Mumbai: Apex air travellers body, Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) today questioned the frequent “special fare” offers by domestic carriers and termed them as “non-existent”, even as it urged the DGCA not to allow such schemes.
The association, in a communication to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, also sought to know as to what action the regulator intends to take against the carriers on the issue.
“We strongly believe that the DGCA must put an end to this practice of offering ridiculously low fares which are non-existent and are not really available to the passenger,” APAI President D Sidhakara Reddy said in his communication to DGCA Prabhat Kumar.
Stating that the association was forced to draw the regulator's attention towards the issue following several complaints received from the passengers, Reddy said, “most of the times, the schemes are similar and fares announced are also similar. How can this happen unless a cartel is working to fool the travelling public?”
It may be mentioned here that the domestic carriers, led by cash-strapped budget airline SpiceJet have been rolling out one-after another limited period “special sale” offers since January to woo passengers.
“We have received several complaints that first the passengers do not get access to the airline's portal and if they are able to do so and look for the advertised (special) fare for a particular sector, it shows sold out, whereas most of the other types of fares are only available for bookings,” Reddy alleged.
Pointing out that it has become a routine practice by all airlines to announce such schemes almost once in 10-15 days, the APAI said, “the airlines seem to be doing this with certain objectives in mind as it gives them tremendous publicity at no cost.”
The association has also sought to know from the regulator whether the carriers do inform of the percentage of seats they offer under the special fare as they are supposed to file their fares with DGCA, indicating the quantum allocated under each type of fare offered by them under the bucket pricing method.
“If they are not, then what action do you propose (to take) for not following the procedure?,” Reddy questioned in his communication.
APAI will explore the Right To Information route if the DGCA did not respond to its communication, Reddy added in his communication.