You heard that right. Since 2013, airlines in India have been able to charge whatever they please for everything. Seat Selection, Meals, the works. Sometimes, you’d end up paying more money to the airlines for your food and seat selection, especially if you get those flights for INR 500.
There are many ways to score an extra legroom seat, a meal or a priority check-in on a no-frills carrier at a discount or even free. Some of these perks are only available to elite members of full-service airlines like Jet Airways. But, when you book directly with IndiGo or SpiceJet, you may be able to score these privileges free.
IndiGo’s 6E Prime
6E Prime is a bundled service offered by IndiGo, which you can add to your ticket during the booking process, or even or later on, using Manage My Booking. It has to be added at least 24 hours prior departure. You get a seat of your choice, including the XL seats, a meal combo (1 food item + 1 beverage) and the Fast Forward service. Fast Forward is Priority Check-in + Priority Baggage Handling. These counters usually have minimal queues, as compared to the long lines otherwise.
If you book everything separately, IndiGo’s XL costs INR 600, INR 400 for Fast Forward and the meal combo is another INR 250, making it a total of INR 1250. All this is available in a combo for INR 799 per flight.
6E Prime is available where IndiGo provides Priority Check-In counters, that means New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Guwahati, Goa, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Raipur & Thiruvananthapuram. So if you have a flight originating from these cities then only you can avail this offer. It is not valid for group bookings, or student fares or senior citizen discounted fares or defence discounted fares. How to get IndiGo 6E Prime for free? More on that later.
SpiceJet offers a similar bundle known as SpiceMax. You get access to the extra legroom seats, priority check-in, a complimentary meal & beverage, priority boarding and priority baggage handling. You can book this bundle for INR 600 to INR 1200 per sector depending on the aircraft & flight duration.
The bundle can be simply booked by selecting the SpiceMax seat while booking the tickets on the SpiceJet website, or later on using Manage My Booking. The bundle has to be purchased at least an hour before departure for domestic flight and three hours prior for an international flight. Spicejet has one of the best hot meals in the air.
The best part is, while these services cost a lot, sometimes in comparison to the price of your ticket, you can get them free of cost or half the price if you plan it right.
Get IndiGo 6E Prime free
IndiGo and HDFC Bank are currently offering 6E Prime free to HDFC Bank Credit and Debit Card holders. When you book a ticket on Tuesday using HDFC Bank Cards on IndiGo’s website (not app!), use coupon code 6ETUE to get 6E Prime for free. The promotion is currently valid for booking till October 31, 2018.
The coupon code is not valid on HDFC Bank commercial and corporate cards. Promotion is valid only while booking the ticket, and cannot be added afterwards, as this is an instant discount. You should book tickets individually, when booking for more than one passenger, and book one-way tickets if you want to maximise this promotion. The 6E Prime discount is available only at airports where Fast Forward is offered.
Get IndiGo Seat Selection at INR 400 discount
IndiGo and HDFC Bank are currently also offering a discount of INR 400 on seat selection to HDFC Bank Credit and Debit Card holders. When you book a ticket on Friday using HDFC Bank Cards on IndiGo’s website (not app!), use coupon code 6EFRI to get 400 INR off on seat selection fees. The promotion is currently valid for booking till October 31, 2018.
The discount on Friday makes it possible for you to can grab an XL seat for just INR 200. The Friday discount is available throughout IndiGo’s network, only valid if you book via IndiGo’s website.
Get SpiceMax at 50% off
On the weekend, use promo code HDFCMAX to get 50% on SpiceMax seats. You can get a flat INR 500 discount per SpiceMax Seat priced at INR 1000, or flat INR 300 instant discount per SpiceMax seat priced at INR 600. The promotion is valid only on weekends (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) up to September 30, 2018. You can book your SpiceJet ticket wherever and add-on using this promotion code later.
You get 50% off for each passenger and each sector in your booking since this is a per-seat promotion. So no need to book separate tickets.
Word of advice: Always check that your bags have got a priority baggage tag attached at the check-in counter if you are availing the service.
If you don’t have HDFC Bank cards, you can still get an INR 150 discount using promo code MAX150.
While full-service airlines are unbundling fares to bring the fight to no-frills carriers, no-frills carriers have teamed up with banks to provide bundled services for free or at a discount. One of the most undervalued services that you will get is priority check-in and priority baggage handling. I experienced it first hand when I used the HDFC Bank promotion for 6EPrime for a flight out of Mumbai. It helped me access the priority check-in counter which was empty as opposed to the Baggage drop counters with a line of more than 200 passengers. And who wouldn’t love to get his/her bag first on the conveyor belt?
Are you going to book your upcoming flights using these promo codes, as I did?