Vacation travel in India: Is this a case of demand-supply or simple profiteering?

I feel foolish, and a little bit annoyed, but mostly angry! I am the guy who books his Diwali tickets months out to be there with the family in Delhi during the festive season. It is like that one fixture which is completely fixed on my calender. This year, due to some work commitments, I was not being able to pick the final date to fly out to Delhi. By the time I could, look what had happened already….

The very expensive fares remain. A day or two before I checked, 31 Oct was going for only 17K INR!

 

Jet Airways was gone for sure. The day I was booking my tickets, the 31 October fares were quoting only on the INR 17K levels. Maybe Jet got some rap on the knuckles and they opened up a lower fare class for a few more seats. But even then, the fare is 2.2 times the usual price of a Jet Airways ticket on DEL-BOM!

Next up was Kingfisher, which was also with its pricey nose ‘up in the air’! 20K INR for a return fare. Hell yeah, I do need that morning flight back to get into my workplace in time! And I was out shopping for a good fare at this time.

Kingfisher is ‘flying high’ like its commercial goes!

 

And for those who believe airlines is just a mode of travel from point A to point B, you should not be surprised at all that a Low Cost Carrier is also pricing its tickets in the full service league! Here is Spicejet for you!

Who is buying this 15K INR ticket on Spicejet? I am sure they will find someone as desperate as me to get back on 31 October!

 

I know aviation has been going through its low times and the festive season is a good time to hike fares and make some money because the aviation companies know that people will travel at these crazy prices also if they have the grit to travel to be with their families in the festive season and get back to professional commitments at the start of the week after! But, I am wondering about the fairness of these hikes. Are all the yield management systems being overriden manually to say price the highest and milk the cow. These are walk-in fares at a month out. I am waiting to see how this becomes closer to the date of travel.

I wish we had a little more evolved ticketing system for the direct-booking audience where the airlines would be transparent, and show how many seats were present in each ticketing bucket.

This is where I throw away the loyalties to particular airlines and put my bargain hunter hat on! I called up my Travel Agent(s) both of whom were unable to find me a good ticket. I was secretly hoping they’d find me that one ticket I was not able to access online, but they report back that even the regular price points on various fare buckets were hiked up. I wonder where did all the guidelines prescribed by the DGCA went about cartelisation?

And hard work and persistence pays off: why you should not lose hope and still book fast!

While my general experience with aggregation websites such as Cleartrip, MakeMyTrip, Travelocity and others is that they either have the same fares as the airlines or a higher fare, because sometimes airlines want to give the best deal to their direct customers.

However, considering I was exploring all options now, and I would fly anything except my negative list of 2 airlines domestically. So I started to look at the websites, and this time, they came up aces!

I did not have the time to take a screenshot but I immediately went ahead and booked when Cleartrip showed up a ticket on my favourite Low Cost Carrier Indigo Airlines with a price that was lesser than the price available on the airlines own website, and that too by a whopping 33% percent approximately!

Here is what I got after 1.5 hours of digging around, for something that takes me 5 minutes usually!

I nailed it! I nailed it!!!!

 

So, I managed to pick up this ticket at 50% premium to what I would usually pay for a BOM-DEL-BOM segment in economy with no lounges and meals but I think I can live with that, considering I picked it up at a 30% discount to what others are perhaps going to pay due to the greed of the airlines! 😉

Here is the other one I picked up for another travel a week later at INR 7K for a round trip. This is the normal pricing I am used to all the time!

Full Service Economy on Kingfisher for INR 7K

 

So, do you think Greed is good?

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Comments

  1. @BKK-FLYER and @Nimish, I am not saying that the airlines should not charge a premium for peak season travel. All I am saying is that they have moved the price point of a lower fare class (lets say it is E) altogether to new price points which are 1.5x higher as per my TAs. They should just be transparent about the whole process and keep the DGCA in the loop!

  2. This is not greed, just regular demand supply. Seats have already been sold out in the lower fare bucket for that period. I’ve already booked my flights for BLR-DEL during the Xmas/ New years period, and luckily as it’s still about 3-4 months out, I managed to get normal priced fares. However by early December, a flight to get back home on Sunday 1st Jan or Monday morning 2nd Jan will be exorbitant. And why not – given that the flight’s full up.

    When there are empty seats predicted, the airline is going to sell seats cheap to fill up as many empties as possible. When the flight is guaranteed to be overbooked, why give out tickets at or below cost?

  3. I think it’s purely supply and demand and charging what the market will bear..

    While not what most people want to hear, I see no reason why fares should be kept low(er) in peak demand periods when the market clearly shows that higher prices can be supported..

    No different than fares to Hawai’i in December, Thailand in December or the like… When demand goes up, this drives prices..

    Is it greed? Perhaps… but I do think that as a for-profit entities, these airlines DO have the right and I’d go so far as to say, the expectation by their shareholders, to maximize return and therefore charge what the market will bear.

    Now, that said, if they are proven to be artificially impacting the market; call me price collusion, or price-fixing.. which in most all countries would be illegal, that’s a whole different subject matter.

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