Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NEWS | Airlines use combo offers to bypass rules, make money

Cash-strapped Indian carriers are finding innovative ways to generate revenue — even if it means bypassing regulatory norms. Some months back, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had barredairlines from charging passengers for pre-booking seats at the time of buying tickets. Now some low-cost carriers (LCC) are offering "combo packs" where they are giving passengers option of ordering meals and getting a seat of choice at the time of booking for a charge of Rs 600. 

"Technically, airlines are not charging for pre-booking seats and not violating any DGCA directive. This is an additional service combined with pre-booking meals that is being offered and there is no ban on selling food on board aircraft," said an airline official. Airlines have, however, asked DGCA to reconsider its ban on charging for pre-booking seats as this is a common practice globally. "We will review this decision," DGCA chief Arun Mishra said. 

Indian carriers are trying to ape global counterparts by raising ancillary revenue. A senior LCC official said: "Additional revenue streams help us keep basic fares in check and keep basic travel affordable." 


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