One site which has caught a lot of attention over the past few days has been Alpfly. The website claims to sell ticket subscriptions of sorts to customers, where you prepay for a bunch of tickets, and then can redeem them over a period of time. Needless to say, it got me inquisitive as well, so I tried to dig deeper.
Here are the deals they offer:
Their cheapest plan is the Star Plan, where one person gets 10 air tickets in a period of 12 months against a payment of INR 22,000. The cost works out to INR 2,200 per ticket. The Couple Plan offers tickets at INR 30,000, and offers you the opportunity to travel alone or both of you together. Going on, the family plan is for INR 40,000 which includes a couple and a couple of kids.
Here are the terms which we should look out for:
- There are no hidden charges. Prices are all inclusive of taxes and charges.
- The customer has to book his travel prior 21 days, and PNR will be issued before 7 days of travel.
- The customer can utilize one round trip in a month travelling anywhere in India.
- There is no option of flight/carrier selection by the customer.
- Tickets will not be issued for any Gazetted Holidays/Festive Dates. However, tickets can be issued 2 days prior & 2 days after to any
Gazetted Holidays/Festive Dates.
- During purchase, the Names and Date of Birth will have to be provided. All the 10 tickets will be issued on the registered names. After the plan is purchased, names of the members cannot be replaced.
- Destinations not serviced are: Lakshadweep, Leh, Surat, Kullu, Bhopal, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Andaman & Nicobar
To buy or not to buy?
The company is clearly a consolidator of fares, and trying to target the market where air travel is important, rather than the choice of carriers and timings. This means, they are buying bulk tickets from carriers at prices which are unpublished to the market, and then selling this inventory to the customer. I’ve had experience buying these kind of tickets from the bigger OTAs a few times, and it has never been a problem to fly on these tickets.
However, I won’t be buying into this deal! There are more than one reasons why:
- I see myself booking tickets sometimes a day or two out, and sometimes a week out when my plans are clearer. So, a rigidity on 3 weeks out does not work for me. Sometimes I book and cancel within the same day, usually on Jet Airways, due to
- My tickets are booked based on my convenience and perceived value of the ticket, and not the cheapest ticket to be bought. For instance, sometimes when I have to be in Mumbai one day and another city the next morning and I can’t be on the last flight out, I do the redeye flights. Another time, I may just want to rush out of work a tad bit early so that I can make it to the last flight. I lose this convenience on the times I want to pick.
- Airline ticket prices are at massive lows. Except for some segments where prices are high due to limited flights per day, between frequent airline sales and high number of frequencies, one would most often find a reasonably priced ticket if one looked hard enough.
- I don’t know anything of the reputation of this company. They were formulated about 6 months back as per LinkedIn
- I still love me a full-service airline to the extent possible. I have a feeling these tickets are going to be on no-frill carriers.
Those are some of my reasons to not look at Alpfly. Are you going to be buying one of their packages? Do share your experiences with them.