Airlines launch flash sale but where are the low cost tickets? | business | Hindustan Times
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Airlines launch flash sale but where are the low cost tickets?

business Updated: May 18, 2016 14:14 IST
Tushar Srivastava

Passengers at a airline counter to collect boarding passes. (Hindustan Times)

SpiceJet’s flash sale has triggered a fare war with rivals like IndiGo and AirAsia lowering fares to lure flyers. However, you should consider yourself very lucky if you indeed manage to grab one of those deeply discounted tickets, said travel agents and experts.

Gurgaon-based SpiceJet was the first to announce a flash sale on Tuesday offering tickets starting at Rs. 511 for domestic sectors and Rs. 2111 for international sectors, excluding statutory taxes and fees.

The discounted tickets can be booked till May 19. SpiceJet said the discounted tickets are valid for “domestic travel period June 15, 2016 to September 30, 2016 and international travel period June 1, 2016 to July 20, 2016.”

Rival IndiGo responded immediately offering tickets starting at Rs 806 (excluding taxes) for travel between July 4 to September 30, 2016. While AirAsia is offering a discount of up to 50% on return flights, said sources.

But not many have been lucky enough to get hold of these discounted tickets. “We have been getting numerous queries from customers asking for fares that have been advertised. However, we haven’t been able to find any tickets at those prices, which actually makes customers very unhappy,” said Rajji Rai, former head of the Travel Agents Association of India and chairman Swift Travel Group.

“Flash sales are a marketing strategy to lure flyers. The tickets available under these buckets which airlines advertise are very few and they vanish very quickly. Airlines are reluctant to share data on how many seats are actually available under the prices they advertise,” said an aviation expert, who did not wish to be named.

“Tickets are available for prices we advertise. But you have to be real quick,” said an airline official.

“The cheapest available ticket for Delhi-Goa was Rs 3191 (of which Rs 902 is taxes and fees) on travel portals on Wednesday morning. Where are the cheap tickets they (airlines) have been advertising about?” asked Rajesh Bhargava, a consultant, who was planning a family vacation.

“July onwards till September is traditionally a lean season for air travel as schools and colleges re-open. Flash sales are a way to ensure that airlines don’t fly half-empty planes,” said Rai.