low fare airlines

Spice Jet was offering air tickets starting from Re 1 + taxes and the offer lasted for three days from April 1. I picked an arbitrary day in October and checked the return fare for 2 adults and 2 kids between Bangalore and Delhi. While tickets are available for the base fare of 41 rupees, the total for 4 after adding all the taxes works out to 38,000 and odd rupees. Each trip works out to approximately 5000 quid, not very less than what one would pay in normal circumstances. Considering the fact that the base fare is only 41 rupees and also that I am booking the tickets several months in advance, I would expect the average per trip per passenger fare to be around circa 2500 – 3000 rupees.

Talking about low fares airline, the very first time I heard about such a concept was in the year 2000. I was living in London at that time and bumped on a promotional material offering return tickets to Pisa in Italy for 50 pence + taxes (yeah, you read it right!). I thought it must be a fake advert of some sort, but decided to call them up anyway. To my surprise, it was true and when I told my friends, we quickly hatched a plan to visit Italy. None of us could believe that the air fare, whatever might be the distance could be as low as 50 pence. The taxes worked out to 7 or 8 pounds then, marginally more than the cost of a meal in McDonalds in London during that time. We would have made two dozen calls to ensure what we heard was true and there is no detrimental stuff in the small print. Eventually, we did make it to Pisa and by the time we booked the tickets the fare had gone up by a pound, still a steal. It was from an airline called Ryanair, pioneer of low fare airline in Europe.

The concept of low cost airline was a great discovery for us. Not just Ryanair, there were few other options like Easy Jet, Go etc. With friends and family, we had several happy trips with these carriers. Coming back to India, do the low fare airlines in India really live up to their tag? Well, that is for another post.

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