Sep 30, 2009
A few weeks ago, Jet Airways pilots went on strike despite a court order preventing them from doing so. Many flights were canceled and passengers suffered, sometimes stranded in the airport. While Jet lost money as their planes remained underutilized, other airlines were probably happy to see their flights running full. Being one of the big airlines with low utilization, Air India would have derived maximum benefit.
All this is not unusual, considering that we are a country used to striking employees who do not stop until their demands are met. But what struck me hard was the way other airlines priced their last minute tickets.
We were on the way from Bangalore to Delhi, and our flight was delayed by a few hours(this was not Jet Airways flight). Since we had to be there in Delhi as early as we can, we decided to check for other flights available. There was a Kingfisher flight which departed soon, and we considered booking on it. But the price they quoted was exorbitant - more than twice the normal full fare between Bangalore and Delhi. At more than Rs.23,000 for a seat, this was the highest fare that I had ever heard of for economy ticket between any two locations in India.
What do you think about such an attitude? We did not take the Kingfisher flight, and thankfully our flight departed earlier than we thought it would. But there would be some helpless passengers who might have had no choice but to fly at these prices. Kingfisher might have made their money in a time of crisis. But would they get returning passengers? Would they be able to build trust with travellers? Would they benefit from such an act in the long run? I doubt it.
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Musing On Pilot Strike
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