Opaque fares: Jet scores over Kingfisher, yet again

Leading travel portal Makemytrip has removed the airlines' tickets from its 'opaque fares' offering to avoid any customer-related issues.

FP Staff March 28, 2012 12:26:31 IST
Opaque fares: Jet scores over Kingfisher, yet again

Just days after Jet Airways began opposing the 'opaque fare' practices of Kingfisher, which allows it to sell tickets below cost price on some travel portals since the customer gets to know the airline's identity only after purchasing the ticket, leading travel portal Makemytrip has removed the airlines' tickets from its 'opaque fares' offering to avoid any customer-related issues.

According to a report in the Economic Times,the debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines has been trying to hard-sell its tickets through this route as it has lost passengers to other carriers due to abrupt cancellations and a consequent loss of customer confidence. Makemytrip.com COO Keyur Joshi told ET that once Kingfisher normalises its operations and perception, the travel portal will reintroduce them on opaque.

Opaque fares Jet scores over Kingfisher yet again

Kingfisher began the practice of opaque fares around six to eight months. AFP

In the last couple of months, portals MakeMyTrip.com, Yatra.com and Goibibo.com, which hold a large inventory of debt-ridden Kingfisher Airline tickets, have been using this model to sell these off. These low fares, up to Rs 1,500 less than regular fares, are marketed as super-saver offers by the portals.

As Firstpost noted earlier, Kingfisher began the practice of opaque fares around six to eight months back because travel agencies give upfront cash to the airline, making a large margin themselves on selling tickets below normal fares.

Last week Jet Airways had termed this practice as a scam and had asked the aviation regulator to curb this practice, which not only lacks transparency but is also harmful for passengers. Following the complaint, Makemytrip had removed Jet from its list of airlines whose seats were being offered under this super-saver offer.

But isn't Jet's opposition strange since portals have been using this practice for other airlines as well?

Maybe not. As selling tickets below the market rate will make it hard for Jet to raise its prices further, making the aviation market more competitive. This in return leads to under pricing, which further dents their bottom line. Domestic carriers are already reeling under high fuel and operating costs. And discount fares during peak travel season will only kill the airlines further.

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