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Travel portals battle it out over low fares

india Updated: May 23, 2008 00:27 IST
Soubhik Mitra
Soubhik Mitra
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Offering discounts on airfares is old hat. Travel portals are now attracting passengers with the challenge to find a lower fare than what they have on offer.

For instance, the latest scheme for international fliers on Yatra.com says that if you find an outbound air ticket for less than what they have offered, the portal will pay you double the difference in fares.

All a passenger needs to do is call the portal with details, including date and flight number, and within 48 hours his bank balance would be fatter.

Makemytrip.com has extended a similar scheme and applied it to hotel bookings for domestic and international travellers. The portal will pay double the difference in rates if you find a cheaper air ticket or hotel than what it offers.

“A guarantee assures the flier that he is getting the best deal,” said Amit Sabarwal, vice-president (business development), Makemytrip.com. He added that with increasing business travel, there have been cases where customers have been rewarded.

Experts feel that soaring airfares — thanks to the hike in air turbine fuel cost and fuel wastage due to air congestion — have given rise to these gimmicks. “These are business gimmicks with air travel getting costlier. Passengers can enjoy the discounts with competition getting tougher,” said Sudhakar Reddy, national president, Air Passenger Association of India.

Travelocity offers the service to travellers within the US. “We are not sure whether we would introduce a price guarantee currently in India. But we do have agreements with hotels and airlines for the lowest rates,” said Himanshu Singh, managing director, Travelocity (India).

Hotels too have become costlier since last December. Anup Kanuga, chairman of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said: “Hotels costs in India have jumped by 15 per cent.”

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