Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dreams of cheap airline tickets may be still fare fare away

Some of the deeply discounted fares that low-cost carriers offer have — contrary to popular perception — only a few seats available at the special rate.

Though it varies from one airline to another, only between 8 per cent and 10 per cent of the seat factor (the number of seats filled) is allotted for the most discounted fares. So, an airline with an 85 per cent seat factor or passenger load factor (PLF) of an 180-seater A320 will have about 12-15 seats reserved for the highest discounted fare.

Therefore, the ₹899 fare that a few airlines regularly offer could get filled up as soon as the window opens. In some cases, an airline may decide not to offer any discounts for a particular flight if the traffic is too heavy.

According to Praveen Iyer, Jet Airways’ Vice President, Commercial, India, between zero and 15 days from the date of travel, airlines tend to get about 55 per cent of the total booking. Beyond 15 days is when airlines offer discounted fares to fill up the seats.

Another factor to keep in mind is that though low-cost airlines offer these discounted fares regularly to boost sales, passengers themselves may not get the full benefit of it because LCCs do not offer free food or higher baggage allowance. If one adds up these costs, passengers end up paying fares slightly higher than those offered by full-service carriers.
21/03/17 K Giriprakash/Business Line