Advance bookings turned on-the-spot flight tickets costly: analysis

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 26, 2014 16:12 IST

Nearly 8 out of 10 year-end vacationers in India bought their air tickets almost three months ahead of their date of travel, and this is one of the reasons why spot fares have skyrocketed, an analysis of this year’s air tickets bookings found.

According to travel portal Cleartrip, 78% fliers travelling aboard as well as within the country booked their tickers between 40 and 90 days before their vacations. “We have seen an interesting trend around advance purchase patterns for travel in December. The volume of customers who have booked more than 40-days has nearly doubled this year,” said Subramanya Sharma, chief marketing officer, Cleartrip.

“Almost 50% of bookings for year-end travel come from smartphones, by eager travellers, who gave into their travel impulse due to the cheaper fares,” said Sharma.

The analysis found that number of leisure travellers, who booked tickets up to a month in advance, was less than 7%. With most cheap tickets flying off the shelf during flash sales, only the high-priced tickets are left. “Flight loads are reasonably high, with around 80% travellers booking well in advance. Hence, the last minute fares are high,” said Jay Bhatia, co-chairman, the airline council with the Travel
Agents Association of India (TAAI).

“Our air bookings on popular routes went up by more than 40% every time a flash sale was announced. This spike showed that people have been planning early and booking tickets a couple of months in advance,” said Neelu Singh, chief operating officer,, a travel portal.

Last minute airfares comparison between this month and for the same period last year showed an increase of up to 50%. Last week, a traveller said that he had spent Rs 67,000 for two one-way tickets between Delhi and Kochi.

“Airlines shouldn’t get away by cancelling flights at the last moment,” said Bhatia.

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