Light at the heights
Stung by the fuel hike, airlines in India, as is the case across the world, are cutting back on flights and flab, writes Lalita Panikkar.india Updated: Jun 26, 2008 22:57 IST
For those of us who are wallflowers and prefer to potter around at home, there is good news. Air travel has become so expensive and so uncomfortable that it’s best to stay down to earth.
Stung by the fuel hike, airlines in India, as is the case across the world, are cutting back on flights and flab. The flab could be in terms of doing away with magazines that weigh down on fuel costs, or the simple joys of a few toffees that are meant to calm your nerves as you take to the skies. And the tightening of seat belts will continue. Even if you were to spring for a business class ticket, don’t recline easy that your complimentary fruit baskets and champagne will materialise in a jiffy. Of course, even getting your hands on a ticket may prove a little turbulent given that airlines like Air India domestic have discontinued commissions for ticketing agents.
Some private airlines have literally got passengers by the throat by even shutting off water to them. So what will you do if you feel like a nibble in mid-air? The best you can hope for is to fork out for a snack, that is if the airline has not offloaded that as well on account of the weight. It’s only a matter of time before the hapless passenger will have to weigh in at the counter and perhaps pay for those additional kilos on his or her person. Or risk having to pay for two tickets as some American airlines have insisted on. The corporate traveller whose motto is jet, set, go may have to rely more on telecommunications to keep in touch with clients and colleagues around the world. As for holidays, well most of us can forget that. Your backyard may be no Bahamas, but it’s certainly value for money.