India's deceitful airlines

21 March 2008 flights
survey on 24 Feb 2008

Imagine a restaurant advertising 500 rupees for a meal. You dine at the restaurant, and then when it comes to the time to pay for the meal the restauranteur tells you that the bill is 2525 rupees, as the 500 rupees consistents of what he gets paid, but he has to pay 2025 rupees to various other parties which he didn't include in his advert.

The behaviour of most of India's airlines are just as unacceptable, with most quoting flight prices which end up being a small fraction of the final cost. Go to Go Air's site for instance, and you may see the following quotes for flight prices for flights from Chennai to Mumbai:

Go Air flight booking engine

Five hundred rupees sounds acceptable for a flight from Chennai to Mumbai, so I select the flight and click "book now", and hey presto with a wave of their wand the flight now costs 2654 rupees (see below). The initial advertised flight price is 19% of the final cost of the flight.

Go Air final bookingTo be fair to Go Air, they are not the only ones in the rogues' gallery. Air Deccan adds 2025 rupees to their initial flight price (but not the insurance fee of 129 rupees), for Jet Airways one needs to click on their advertised price to get the full flight price. The worst of the lot is Spicejet airline, which quite late in the booking process still seperates the fees, placing unnecessary demands on the numeric skills of the user.

Jet Airways

Internationally, most respected airlines quote all-in flight prices. It is time that India's airlines started doing the same.

Jet lights up the end of the tunnel

There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Jetlite quote all-in fees. We need more of this type of consumer-centric behaviour.

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