The recent issue of charging for web check-in by an airline seems to have taken the government by surprise. Rail fares are approved by the Indian Railway Conference Association under the aegis of a railway board and the Ministry of Railways. It is ironical to note that even the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India are reluctant to play the big brother role to keep an eye on such exorbitant charges.
Airlines, under the pretext of mounting losses and in a bid to quickly make a brand impact in the market, are quick to snatch every opportunity citing peak and non-peak season fares, festival fares, inaugural fares and so on. There needs to be some uniformity in fixing fares and allotting seats. Blocking of seats with extra payments burns a deep hole in the consumer’s pocket. The idea of paid-for web check-in, which otherwise should ease the check-in process, leads to further complication.
It is high time the aviation ministry stepped in and looked into the issue. It should ban exorbitant fares. Airlines, on the other hand, need to come up with a strategy to build strong customer relationships by ensuring seamless travel experiences — both inflight and on the ground — instead of taking consumers for granted.
Varun Dambal, Bengaluru
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