Unbundled airfares begin to take off: Indigo, Air India and Jet Airways go first

Unbundling airfares was expected to take off in a while, however the airlines are already set to go ahead and charge exotic varieties of add-on charges on top of your ticketed price right away.

Indigo was one of the first to take off with the new charges, and will now charge an additional Rs. 200 if you want to pre-book a window or aisle seats on their planes. If you want a front row seat or an emergency exit, you should be ready to fork out another Rs. 500 for this privilege. They’ve fondly called this Seat Plus. If you intend to pre-assign a non-premium seat, just pay Rs. 100. This is working out exactly as I predicted on May 1.

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Like you see, for an international segment, the charges go up to Rs. 300 for a window/aisle and Rs. 800 for a premium seat. For any other seat, it would be just Rs. 200. However, if you turned up at the airport and these seats are going vacant, you could switch to them for free.

Air India has been working on cutting out the free baggage allowance for customers. It used to have the most generous free baggage allowance of 25 Kgs per customer in Y, which was reduced to 20 Kgs a few years back. And now, a customer on an AI domestic flight can only carry 15 kgs of free baggage, while excess baggage will be charged at Rs. 250/kg. In case you have your Air India Flying Returns number on your ticket, you can still carry 20 kgs without any problems.

With Jet Airways, they are starting to charge for advance seat reservation, albeit only on a single route right now (of Mangalore – Dubai & v.v.). I am not sure if they are test-marketing at the moment or there are other issues w.r.t. rolling this out.

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So the party was good while it lasted. Now, get ready to be nickeled & dimed at every step of the way going forward.

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