Domestic airlines seem to be wooing the country’s business flier this summer with a vengeance.
While a budget airline announced a flash sale for fliers without check-in bags, a full service carrier added three metro route flights at dirt-cheap fares, as they would be operated during the wee hours.
On Monday, budget airline SpiceJet announced a flash sale offering domestic flights at prices almost half of long distance sleeper class fares for fliers travelling without check-in bags.
According to the offer, the airline has put out 1.5 lakh one-way economy class tickets across its domestic network, for travel between July and October.
Air travellers are allowed to carry free check-in baggage up to 15 kg and cabin baggage up to 7kg on board domestic flights.
Travellers picking these discounted tickets would however, have an option to carry check-in baggage up to 15kg at the flat rates of Rs 750.
The move appears to be in line with the unbundling of air travel charges popular in the matured aviation markets such as the UK.
In 2013, the civil aviation ministry had allowed domestic airlines to charge air travellers separately for preferable seats, pre-booked meals and ferrying fragile baggage.
“We are again taking the lead by unbundling fares so that passengers only pay for what goods and services they want to consume. Those who travel light no longer have to wonder why they must pay for luggage that they do not carry, instead they get a discount for travelling with hand baggage only,” said Sanjiv Kapoor, chief operating officer, SpiceJet Ltd.
The move to offer cheap flights to corporate travellers who shuttle between metros for a day is likely to get widespread popularity, according to travel trade experts.
“Business travellers comprise more than one-third domestic air travellers in India. And, a significant number of such travellers are ‘day-return’ fliers who travel without check-in bags,” said a Fort-based travel operator.
This is not a stray move to woo domestic corporate fliers.
Jet Airways, India’s second largest airline by the number of passengers flown in a month recently introduced three flights on metro routes during the wee hours.
Popularly known as red-eye flights, these flights are the cheapest on those routes.
For instance, an economy class ticket for a Delhi-Kolkata flight (according to the Jet Airways website) scheduled to take-off for the capital at 2.10am on April 28 was Rs 5,586. The most expensive ticket on that route was Rs 32,527.
The two other such flights are connecting Pune and Mumbai to Delhi.
Experts added that such flights are also viable for corporates who invest heavily on the air travel of their senior executives.
“Corporates would be happy to save on the accommodation costs if they get such cheap flights during the wee hours between metro routes,” said another travel agent requesting anonymity.