As per recent reports, the cost of last-minute flights is costlier amid discounts and offers announced in this festive season. Around 20 discount offers were rolled out by India-based airlines in previous 10 months and flight tickets booking was cheaper than normal. When compared with the statistics of previous year, the number of fliers registered 28 per cent hike in the month of September. The cost of making seat reservation was lower in general, but last-minute flights were costlier.
According to industry watchers, carriers are charging 10 per cent higher amount for offering seat in their aircraft. With this pricing strategy they might be able to recover the revenues forgone due to various schemes. It serves dual purpose for airlines; on one hand, it attracts fliers by offering cheap tickets in advance that increases the flight occupancy. While on the other hand, they do not have to compromise with low revenues as high-priced ticket reservation at the last minute makes up for it.
After analysing the SpiceJet flight booking trends and figures, its chief operating officer (COO) said that in the first quarter, their revenue available per seat kilometre (RASK) was increased by 10 per cent. RASK gives a true picture of increase in the booking instead of average fares, loads or yields. It is expected that the industry reports may show a fair recovery and narrower losses in the third quarter in comparison with the results of the previous year. The new pricing strategy will play an important role in neutralising the balance sheets. Apart from this, changes in the exchange rate and cut in the fuel prices also affected the revenue earned by carriers.
This new practice has changed the flight seat reservation trend in country and most people are making advance bookings. About 45 per cent of the total bookings were made over 30 days before the journey date and it was only 35 per cent two years back. Online ticket reservation is the second biggest change noticed in the past few years. Most travellers are now booking air tickets online while the number of people getting it from the counter has become low.