New Delhi: The government is reviewing a move by private airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet to charge for web check-ins, which has provoked anger among air-travelers.
The Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted it had noted that airlines are now charging for web check-ins for all seats. “We are reviewing these fees to see whether they fall within the unbundled pricing network,” said the tweet. Unbundled pricing allows passengers to pay for exactly what they want instead of expensive tickets.
IndiGo, a leading low-cost airline, tweeted on Sunday that “all seats will be chargeable” under its new online check-in policy.
Check-ins at airports will not be charged. Earlier, passengers paid extra only for picking preferences, for example an aisle or a window seat or one at the front with more leg space.
IndiGo said its new policy was in line with what airlines do globally. Also, its officials, it was the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that had allowed the unbundling of services.
The airlines’ announcement drew angry reactions on social media.
“Are you effectively charging for a web check-in now,” asked one user, who tweeted that he couldn’t check in online without “selecting a seat” and all seats had a selection fee.
The airline, replying to the tweet, said: “As per our revised policy, all seats will be chargeable for web check-in. Alternatively, you may check-in at the airport for free. Seats will be assigned as per the availability.” The new rules had been in place since November 14, said the airline, responding directly to several tweets.
Some users questioned why the airlines were charging for convenience that should be a given.
“Indigo Bye Bye …. Never ever will travel in your flights . People do web check in for convenience and it also saves time and money for both indigo and customer,” a user who tweets from the handle @Kiran_Jupally tweeted to IndiGo.
“I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. I am flying Indigo in Dec during my India trip, but will probably change the tickets, given we have a baby to seat. what is the convenience fee that you charge for while booking tickets? This is price gouging.”
One person questioned whether a passenger can be denied a seat if they had a ticket but didn’t check in online. Indigo responded: “Hi! You will definitely get a seat at the counter, as bookings are made subject to the seat availability.”
Responding to other tweets, the airline said passengers travelling under corporate booking were entitled to seats free of charge. Also, every child above two would be given a seat.