I’ve been the purveyor of full-service carriers for the longest time, which is the reason you won’t see me on many no-frills carrier flights most of the time. However, a couple of situations this year saw me go over to GoAir more than once this year. First, I travelled to Srinagar from Mumbai in March this year, and on the way back I was looking for a direct flight. The one I could find fitting my requirements was from GoAir, because it was the only operator apart from Indigo running non-stop flights between SXR and BOM, and fit the time I wanted to fly out.
Another time, I was looking to make Delhi to Mumbai bookings, and the fares on GoAir were way lower than any other carrier. So, having flown with them before, I figured for the price I was paying, it was not going to be bad at all to fly them. What, however foxes me all the time, is their lack of ability to price their ancillary revenue and making it easy for customers to take seat assignments.
Take for example, their flight which I tried checking in for recently. Their check-in opens 72 hours prior to flight, and this is the first check-in that was made on the flight (Sequence no. 1). You will see, almost all the front row seats, emergency exit seats, window seats and aisle seats are blocked. Which means, they want passengers to come to the airport and get these seats assigned to them if they are not willing to pay for them.
If you want to check-in on these seats online, you need to call their call centre, pay them a seat assignment fee, and then they will send you an email to collect the fee via a gateway, and then… you can finally have the seat. Which for most GoAir passengers is too many hoops to jump. Even on a page that they made just a few days ago about seat assignment pricing, there is no mention that you need to call them to get the seats assigned, because their Manage Booking section shows me just an option to print the ticket and nothing else.
Now, I have no beef with them if they want to monetise their flights. But at least they got to make it easier for us to pick the seats and pay for them. I hate calling up people when stuff can be done online, and this is just one more of those instances where I just take the row 30 rather than call them ahead to book a seat.
Even their chief competition, namely Indigo, and to a smaller extent, SpiceJet understand that all seats on a plane can’t be sold for ancillary revenue. Hence, Indigo only offers the front half of the plane for window and aisle seat sales (after I contested selling 72% of their seats, they stopped), and at the time of check-in, any seats which are not sold via pre-booking are left open for the public to assign it for free. This is India’s most revenue hungry airline by the way.
Like you can see below, these are premium seats, which could be picked for free in the check-in window.
I can understand that it would be a herculean task for Air India to get code written to be able to automate their process, so they still ask people to call and book premium seats, but GoAir, you run a profit, and you sure do have the capability to pay a short sum of money and get this implemented, right?
Anyone else had any similar experiences with GoAir on their seat assignments and check-in, or am I alone in my bad experiences with them?