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Same trip, 4 times the airfare

mumbai Updated: Sep 11, 2009 01:50 IST
Soubhik Mitra
Soubhik Mitra
Hindustan Times
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The Jet Airways fleet stayed grounded for the third consecutive day. But the fares of other airlines skyrocketed.

Early buyers got good deals like Rs 4,000 for an economy class Mumbai-Delhi trip on a full fare carrier. But by Thursday afternoon the same trip cost Rs 17,500.

The same journey that usually costs about Rs 3,000 on a budget carrier jumped to Rs 12,000.

“Cheap tickets are sold out with the sudden jump in supply,” said Ajay Prakash, general secretary of the Travel Agents Federation of India.

With little change in the deadlock between pilots on mass leave and the airline management, all the 80 departures and 75 arrivals operated by Jet Airways were cancelled.

Steep tickets have forced about 10 to 15 per cent fliers to postpone travel by a few days.

“One of my clients re-booked his ticket to Chennai on September 14 as fares for the next two days are extremely high,” said Prakash.

“My travel cost will eat into half the profit if we clinch the deal,” said Suraj Kumar, who runs a chemical firm in Malad. He has rescheduled his Friday trip to Bangalore on Monday.

Business class tickets — rare and expensive — are not available for the next two days in busy sectors like Mumbai-Delhi and Mumbai-Chennai.

“Distress travellers want to travel at any cost. But tickets are not available,” said Anup Kanuga, chairman (western region), Travel Agents Association of India.

A business class ticket from Mumbai to Delhi that usually costs Rs 15,000 is now priced at Rs 22,000.

Only IC coded Air India flights and Kingfisher flights have business class seats.

Air tickets for short destinations such as Goa, Indore or Ahmedabad were the most expensive.

For instance, a Mumbai-Indore trip on a low-cost carrier costs up to Rs 11,000. Similarly, a flight to Goa that takes just an hour is priced at about Rs 12,000.

“Some people have moved to train bookings but that is a miniscule number,” said a travel agent, requesting anonymity.

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