The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) has told regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) not to permit the frequent special discount fare schemes being offered by domestic carriers, terming them as ‘non-existent’ in the first place.
APAI president D. Sidhakara Reddy, in a written communication to the DGCA, has said: “We strongly believe that the DGCA must put an end to this practice of offering ridiculously low fares which are non-existent and are not really available to the passenger.”
APAI is of view that the airlines, when they almost routinely announce such schemes almost once every 10-15 days, have no other aim but to achieve cheap publicity for the airline. Says Reddy: “We have received several complaints that the passengers do not get access to the airline’s portal and if they are able to do so and look for the advertised (special) fare for a particular sector, it shows sold out, whereas most of the other types of fares are only available for bookings.”
Incidentally, SpiceJet only recently launched its ‘Diwali Dhamaka’ sale, with one-way fares starting as low as Rs. 899 (including taxes). According to the scheme, ticket could have been booked between Oct 21-26, 2014 for travel between November 1 to December 15, 2014.
This was a much publicized scheme by SpiceJet about which its COO Sanjiv Kapoor said: “SpiceJet has fundamentally changed the air travel paradigm in India this year, with offers that are frequent and often lower than train fares.”
APAI has asked DGCA whether the carriers offering such schemes inform about the percentage of seats they offer under the special fare as they are supposed to file their fares with the DGCA showing the quantum allocated under each type of fare offered under the bucket pricing method.
“If they are not, then what action do you propose for not following the procedure?”
Our correspondent talked to a family who only recently availed the special offer discounted fare from Delhi to Patna and back who claim that such fares genuinely exist. One of the members of the family, however, works as a ticketing executive with a travel agent, which furthers doubts that such schemes, if they are genuinely available, are being availed by travel agents and tour operators for their personal purposes.