The Indian Railways does not charge extra money from customers for web-check ins, the government said. The statement from the Ministry of Railways came after budget airline IndiGo invited public ire for allegedly charging customers for all seats booked under web check-ins. "No need to pay extra charges for Web-Checkins. No long queues for checking in your luggage. Avoid unreasonable tariff & reduce your carbon footprint by travelling on the good old Indian Railways at affordable rates," said the Ministry of Railways on microblogging site Twitter via its official handle @RailMinIndia.
No need to pay extra charges for Web-Checkins. No long queues for checking in your luggage. Avoid unreasonable tariff & reduce your carbon footprint by travelling on the good old Indian Railways at affordable rates. pic.twitter.com/ks9fVphoLO— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) November 26, 2018
On Sunday, budget carrier IndiGo said that all seats under its web check-in policy would be chargeable.
IndiGo is the largest domestic airline with a market share of nearly 43 per cent in October and its announcement through Twitter triggered concerns, with many users of the microblogging site raising questions.
The government said on Monday that it was the decision of airlines to charge passengers for any of the seats selected at the time of web check-in to will be reviewed to ascertain whether the move is in compliance with the existing rules.
MoCA has noted that airlines are now charging for web check-in for all seats. We are reviewing these fees to see whether they fall within the unbundled pricing framework.— Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) November 26, 2018
However, later in the day, IndiGo clarified its stand saying that it had not changed its policy. "The pricing of different seats is dynamic in nature...IndiGo customers will NOT compulsorily have to pay for the seats. The pricing is only for advance selection of seats. When the customer checks-in at the airport, the seats would be assigned for free. That said, there is no guarantee that the seat of choice for the passenger would be available at the time of airport check-in," IndiGo said.
Meanwhile, replying to a customer's query on Twitter on Monday, SpiceJet said that "pre-allocation of seats through web check-in is on chargeable basis". "If a passenger does not wish to pay for a seat, he/ she may request for a preferable seat while check-in at the airport. Our team shall provide the seat without charges, if available," the airline said. This was in response to a tweet saying that web check-in at SpiceJet is chargeable, as check-in not allowed without booking a seat.
There was no statement from SpiceJet about its web check-in policy.
With unbundled pricing framework, airlines are allowed to charge for various services, including for booking extra leg-room seats.
By way of web check-in, passengers verify their presence on a flight online and seats can also be chosen. (With PTI inputs)
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