Important Update: We have received many complaints about Kiwi, and it was even stated this article is paid. This is NOT a paid review. No one paid us!
This is a 100% genuine review; and even a guide for you to be smart and stay safe when booking flights. Please keep reading; we clearly state you should not rely on the Kiwi guarantee!
Important update to Covid-19: Due to the Coronavirus Crisis, we recommend booking your flights directly with the official website of the Airline like Qatarairways.com. At the moment we do not recommend using any 3rd party agents like Skyscanner, Kiwi or others. The airline itself has the absolute latest news on restrictions and cancelled flights.
Important: it is your own responsibility to check if, how and who can enter a specific country or take a transit flight.
Safe travels and take care,
We do not claim it’s the only website we use, but it’s part of our process finding flights every single time. And yes, we book our flights with kiwi and other websites like Omio.com as well!
We are pointing out the good, the bad, the ugly, why you can use it and when to avoid Kiwi.
In this detailed article I will walk you through our research process for finding flights, followed by the actual booking itself. Is this Kiwi.com legit? Yes, but it depends….and I will tell you why, based on my personal experience.
I will share in detail how I found flights across Europe for only 9€ and crossed continents for a sweet price.
In a nutshell, the top features of Kiwi are the date range, the so-called radius search and the combination of airlines. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Update: After we used this booking engine so many times and since we love their service, we teamed up with them. You can now book your flights directly here as an Hostelgeeks affiliate.
We even received a special promotional code for our readers, using Kiwi, read here.
1. The Research Process
Whenever I have to catch a flight, there are 3 several websites I check out.
Without even thinking about it, I open the following three websites in my browser:
This is always my starting point! Over the years, these platforms have proved to be great resources. I do not open and check them in any priority, it’s mostly random.
My first steps to find flights is checking connections. Is my destination actually reachable from my out flying airport? The second issue is the price range. I prefer to know if I am going to spend 20€ or something closer to 1000€.
Google Flights covers the biggest range of airlines. BUT: They also do not cover all airlines in the world. I had to take a flight from Mexico to Spain, Google Flights did not show flights with Emirates.
Not sure if this was a one-time thing. But always keep this in mind. Always compare websites!
Type in your destination and let Google Flight do the magic.
I use Skyscanner for:
Skyscanner is fast loading and I love to check it out for comparing airline rates on specific dates.
It also comes with the multi city feature. Back in November 2017 they added their inspirational map.
It shows you cheap destinations in your area. You can filter by price and set the dates yourself. An interesting tool! Of course, since then they updated and implemented more and more cool features.
Skyscanner also shows now flights from Kiwi.com. So when you check Skyscanner, you might up ending using Kiwi.com anyways.
I use Kiwi for:
I use Kiwi for finding cheaper destinations and dates to fly.
It is especially handy when I am looking for inspiration. Give me a good deal to a destination I’ve never been to and I’m in!
Obviously, I use all four websites to compare the rates.
Our final booking is made with kiwi.com or any other booking engine. So again, we do not only book with Kiwi, we also use the official website directly and Skyscanner.
So far we never ever used any discount websites for booking flights.
However, after comparing prices, it is the kiwi guarantee that makes it so convenient. Remember, I still check the airline directly to compare the rates. More info on the booking process here.
I use Omio.com for (update)
Since 2019, we are also using Omio.com a lot. It is a super fantastic tool to find transport, especially over Europe. So so so handy and easy!
You can compare flights, trains and buses.
I especially love the simple overview of your chosen flight. For instance, I checked a flight from Paris, France to Bangkok, Thailand.
Your flight has a layover in Helsinki Vantaa Airport (HEL)
Your flight is an early morning arrival to Bangkok (BKK)
This is an overnight journey
It shows you the bullet points on important information right away. See the screenshot below.
Besides the fact that we used this engine a lot, her are the most popular routes for this meta flight search:
Bangkok – Phuket City
Bangkok – Chiang Mai
Lima – Cusco
Bogotá – Medellín
Bogotá – Cartagena
Krabi – Bangkok
Mexico City – Cancún
Bogotá – Cartagena
London – Athens
Medellín – Cartagena
Istanbul – Antalya
Paris – New York City
Prague – London
Los Angeles – Guadalajara
Cusco – Lima
Istanbul – Kayseri
London – Barcelona
Seoul – Tokyo
London – Kiev
Vienna – Palma de Mallorca
2. Features of Kiwi.com
Time to have a closer look. Here I share the features that make Kiwi such a great flight hack and time saver.
2.1 Search Radius
My absolute favorite feature is the search radius. This takes researching flights to a whole new level.
What does that mean?
Instead of typing in a fixed destination, you draw a circle on the map.
The app searches for flights in this radius. It shows you all the different destinations and the cheapest air fare in a handy way.
You can filter for cheapest flights and direct connections.
It also shows you the rates of all the other destinations around your circle. Maybe you missed a good opportunity here?
So, when do you need this feature?
This is useful when you are looking for flights to a country or area, rather than a specific city.
Let’s say you want to go to South East Asia, coming from Europe.
While Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are the main hubs to find cheap rates, there are still many others to consider. Maybe something you did not have in mind in the first place?
Ho Chi Minh City for instance or Jakarta, Indonesia are not to be underestimated.
Imagine you would like to fly from New York City to Spain – with no specific city like Barcelona or Madrid.
Select “Spain” as a range and kiwi will display all the options. It shows even near areas nearby your selected range in case you want to change your mind.
The screenshots below show how it works.
Update: Drawing a Circle in Kiwi
Kiwi updated their functionality. Unfortunately now it is not so easy any more to find the “radius search”.
We do not know why they removed this since this is an epic feature.
However, we found a way to use this feature of radius search still.
Type in your destination
Click on the same field next to your destination again
the drop down will then show “XYZ Destination + 250km)
Choose this one
Now you have a circle above your desired destination
via drag and drop you can move the radius and make it even bigger and smaller
Solved! Luckily, the circle or radius feature is still there.
We made a quick video about Kiwis Radius search and how you can activate this again.
2.2 Fly Anywhere
For inspiration, Kiwi is my go-to website.
Just type in your departure airport and set the destination to “anywhere”. You can set the date to a fixed one or select a date range, for instance March and April.
In fact, “Anywhere” is the default destination.
Hit the search button and see what comes out. This helps us to get an idea of cheaper destinations out there.
It puts destinations on your map that you may not have considered beforehand.
2.3 Multi-city Feature
Another feature I always miss with the many flight search engines out there. Choose multiple cities and go around the world.
World-hopping if you will!
Kiwi combines different airlines and schedules which makes it so easy for a world traveler to travel from A to B to C and D.
Again, this is very, very important: they combined several airlines. You can book several airlines with 1 click!
You can select exact dates or even a date range.
You can even spot the cheapest prices on the calendar while you are choosing the dates.
It is 100% flexible!
They even guarantee that you will get your connecting flight. If not, there is always the Kiwi Guarantee.
Please, please please, even if they guarantee the connections, use your head before booking. Do not choose any connection flights with tight connections ( We do recommend 3 hours between flights minimum). The kiwi guarantee might cover your lost flight, but it is much better to avoid tight connections.
Another option here is also comparing different destinations. Or even combining your fight with other transport.
As an example: you could land in Napoli. Rent a car, visit the famous Amalfi coast, impressive Pompeii… and drive to Rome. Then continue traveling from Rome.
You are not sure which destination you wanna fly? Maybe the price will help you to decide.
Now it is not necessary to have 4 different windows with the destinations you would like.
E.g.: You are not sure about going to London or Germany after Paris?
Just compare the prices between them. kiwi will let you know all the options. Simple as that.
2.4 Combining Different Airlines
The Multicity Feature in particular requires booking with different airlines. Kiwi combines them for you.
They look for the cheapest flight combinations out there, no matter what.
They cover the major airlines around the world such as
Is this website is legit? Is Kiwi reliable and safe? We all want to score the cheapest flights out there.
Update: As mentioned in the beginning, so many users claim Kiwi to be a scam, to be fraud, unreliable, you name it. There’s a lot of bad reviews about Kiwi. More in our cons section.
While we take these complaints serious and publish them here in the comments too (if language allows), we can only share here our own experience. Again, we actually book our flights with Kiwi too – NOT ONLY with kiwi, but we do use them. I am adding below our confirmation email of one of our first flights with kiwi from 2017 and 2020 even.
We are not just saying this. We actually used them in the past and still use them! But, be aware, it is one of many we use. It is not the only one!!! As I also pointed out, I would not rely on the kiwi guarantee.
The 1 Million Dollar Question: Is Kiwi.com a scam?
Answer: No, Kiwi is not a scam; that’s just too much to state. They do have a lot of happy customers. Even Skyscanner links you to Kiwi. However, it is not a very reliable website with a perfect customer service. So, if there is a problem with your booking/ flight, it’s not good. If your flight has no issues, you will love Kiwi.
Back to the website; it is quite rare to be willing to pay more just because the app or website looks cool. Right?!
So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room:
Is it cheaper?
And is it trustworthy?
is Kiwi ok and safe to book with?
As mentioned at the beginning, I compare different airlines and booking portals. Always. The websites I compare are:
The chances of finding cheaper flights with Kiwi are quite high. However, airlines official websites could be even cheaper right?!
After all, the official websites of hostels tend to be cheaper than booking platforms. This rule does not seem to apply always. My opinion: Always compare as there is no generic rule.
Almost every booking engine has their own agreement with the airlines.
Some of them can give you a better price, sometimes there are special offers. I don’t know the background, and it doesn’t matter to a traveler.
All I want: a cheaper flight!
On our flight from Sri Lanka to Munich I used kiwi.com. Before hitting the book-button, I compared the airline’s rate.
As it turns out, I saved a sweet 56€ – by using kiwi.com!
Again, I used them for several flights as I got the best deal with them. So far I have had no issue with missed flight connections or lost baggage. Let’s hope this continues.
But…what if something happens? Delayed or cancelled flights, for instance? This is where the Kiwi Guarantee kicks in.
4. Kiwi Guarantee (we…, not really…)
First things first: In our opinion, we would not rely 100% on this guarantee. When things go well, it’s fine, obviously. When things go not as planned, then it can get complicated. And this is exactly where all these bad reviews for Kiwi are coming from.
Kiwi is quite confident when it comes to its booking service. They promise you that you will catch your connection.
After all, this is how their algorithm runs.
And if something happens, they are there for you to help you out. During our research I came across some really bad reviews. Some of them were quite harsh. And yes, you guys leave bad reviews for Kiwi here as well. We publish them if your language allows.
So, what was this all about?
Is there a reason to be nervous about Kiwi?
There is always a risk when booking flights with separate companies. If you miss a connection, because of the first delayed flight, well, good luck.
You have to buy a new ticket and the one you missed only serves as a bad souvenir.
Kiwi guarantees that you will catch your next flight(s). They are that confident, they made a whole page about it, promoting it heavily.
They will help you…BUT: they says they need your help! You should make yourself familiar with their service.
This way, and only this way, they can help you in case something goes wrong with your flight.
The guarantee protects you from:
If any of these events happen, Kiwi guarantees an alternative flight or to refund the price for the unused ticket. But, again, you have to follow their rules. Their guarantee needs your cooperation.
To quote from their website:
Inform Kiwi as soon as you are aware of any of the situations above (delay, cancellation, schedule changes)
Respond within 24 hours to all Kiwi offers
Don’t make any flight changes without their approval
If Kiwi agrees that you should buy a flight that’s not available online, they need to receive your email with proof of payment within 14 days
This is really important to remember.
Although these instructions are fairly easy, I understand it might be hard to remember in a situation of stress.
Missing a flight for instance. Nobody likes that. However, keep calm, Kiwi will help you out. Check out their full guarantee here.
That being said, we never had to claim anything in our flights. We never missed a flight we booked with Kiwi. So we never ever had to check if the guarantee will fully take care of you.
And here is thing: There is many many many complaints on the web about Kiwi not following through with their guarantee. While we have zero ways to confirm this, some stories by travelers seem legit, others sound more like it was their own “fault“.
Therefore, here is our best tip: Do not rely on their guarantee! Only book flights you can guarantee yourself you will catch them. For instance, having only 1 hour for changing flights in Kuala Lumpur will be most likely impossible!
Use your own brain to see which connection flights are doable – and which one are not. We have seen connection flights with only 1 hour and 20 minutes for transition – in London! This is impossible, too.
Update: Travelgenio and travel2be are also travel agents you should not rely on. Read this reddit conversation between customers.
This section is important to everyone with special requests for their food. When I booked one of my flight to Germany, I forgot to mention that I am Vegetarian.
To be honest, to me it’s normal in a way and I always find vegetarian options.
Well, not so on a plane – for obvious reasons.
I was served some chicken and I had to give it back obviously. I simply forgot to add this to my booking. The stewardess brought me some fruits they still had, that was at least something. This was really my mistake; I really forgot to mention it.
Therefore, pay attention and leave a comment with your booking about any special requests like being vegetarian, glutenfree etc.
This helps to stay not hungry on your travels like me.
Again, lucky enough, the stewardess helped out with the fruit and I bought always bring a sandwich or something similar on my flights. That helped….
5. Cons of kiwi.com
Although I am a huge fan of this web application, there are few cons I want to share. I do not claim this is the best freaking website out there and pretend there are now CONS.
Without them, this review would not be complete and certainly not honest. That being said, you will notice that Kiwi is still trustworthy and reliable. Again, at least in our experience!
Keep on reading:
5.1 Not all airlines are covered
The small airlines around South East Asia are not included at the moment. This is not really surprising, considering you can buy some airline tickets in the supermarket!
No, I am not kidding.
I reserved our latest flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo and had to go to the supermarket to pay in cash.
“Hey there, one coke and one flight to Labuan Bajo, please!”
I am sure they will add more local airlines over time and as soon as it is technically possible.
However, I check flights.google.com to see if there are other local airlines around.
It is also worth it to know, I also could not find any Emirates flights from Mexico to Europe on Kiwi. I am not sure why this happens, but it is important to remember.
Keep an eye on other options out there to find flights and connections.
Note: flights.google.com does not include all local airlines neither.
5.2 Customer service
Update March 2020: There are currently many complaints abut using this website. When it comes to refunds, the website does not seem to be pro-active. This update is not based on our own experience,but on many comments and feedback we receive from Kiwi-users. Please refer to the comments section below to read more.
Around the web you find many bad reviews of kiwi.com. While the majority are great, the bad ones are a tough read.
I took the time to read through the reviews before actually using them the first time. And again before writing this article.
If you have a closer look, it seems like there were some errors made from various ends.
Either way, it seems to have changed. Yet again, you have to be familiar with the Kiwi guarantee.
This way, kiwi has no excuse and they won’t need it, since they will stick to their promise as many reviews showed as well!
BTW: In case something happens, it’s a good idea to stay calm and not start insulting the customer service agent. I mean, who really wants to help out when they are insulted?
UPDATE: Until October 2019, more than 2100 of our users trusted Kiwi.com and booked their flights with Kiwi.com. Everyone was happy – or least no one told us any complaint or concern. (If you experience any, please let us know in the comments section.)
In order to use Kiwi properly, you should be patient and not click around while the app is still pulling its data from the backend.
Now, I make it sound like it’s really slow.
It actually works ok, it’s just that most websites pull up faster.
First world problem…okay, okay, I know, guilty!!
Update: This improved already!
5.4 Missed Connections Flights Complain
Many of the online complaints about Kiwi seem to be about missed connection flights. To stay absolutely safe, make sure you only book flights with a proper amount of time to change planes.
When there’s immigration and a visa involved, and you only have 45 minutes to change the terminal, that is in no way enough.
Sure, there is always the Kiwi guarantee. But yet again, most people seem to complain about exactly that issue. If you plan to book with Kiwi.com, be smart about it and avoid such a situation.
Please do not ignore physics! You cannot change a flight in less than 5 minutes with luggage, immigration and having dinner in-between.
5.5 Booking Issue (our own experience and others)
In this section I want to share an unfortunate experience we had with Kiwi. We booked a flight from Bogotá, Colombia to Cancún, Mexico.
When finalizing the booking, we noticed the booking date changed to exactly 1 week / 7 days before we actually wanted the flight.
Now, we were confident we did not change the date at all. Such a weird experience. So we got in touch with the customer support.
First reaction: It was our fault, they cannot do anything except giving us a 20€ voucher for Kiwi. We insisted more and the next day, we were told they will check with the airline.
They contacted the airline directly. The airline permitted a change of dates for a fee of $74. We had to cover this cost and they could change our flight.
Okay, deal, done.
So, here we are. We finally experienced first-hand the customer service. The first agent in Spanish language did not help at all. the English speaking customer service could help us out after we insisted.
Passport Numbers mixed up
Traveler Victoria left a comment, sharing her experience of her passport number totally mixed up. Here is what she wrote:
“I myself was cheated out of a few hundred dollars – not much by Kiwi dot com standards – when I purchased a ticket, to find the ticket had the wrong passport number on it. A mishmash of my actual passport number. Meaning, my ticket was invalid and I would have been refused travel.”
Obviously we cannot know what happened. However, no one really mixes up the own passport number. Sure, having two numbers the wrong way…yes, that is possible. But writing the whole passport number wrong and mishmashed, this sounds very unlikely.
To have this review complete, we think it is important to share this too.
6. Our Flights – 1st hand experience
So, when did I start using kiwi.com? Back in 2016.
I would never ever recommend you to trust anyone online blindly. Do not do that! Use your own sense and actually read on what you are about to book. Do not just assume that it covers luggage for instance.
A few times it happened to us that users send us over a photo of their credit card, because they wanted to buy our ebook, before it was even launched. Seriously, we are touched for the trust you have in us, but come on: don’t do this, it’s dangerous. Of course we would not do anything, but there is a photo of your credit card in someones email. Not a good idea.
Back to Kiwi, make sure you read through the terms and conditions and make yourself familiar with what you are booking. You cannot book something and then claim you didn’t know about a cancellation fee and so on.
10. Packing for your flight (the hand luggage)
There are a few gadgets that makes flying always easier and more comfortable.
I recommend a travel pillow to sleep better, an eye mask and finally noise cancelling headphones.
Before checking in your luggage, make sure you have all the things you need in your hand luggage. I recommend
Back in August 2018, I checked flights for getting to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
There was a super sweet deal with Qatar from Barcelona. However, I checked the official website, where I also found the great price (with kiwi a bit cheaper).
When I read through the details, it stated: You can only bring a small hand-luggage, nothing else.
This is why I mentioned in this article that it’s important to compare more websites.
Kiwi would have been my choice for the booking since it’s cheaper. Yet, the airline itself was not convincing me, although it is the fantastic Qatar. In this case, it was a special offer, missing a few services like luggage and such.
Do not jump on every flight offer you find in the internet, read before you take out your credit card!
11. Summary Kiwi com review
kiwi.com is the ultimate flight hacking tool. Yes, we do love it. But we do not trust blindly – like with every website!
For the first time ever, I got the feeling that this app was seriously built for the traveler instead of for selling flights in a smart, aesthetically pleasing way. It is THE flight hack we have all been waiting for.
A time saver, a fun way to explore new destinations and a safe way to get your confirmed ticket to your inbox.
I would love to have this article as useful as possible. Therefore, please leave your comments, doubts, questions below.
Every single question helps me to write more details and I see what I must have missed in this review.
Therefore, do not be shy.
Update: Please please please read the article before leaving a comment!
Update: Official Statement by Kiwi
We at Hostelgeeks received positive but also negative comments about this service. Since we care deeply about our readers and community, we reached out to Kiwi team, to get an official statement on that negative feedback some unsatisfied customers left here.
Statement by Kiwi
Hey guys! Thanks for the review. We want to bring the best service to our customers by offering affordable travel to everyone. We are sorry for anyone´s bad experience and will do our best to resolve any issue with our Customer Support team. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement by Hostelgeeks
We only showcase great tools that help you to plan your trip better and in the best case, even let’s you save quite a lot of money. Kiwi com does exactly this and it is a service we and all our team uses on a regular basis. This review states our honest opinion and helps you to find better flight deals, and it is a step-by-step guide.