Airline + IRCTC?

We all must have heard so far about airlines tying up with IRCTC to sell their vacant seats to Railway rejected passengers. It sounds so cool and interesting idea but at the same time, I believe airlines are digging their own graveyard.

Indian domestic aviation is similar to Indian medical science, they only operate people but they never keep themselves updated with new research.

We still follow old version of dynamic revenue system & try to beat the price of other airline to attract customers from existing pool instead of discovering new class of customers altogether who’re ready to fly but not at airline’s conditions.

Coming back to IRCTC and Airline partnership, I would like to explain to you by few case examples:

Case 1: Let’s say a person wants to travel from point A to point B but, He’s still uncertain of date of travel. He goes online and check airfare for the entire week. As He already knew about IRCTC policy of offering cheap tickets to waitlisted passengers. He then goes to IRCTC website and books a railway ticket in a train with a huge waitlist for the entire week.  On the day of departure, He gets a link to book to an air ticket from IRCTC and He’s a happy man now but, airline who could have got this customer at higher price will get the same customer at lower price. IRCTC scores 1 here and Airline scores 0.

Case 2: Let’s say a regular flyer who wants to travel on a specific date, books an airline ticket. He also knows about IRCTC policy. So, He books a rail ticket with huge-waitlist. He gets a link to book air ticket & He’s allowed to choose any of the flight from the next 3days, He selects one and books the flight. Meanwhile, He cancelled his earlier booked flight. Still, it would cost him cheaper. E.g. I booked a Go Air flight at 8,834/-. One day ahead of departure, I got a link to book air ticket at a cost of 2,844/- as my railway ticket didn’t get confirm. I cancelled my Go Air flight, they charged around 1500/- for cancellation. Still, 2844+1500 costed me less than 8834/-. IRCTC scores 2 here and Airline scores 0. (Check Image)

Case 3: Let’s say, I want to travel from Delhi to Pune by air & knowing IRCTC policy I try booking train ticket but seats are available in all trains on DEL-PNQ route, Now WHAT? My inability to get waitlisted ticket could cost me more for air travel. But, there’s a catch here, I booked a train ticket in Delhi to Patna with huge waitlist and at the last moment I just changed my source and destination at IRCTC air booking link from DEL to PAT to DEL to PNQ. IRCTC scores 3 here and Airline scores 0.

There are actually 100 ways to fool this system like, book more than 1 ticket for yourself, You can ask your friends to book a railway ticket for you in different classes etc. In a nutshell, this system will bring down overall yield per plane to a new low. I understand our domestic airlines are registering heavy losses every year due to High ATF prices, Low PLF & airport taxes but I believe that they need to come with a wise solution to increase their PLF not by just targeting railway passengers without verifying whether they actually wanted to travel by air or rail.

There are certainly other ways to solve this long existing problem of selling last-minute inventory. Also, Monsoon is at our door which is considered to be the worst non-peak season for airlines as well as railways. Will Railways give away their regular travellers to you during Monsoon? No, they don’t. So try to find our a solution where such partners would benefit you more in the non-peak season rather than peak season else, whatever less you make during this monsoon will be washed away in rains.

You don’t want to be next Kingfisher of Indian skies.

In case of any query, you may reach me at ravi.kumar@udchalo.com

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