Within days of the national carrier reducing free check-in baggage limit by five kilograms, Jet Airways has followed suit, showing the first signs of how the government’s new unbundling airfare policy will make air travel expensive.
Air India and Jet Airways, India’s only two full-service carriers, on Thursday announced they will charge Rs 250 more on every extra kg of baggage irrespective of the distance of the journey.
While AI’s revised baggage charges will come into effect on tickets bought from May 13 onwards, Jet introduced the new charges from Thursday.
AI will also soon start charging passengers travelling economy class on domestic sectors for food. The airline is likely to serve only tea, coffee, cold drinks, peanuts and biscuits free of cost and will charge passengers for anything more than this like a meal or a sandwich.
Till now, airlines allowed passengers to carry free check-in baggage up to 20kg. “Passengers buying high-priced tickets will continue to enjoy existing free baggage benefits. The revised charges will apply to those buying cheaper or discounted tickets,” said an AI spokesperson.
A statement issued by Jet Airways also stated that its frequent fliers (JetPrivilege members) would not face the revise charges.
Last week, the civil aviation ministry allowed airlines to charge separately for services such as check-in baggage, preferences of seats and on-board meals hoping that the move would reduce basic airfare.
However, neither AI nor Jet Airways did not indicate any such move. Indigo Airlines, the country’s leading domestic airline (27.3% market share according to civil aviation ministry records) was the first to introduce charges for passengers asking for a seat of choice.
According to the airline’s circular to travel agents, domestic fliers will have to pay Rs500 for large-legroom seats such as on the first two rows or those adjoining the emergency exits (row 12 and 13).
Fliers travelling out of India will be charged Rs800 for the same service. Frequent fliers fear that the new policy could also result in long queues as check-in counters shut 45 minutes before departure time and airlines might be short of manpower to offer customised service.
(With inputs from Tushar Srivastava)