Since Kingfisher Airlines shut shop in October 2012, prices of seats on the remaining 450-odd aircrafts have gone up, with return fares to most domestic destinations (http://namotrip.com/)
But the Indian flyer, notorious for his/her inability to plan and book a holiday early, has been coaxed into breaking old habits. One in four who booked an air ticket during the saleperiod were those who had not planned to travel in the first place, but were enticed to do so and made an impulse buy, said a survey carried out by online travel portal TravelComfort.in.
Wondering about the reason for this sudden manna from the skies? Experts say it's simple: empty seats. Amber Dubey of global consultancy KPMG said: "The highest load factor recorded in the period January-December 2013 was 81.6% in May 2013. This means that even in the peak holiday season, around 18% seats went abegging. In the whole year, 25.3% seats went vacant. Airlines, therefore, are offloading about 5-10 % seats on select flights at deep discounts. These seats are carefully chosen & peak-hour flights that have high occupancy are generally not part of such offers." So how does one navigate the maze to snap that cheap air ticket? We spoke to industry insiders to come up with a quick primer.
Early bird gets the bargain
Since only a few seats are released at discounted rates on each flight (http://vimanayatra.in/
Reverse the booking pattern. Find a cheap fare first and then plan your holiday (http://namotrip.com/
Stay with the copycats
The first airline to announce a sale usually does its homework well. What it means is that you will not get a good fare for, say, travel on August 14, a Thursday this year, as it flags off a long weekend. But others who rush in to offer similar discounts generally miss out on such nitty-gritties. In the recent discount offers, the me-too airlines were the ones that offered the cheapest fares (http://vimanayatra.in/
Know your destination
This is for passengers who fly to nonmetros. Sales generally do not cover flights to destinations like Srinagar, Leh, and Port Blair, but if you're lucky enough to find one, book immediately. The percentage discount will be much lower than on other routes. A Delhi-Leh one-way ticket for mid-June currently costs Rs 8,000 and though it may seem steep it is not, given that the route is serviced by very few airlines. Similarly, a Delhi-Port Blair one-way ticket for mid-June is currently available for Rs 7,000, again a comparatively discounted fare. Among the nontourist places, destinations like Tuticorin, Siliguri generally have steep fares, but they were included in the recent Spice Jet sale.
Work cancellation fee
If the latest discount scheme is better than the previous one and you have already booked your air ticket, then check the cancellation charges. This year, the best discounts were offered in the first week of April though the sale started in January. At times, the savings offered by the new discount scheme are more than the cancellation penalty of Rs 1,500 and other charges added up.