In view of Holi this month, the fares of Patna bound flights have shown a sharp upward curve. People wanting to return to their native place to celebrate Holi with their families, are paying two to three times the normal air fare from major metro cities in the country.
As airline companies have the luxury of applying flexible charges, the fare from Delhi to Patna reached a price band of Rs 6100 to Rs 6900 despite passengers having purchased the tickets one month in advance.
"My son is living in Mukherjee Nagar of Delhi and preparing for the UPSC examination. We want him to come back home so that we can celebrate the festival of colours together. When he tried to get a railway ticket, he did not get it. Then, I purchased a flight ticket for him in the last week of February at a cost of Rs 6700. On a normal day, the flight ticket is easily available for Rs 2300 from Delhi to Patna," said Raushan Yadav, a resident of Boring Road, Patna.
Due to the pandemic, a limited number of trains are running between Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune. Hence, obtaining tickets for them is extremely difficult on festive occasions like Holi.
"My daughter and son-in-law are living in Hyderabad and they have purchased air tickets despite the price being very high now. In the pandemic, air travel is safer compared to trains or buses which take more time," said Raj Kishore Singh, a resident of Kankarbagh in Patna.
When scanning the airlines' websites, the maximum air fare appeared on March 26 and 27, two days before Holi. The fare from Kolkata to Patna ranged between Rs 4300 to Rs 4500, Mumbai to Patna Rs 6100 to Rs 6300, Bengaluru to Patna Rs 6300 to Rs 7000, Chennai to Patna Rs 6900 to Rs 7400, Hyderabad to Patna Rs 5600 to Rs 6000.
Rohit Kumar, a Patna based travel agent said: "We are witnessing maximum rush from Delhi and Bengaluru to Patna and Darbhanga in Bihar. Hence, airline companies are charging flexible fare. It is expected to rise further. Keeping in view the heavy rush, airlines may request the civil aviation department for extra flights as well."