Close to three years after the civil aviation ministry allowed domestic carriers to charge fliers separately for frills, some airlines are offering new services for passengers who are willing to spend a bit more for glitch-free travel.
On Monday, budget carrier SpiceJet introduced a service that its fliers could use to buy themselves a guaranteed ride by paying a fee of Rs299 above the ticket cost.
The feature called ‘fly for sure’ would apply to travellers held up owing to flight delays exceeding 90 minutes, stuck owing to last-minute flight cancellations by the airline and even those who reach the airport after the check-in counters are closed.
The airline said it will reimburse passengers for an alternative flight ticket (not exceeding double the price of the original ticket or the cost of second ticket, whichever is lower) on the airline of their choice in the same sector of the original booking within 24 hours of the original scheduled departure.
“Flight disruptions inconvenience passengers; hence we have put customer convenience first by introducing ‘Fly For Sure’, which enables the passenger to complete the travel without any extra financial burden,” said Amit Srivastava, vice-president, business development with SpiceJet Ltd.
Last week, Jet Airways introduced an online service that allowed fliers to freeze a spot fare for 72 hours. Fliers have to pay Rs350 for a domestic journey and Rs700 for an international trip to use the service called ‘FareLock’. Normally airfares spike closer to the date of travel.
“This unique feature allows guests to have greater flexibility in planning their travel while locking fares in advance of the actual purchase. It will transform the way guests book tickets using our online platforms. With the introduction of FareLock, Jet Airways has yet again raised the industry benchmark for customer experience,” said Gaurang Shetty, senior vicepresident (commercial), with Jet Airways.
In 2013, the government cleared the unbundling of airfare policy, which permitted domestic airlines to charge extra for frills such as extra leg room seats, on-board meals and carrying fragile goods.
Industry experts said the sector is likely to witness more such schemes in the near future. “Airlines across to globe want to tap into new revenue channels known as ancillary revenues. Indian Airlines is following the same trend,” said a former joint secretary with the civil aviation ministry requesting anonymity.