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Consumer: Airlines to show exact total fare to passengers




For a long time now, passengers have struggled to figure out the exact fare that airlines was asking from them. In the initial days of offers by low budget carriers, the airline would offer a starting fare of Rs. 1, and there were a number of passengers who were dumb-founded by the fact that this fare of Re. 1 was actually not 1, but there were additional taxes, something which could take the fare into the high hundreds or even upto a thousand. Passengers continued to struggle with this situation for a long time, and at that time, one really did not see the regulator or authorities do something about this. There were other problems with these fares such as very poor cancellation processes (some airlines refused to refund money if the ticket was cancelled, instead offering a 6 month coupon).
And then came the time of the high fuel rates, in which the struggling airlines had to pass the high fuel charges to their passengers, but were loath to do in a manner that seemed like increasing fares. So they removed all low fare offers, but did not change the base price of the ticket, instead putting in a fuel surcharge (that was pretty substantial) and which most passengers understood to be a part of Government taxes, since the surcharge was grouped along with taxes. It took another directive from the regulator to modify this practice, but it was mainly removed once the fuel charges came down (even though it took some time after the fuel rates declined for these ticket rates to come down).


Even now, if you go to book a ticket (say online), you will see a rate for the ticket that has a certain price (and there is a separate section that mentions taxes and the likes), and you need to combine these rates to get the overall cost to you. And this is what the regulator is now proposing to change:

Director general of civil aviation Nasim Zaidi has given all airlines, domestic and international, 30 days to correct their websites, systems and travel agent database so that passengers get a single all-inclusive figure of the total amount payable.
The DGCA circular says airlines must clearly state the all-inclusive fares on their websites, newspapers, office and with the travel agents.

This directive should be helpful to passengers, since they can quickly compare prices, and find the correct price quickly and at one go.




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