Flying gets costlier from next week

Flying gets costlier from next week

Come Wednesday, flying will become costlier, especially if you carry along baggage of more than 15 kg.  

Major airlines have decided to impose Rs 250 per additional kg of baggage this week. Passengers also have to fork out more money for preferential seating. 

Jet Airways, the Naresh Goyal-led private full service carrier, on Thursday announced revision of free baggage allowance on its flights to 15 kg in the economy class from 20 kg earlier. The changes will apply to Jet’s economy airline Jet Konnect as well. Jet, however, has retained the permissible weight of cabin baggage at its previous level of 7 kg. The changes will come into effect from May 15, a statement from Jet Airways said.

JetPrivilege members, however, will continue to enjoy additional free baggage allowance as per their JP membership status. Premiere (business class) guests will still be permitted 30 kg of free baggage allowance on Jet Airways and JetKonnect flights.

Airlines have been scrambling to regularise baggage and seating options for passengers after national carrier Air India announced that it is lowering its free baggage allowance from 20 to 15 kg on the domestic sector from May 19.

Air India has decided to charge a flat rate of about Rs 200-250 per kg on excess baggage. Currently, charges for baggage exceeding 20 kg range between Rs 150-400 per kg depending upon the sector.  

Air India’s move came following the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation allowing airlines to charge fees for “unbundled services” like check-in baggage, preferential seats, meals, snacks or drinks (barring drinking water), sports and musical instruments on domestic flights. In fact, Air India is also contemplating levying charges for preferred seats like front rows and near the emergency exit, where leg space is more than other seats.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo, too, has decided this week to charge a premium from fliers for pre-booking their seats of choice on domestic and international flights. The airline will charge the passenger a premium of Rs 500 for seats in the first two rows or near emergency exits on domestic flights and Rs 800 for international flights under its “Indigo Seat Plus” plan.

IndiGo did not reveal when it will start charging the new rates, although in a circular to travel agents it said that for all other window and aisle seats which are pre-selected, a passenger will be charged Rs 200 on domestic and Rs 300 on international flights.

Pre-booking of all other middle seats will cost Rs 100 on domestic and Rs 200 on international flights.

The development is expected to aid India’s loss-making airlines in recovering their rising operational costs to an extent. Globally, scheduled airlines are permitted to unbundle services and levy charges on each of them. These are called “unbundled flight products” or “la carte pricing”.

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