You can now pre-book all kind of seats on Indian domestic flights (for a price!)

When Indian aviation was introduced to the concept of unbundling, some of the airlines went berserk and wanted to charge for pre-blocking on any and every seat. The government caged them down to offering at best 25% of the seats on a plane, and middle seats could not be charged for pre-blocking, at all.

Anyhow, under a new regulation that came into effect just a few days back, it turns out DGCA has allowed airlines to charge for all seats on the plane. The earlier regulation read as follows:

Seat offered on opt-in charge basis shall not exceed 25% of the total seat
configuration of the aircraft. Middle seats shall not be offered for preferential seating
except for the seats in the first row and the emergency exit row.

In the new regulations, put out on the DGCA website today, this section has been removed. The rationale given is to allow big groups to get the capability to travel together by paying for seats.

How the various airlines will play this out is still unknown, because no one has made their first move on raising prices or allocations right away. We’ll see what happens here. I fully expect Indigo to be the first mover on monetising this new circular.

What do you think will be the impact of this new circular from DGCA?

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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  1. Spot on! I agree with the point on IndiGo being the first-mover. I’ll just expect longer queues for check-in at the airport from now on.

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