most of the fares will be on the higher side due to demand.

Additionally, if you book months in advance, you also get to enjoy lower fares.

A low-cost airlines fare will thus start low and rise as the flight gets closer as long as there is demand. If the flight is not full by flight date, fares will start dropping again and may fall to their lowest just before the flight,  depending on how many empty seats are left.

Should a passenger cancel their flight a day or a few hours before the flight, the seat will be resold,  the cost depending again on demand and how many other empty seats the plane has.

Important to note is that a low-cost airline is literally a cheap ticket. It therefore neither includes meals, seat selection, checked in baggage and other standard airline services.

Should you want to select a window seat,  check in luggage or have a sandwich on board, all these will be billed an additional fare above what you paid for your seat! To keep the cost of a seat as low as possible, the airline focuses on getting you from point A to point B for as cheap as possible. Some airlines even have reduced legroom.

More important to note, low-cost airlines are known for their propensity to delay flights or move you to an earlier flight depending on demand. If you need more reliability,  you will have to opt for a standard fare flight.

Think of it this way - if you were just travelling with a single bag from Nairobi to Malindi, why should the airline add the cost of checked in luggage and food to your ticket,  yet you don’t need these.

Seat selection is, of course, a way for the airline to bill passengers for preferences. If you value a window seat or a spacious fire exit seat, then it follows you will most likely be ready to pay for it.

All said, how do you ensure the most affordable ticket on Jambojet? I analysed their fares to Malindi for about month around December, and this is how you would have fared.

A PDF of the analysed fares can be viewed here. Fares were collected on some days, and twice on other days. 

Jambojet recently said that they had recorded increased demand during this holiday season, notably in Malindi where demand increased the highest.

Typically, flights to Malindi will cost between KSh. 5,200 to KSh. 8,200,  with some passengers paying as much as KSh. 11,200. Other airlines will bill you KSh. 11,000 - KSh. 13,000.

How Jambojet's pricing works

Jambojet's standard fare appears to be KSh. 7,200. Booking months in advance will get you this fare. Booking 4 to 5 days in advance will get you the same fare.

Booking more than a few days in advance might, however, result in higher fares.

A look at the Jambojet website shows that Sundays have the lowest flight demand to Malindi followed by Mondays.

Outside the festive period and holidays that fall on Fridays and/or Mondays, you can fly to Malindi at KSh. 5,200 by booking your Sunday flight any day the preceding week.

Tuesday records the highest demand and consequently the highest fares to Malindi.

We also see that you are likely to enjoy the lowest fares the night before the flight, or on the morning of the flight. This is, however, a gamble, for your flight can be full such that there is no flight available the night before or on that morning.

The below table depicts that low fares are likely to be available on the morning of a flight, or about a week to the flight. Next day fares tend to be high in the morning and low in the night to the flight.

Next Day
Next available flight date
Next available flight fare
Cheapest available flight date
Cheapest fare
23/11/16 10:41 AM
No Flights
KSh. 8,200
KSh. 5,200
28/11/16 10:19 AM
No Flights
KSh. 5,200
KSh. 5,200
3/12/16 2:16 PM
KSh. 5,200
KSh. 5,200
KSh. 5,200
4/12/16 12:08 AM
KSh. 14,200
KSh. 5,200
KSh. 5,200
5/12/16 7:31 PM
No Flights
KSh. 11,200
KSh. 9,200
6/12/16 10:21 PM
No Flights
KSh. 14,200
KSh. 10,200
9/12/16 8:39 AM
KSh. 7,200
KSh. 7,200
KSh. 5,200
13/12/16 7:23 AM
KSh. 12,200
KSh. 5,200
KSh. 5,200
13/12/16 10:24 PM
KSh. 7,200
KSh. 7,200
KSh. 7,200
17/12/16 10:21 PM
KSh. 14,200
KSh. 14,200
KSh. 14,200
21/12/16 10:36 PM
No Flights
KSh. 11,200
KSh. 11,200

Going back to our earlier chart, the flight of December 18th perfectly illustrates how the pricing of a seat varies over time. On November 23rd,  it would have cost you KSh. 9,200,  before climbing to KSh. 11,200 by December 3rd. By December 9th,  the fare drops to KSh. 8,200,  but is back at KSh. 11,200 by December 13th,  before dropping slightly to KSh. 10,200 the next day and to a bargain KSh. 5,200 by December 15th,  three days before the flight.

Two days before the flight on December 15th,  no seats are available. One day before on December 17th, no seats can be found on the morning, but later in the day, we see a seat for KSh. 14,200.

In mid-November, you could, however, book flights for KSh. 7,200 a number of days before the flight,  or KSh. 5,200 on the morning of the flight or the night before.  Flights tend to be costlier about 2 - 3 days before.

Checking in an extra bag is billed at KSh. 500 while seat selection costs KSh. 500. Drinks and sandwiches are available on board at about the same price a restaurant would charge (restaurant,  not a super market!)

So, there you go. Those are the dynamics of how much you are likely to pay on Jambojet. The same dynamics will apply to other routes to a large extent.

Study fares for the next few weeks to spot which days have the lowest costs. Alternatively,  pay 7 to 4 days before for standard fares, or take a gamble and pay the evening before or the morning of your flight for the chance of the lowest fares.

The pattern is standard fare months in advance, higher fares more than a few days in advance, standard fares 4 to 5 days in advance,  higher fares 1 to 3 days in advance, and lowest fares night before or day of your flight.

This pattern however is more akin to gambling and works on the assumption that there will be a few empty seats on the flight. Like gambling, the method is not guaranteed!

Click to read the next post: The joys Watamu has to offer as a holiday destination


Popular posts from this blog

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

Eating out on a budget in Oslo

Eating out in Oslo can be quite pricey, with a decent meal in a non-fancy place setting you back about $20 or in the range of 150 Norwegian Kronor.

If travelling on a budget, then you may need a few tips beyond McDonalds or Burger King.
You can try food trucks which tend to be less pricier.Supermarkets are a great choice if you're here for just a few days. For example, at Menu, you can get a variety of breads and sandwiches for breakfast from $10 or Nok 10, while lunch can be found in salads, lasagne pieces or pizza for about $5 to $7 (Nok 50 to Nok 70 or about 4 to 5 Euros) Oslo has many parks all over the city. In summer you can buy take out from the supermarket and enjoy your meal while also enjoying the park. A budget shouldn't keep you from enjoying Oslo.

Why Kenyans love Kigali (Part 2)

See part 1 of why Kenyans Love Kigali, which this articl is a continuation.

In my previous post on why Kenyans love Kigali, or Rwanda for that matter, I had mentioned on the security of the city. The post however widely dealt with the feel and appearance of the city, and a little bit of the country.

Both of my visits to Kigali have been through the airport, though you may opt for a more adventurous journey by road. Getting to Kigali then required a Kenyan passport, but no visa. Now, all you need to go through both Uganda and Rwandan borders are a National Identity Card.

For travel by air, Rwandair is a cheaper option for Kenyans as compared to our national flag carrier, Kenya Airways. Ironically, most other Africans get to Kigali via Kenya Airways, thought most Kenyans will opt for the cheaper Rwandair. The flights are comfortable and the service on board the 1 hour 15 minutes flight is great.

Depending on the weather, your landing can be quite full of turbulence in Kigali. The airpor…

How much Nairobi Residents Pay in Rent

In my last post, I explained how difficult for people looking for housing in Nairobi. The main challenge is lack of information. On this front, I began a project that will collect some information, which will provide some start for those looking for housing in different areas in the city.

In the last one month, 33 people have given their responses.

Interesting enough, majority of the respondents, 16 to be exact, live in 2 bedrooms. This may mean that either 2 bedrooms are the most popular rentals in the city, or the most available. Only one way to find out - if you live in a 2 bedroom rental, here’s another survey.

10 of those who filled in the survey live in self contained 1 bedrooms.

5 people have 3 bedrooms, including 2 in Kikuyu, 1 in Ngong and Lower Kabete each, and another around Langata/National Park.

1 respondent has a 4 bedroom, while another one has a self contained bedsitter.

Turning to pricing, the price of 1 bedrooms ranges from Kshs. 10,000 in Rongai to Kshs…

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…