A journey from Bangalore to Goa in an A320 for Rs 450. That's the offer for the first one week by Asia's biggest budget carrier AirAsia as it launches operations in India - three cities of Chennai, Bangalore, and Goa to start with.
The first flight was sold out within 14 minutes of opening for sales. The catch is in the form of hidden charges - convenience fare, added fare to check in baggage and some others for which you may have to pay more. Other low-cost carriers like SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo too cut fares to as low as Rs 490 one way in the last one week to increase sales.
Among passengers on AirAsia India's first fight was Sidharth, a hardware engineer in Bangalore. "It is like a dream for me. I am flying for the first time and am also seeing Goa for the first time. We cannot often book Tatkal tickets on train so if these kinds of prices are available, frequent flying will be affordable," said a smiling Sidharth.
Rajendra Hegde an MBA student, managed to book himself and his friend on AirAsia's first flight out. "See my semester exams got over just yesterday. So it's perfect for me. This will be fun," said Rajendra.
"Regulations are beginning to understand that air travel is not a luxury product. From some years to now, things have changed and the model has become more sustainable. Ours will be a point-o-point model. We will be able to sustain it," Mittu Chandilya, CEO of AirAsia India, told NDTV. "And if you see 990 fare, grab it because you see it is going to be a simple demand and supply basis where if we see flight getting filled fast, prices will go up. See we want to make flying affordable."