Look before you leap at AirAsia's low-cost fares
Asia's largest low-cost carrier does not allow free check-in of baggage globally. Customers usually book it along with the tickets.
This news could be a bit of a disappointment for those who thought AirAsia is the harbinger of the real cheap fares in the Indian aviation.
According to a report in the Times of India, customers may be able to take advantage of the lower fares the company but will have to pay extra for baggage check-in.
Asia's largest low-cost carrier does not allow free check-in of baggage globally. Customers usually book it along with the tickets, the report says.
"They are likely to get the same policy to India, enabling us to at least lower the current free checkin weight from 20 kg to at least 15 kg," an airline official has been quoted as saying in the report.
This is likely to set new terms for other players in the industry here.
According to the report, the low-cost carriers are already considering unbundling services they offer. In such a scenario, if AirAsia India starts the trend, others are sure to follow.
On the whole, if the airlines are going to charge for everything else other than tickets, low-cost flying may end up as an extremely high-cost affair for the customers.
However, AirAsia's India plans are being greeted by positive news on the domestic front.
According to another ToI report, air travel bookings for April-June have witnessed a huge 57 percent rise. Of this, 20 percent of the bookings have been taking advantage of the discounts offered by airlines, especially SpiceJet and Jet Airways.
International bookings during the period has also registered about 37 percent increase.
Apart from the discounted fares, another reason for the increase in bookings is last year's high ticket fares, according to Noel Swain, executive vice-president, Cleartrip.com, quoted in the report.
Fire sale of tickets at unbelievably low prices in January had helped SpiceJet race past Air India to conquer the third position in domestic airline market share in February.
IndiGo maintained its tight grip over domestic fliers, with more than one in four fliers opting for this airline (market share 27.4 percent), SpiceJet was third with 20.4 percent market share, leaving behind a gasping Air India at the fourth spot with 18.9 percent . Jet Airways (together with JetLite) was the second at 25.4 percent, a Firstpost report said earlier.
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