After the government said it will review IndiGo's decision to charge passengers for web check-ins, the airline has defended its decision, saying the practice is followed by airlines globally. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had earlier said it'll check if the airline's move is in compliance with existing rules. IndiGo said it is not mandatory for customers to pay for the seats, and that they are charged only for "advance selection of seats".
"...IndiGo makes dynamic decisions about pricing for advance seat selection. This segmentation helps us to serve different customer segments as per their requirements," said the airline. This helps people who like to sit together at the seats of their choice, it said. This can minimise the inconvenience of contiguous seats were not available when passengers arrive at the airport for check-in, the airline maintained.
The no-frills airline has been levying charges for 'web check-in' since November 14. "The pricing of different seats is dynamic in nature and may vary based on aircraft type, length of the route, occupancy, days before departure, etc," it clarified.
As per the airline's travel policy, all seats are chargeable for web check-in but there's no charge for check-in at the airport. "Alternatively you may check-in at the airport for free. Seats will be assigned as per the availability," the airline said. "Advance selection for a small fee helps consumers reserve the seat," it said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had said it is reviewing the airline's decision "to see whether they fall within the unbundled pricing framework". IndiGo said: "While the preferred seat pricing starts as low as Rs 100, there would be some seats that may be available for free, depending on the market dynamics for the flight."
The airline industry has been struggling with declining profits due to high fuel cost, rupee depreciation, intense competition, and spiralling operational costs. This has forced many of them to come up with different ways to boost earnings through ancillary services.
With its fleet of 195 Airbus A320 aircraft, IndiGo holds 43 per cent of the market in India. Despite its huge market share, the airline reported a loss of Rs 652.1 crore in the three months ended September. This was the first time the carrier posted a quarterly loss since getting listed in November 2015.
Edited by Manoj Sharma