Facing Flyers' Fury, IndiGo Says Web Seat Booking To Cost, Not Check-In

The Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted it had noted that airlines are now charging for web check-ins for all seats.

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IndiGo tweeted on Sunday that "all seats will be chargeable". (Representational)


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Centre reviews move by IndiGo, SpiceJet to charge for seat bookings
  2. IndiGo on Sunday tweeted "all seats are chargeable" under new policy
  3. The airline's announcement drew angry reactions on social media

The government is reviewing a move by private airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet to charge for seats booked in advance through the web check-in feature, which has provoked anger among air-travelers.

The Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted it had noted that airlines are now charging for web check-ins for all seats. "We are reviewing these fees to see whether they fall within the unbundled pricing network," said the tweet. Unbundled pricing allows passengers to pay for exactly what they want instead of expensive tickets.

IndiGo, a leading low-cost airline, tweeted on Sunday that "all seats will be chargeable" under its new online check-in policy. However, it later clarified that "the pricing is only for advance selection of seats" and said "the airline has neither changed its web check-in policy, nor is there any charge for web check-in".

Check-ins at airports will not be charged, the airline said, adding "If the passengers have no particular preference for seats and would not like to pay for advance seat selection, they can either reserve any free seats available at the time of web check-in or will, of course, be assigned seats at the time of airport check-in."

IndiGo said its new policy was in line with what airlines do globally. Also, its officials, it was the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that had allowed the unbundling of services.

The airlines' announcement drew angry reactions on social media.

"Are you effectively charging for a web check-in now," asked one user, who tweeted that he couldn't check in online without "selecting a seat" and all seats had a selection fee.

The airline, replying to the tweet, said: "As per our revised policy, all seats will be chargeable for web check-in. Alternatively, you may check-in at the airport for free. Seats will be assigned as per the availability." The new rules had been in place since November 14, said the airline, responding directly to several tweets.

Some users questioned why the airlines were charging for convenience that should be a given.

"Indigo Bye Bye .... Never ever will travel in your flights . People do web check in for convenience and it also saves time and money for both indigo and customer," a user who tweets from the handle @Kiran_Jupally tweeted to IndiGo.

"I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. I am flying Indigo in Dec during my India trip, but will probably change the tickets, given we have a baby to seat. what is the convenience fee that you charge for while booking tickets? This is price gouging."

One person questioned whether a passenger can be denied a seat if they had a ticket but didn't check in online. IndiGo responded: "Hi! You will definitely get a seat at the counter, as bookings are made subject to the seat availability."

Responding to other tweets, the airline said passengers travelling under corporate booking were entitled to seats free of charge. Also, every child above two would be given a seat.



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