People travelling on SpiceJet Airlines flights could now skip check-in queues, avoid long waits for baggage and even get compensated for unscheduled flight delays and cancellations by spending a little more on their ticket.
In line with the 2013 government policy that permitted domestic carriers to unbundle airfares, the budget carrier on Tuesday introduced Spice Assist, a service that offers priority check-in and priority baggage delivery to passengers spending Rs 500 above their air tickets. The package also offered compensation against baggage loss, flight delays and cancellations, in addition to the existing compensation paid by airlines.
“These customer-centric services have had a good response from our passengers which shows people are ready to spend extra for a comfortable flying experience,” said Ajay Jasra, general manager, corporate affairs with SpiceJet Ltd.
Other airlines could also pick up the trend of offering frill services for extra charges, said industry experts.
“When the civil aviation ministry unbundled airfares, all domestic carriers took turns to apply extra charges for extra leg room seats, pre-booked meals and handling of fragile goods. The same trend is likely to occur even now,” said a senior executive with an aviation think tank requesting anonymity.
A small amendment to the policy, which came into effect two months ago, has allowed airlines to attach extra charges on any seat chosen by a flier. Until then, airlines could charge extra for only 25% seats in a domestic flight.
Sources in the ministry added that unbundling airfares could play a larger role in making air travel more affordable. However, little difference has been witnessed in average airfares since the policy came into effect. But passengers’ loads have still grown courtesy a flurry of flash sales offered by all domestic carriers.