IndiGo now has a 208 aircraft strong fleet, which includes 154 180-seat A320ceo, 39 186-seat A320neo and 1 222-seat A321neo apart from 14 74-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft. The ATRs operate on a completely different route network. The A320 family aircraft are IndiGo’s backbone, but weather and many other things impact aircraft allocation schedules, so it becomes tough to manage swaps, especially between 180-seat and 186-seat A320 ceo/neo.
On one hand, as an airline, you don’t want to lose the opportunity to fill up those extra seats and on the other, you don’t want to piss off people who are going to be offloaded at the airport because the plane is short six seats due to a swap. While IndiGo was not about overbooking, recently, they have started to be more watchful about managing the issue rather than have an issue with angry passengers at the airport.
IndiGo has tied up with a tech start-up, Volantio, as per Business Standard. The start-up uses a platform powered by AI which identifies passengers and offers buyouts to passengers who are flexible. Many passengers now receive text messages from IndiGo to volunteer for a flight change in return for compensation in the form of a credit voucher and a confirmed ticket on a different flight. IndiGo provides three options to passengers and they can choose any one of them if they want to or they can just ignore it.
IndiGo started offering compensation late last year. A reader shared this with us back in November last year.
As you can see the reader had a ticket booked on an overbooked 6E 2606 departing from Chennai at 07:20 and was offered an option to exchange it for an INR 4000 credit voucher and a ticket on 6E 2859 departing an hour later at 08:30. This is actually a good deal if you are a bit flexible. Since the flight was departing in a few hours, the compensation was lucrative.
Another reader also shared his overbooking notification for a Mumbai to Delhi flight,
In another case, the check-in had already begun. So IndiGo offered a higher compensation to the tune of INR 8,500 plus a ticket on a flight departing 4 hours later as an option. There were two other options to choose from also. Both the flights (actual flight and option 1) were red-eyes.
Was surprised when the agent at the check-in counter mentioned that this red-eye @IndiGo6E flight was almost full. Now shocked that they are overbooked and that they are ready to pay to bump people 😜 pic.twitter.com/zZ6wHiOim4
— Narayanan Hariharan (@narayananh) January 10, 2019
All these cases are of a flight departing in a few hours. It is not necessarily the case always. IndiGo also proactively informs customers and ask for volunteers a few days in advance. Here is a screenshot of someone who is booked on a flight on January 24 from Chennai to Mumbai and he got a message to volunteer for a later flight.
As you can see from all the above cases, IndiGo provides a range of options and credit vouchers which depend on a number of factors. Some of these factors are the flight duration, how far out is the information is conveyed, when is the next flight departing and so-on.
Some of the offers can be tempting but not everyone is flexible. It actually depends on the passenger’s situation at that time. In some cases, one wouldn’t mind taking the credit voucher and boarding the next flight but in time bound travel, it will be no-go.
IndiGo is taking a grip of the overbooking situation which can be a huge problem when an airline scales up. In the end, it all depends on passengers whether the compensation offered is tempting and are they actually flexible or not. The next time you get that message, you know your IndiGo flight overbooked, and perhaps you might stand to gain taking a later flight.
Have you received a message asking you to volunteer for a later flight? Have you actually volunteered and taken the credit voucher?