Amid reports of a government review of Indigo's decision to charge passengers for web check-in, the no-frills airline on Monday issued a clarification saying it has not changed the web check-in practice.
The government had earlier said it was reviewing airlines' decision to charge passengers for seats at random, selected at the time of web check-in, to ascertain whether the move is in compliance with existing rules. Against the backdrop of questions being raised about IndiGo's move, especially on social media, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has said it would review the decision.
The ministry has noted that airlines
are now charging for web check-in for all seats. "We are reviewing this fees to see whether they fall within the unbundled pricing framework," it added.
In response, Indigo said in a statement, "This is to further clarify that IndiGo customers will not compulsorily have to pay for the seats. The pricing is only for advance selection of seats. When the customer checks in at the airport, the seats would be assigned for free."
The preferred seat pricing of IndiGo starts as low as Rs 100 and goes up to Rs 800. The no-frills airline said there would be some seats that may be available for free depending on the market dynamics for the flight. “Thus, there are some seats that are available for free at a certain time period before departure or on certain aircraft type,” it said.
Stating that this is a common practice followed by airlines
across the globe, IndiGo said flyers can always obtain the seat at the airport kiosk check-in or counter, though this may not guarantee that they would be assigned the seat of their choice.
It said advance seat reservation is meant for passengers who would prefer to have extra leg-room seats or would like to be seated together on a flight.
Grappling with spiralling operational costs, airlines
have been looking at ways to increase their revenues from ancillary services. In the latest September quarter, all the three listed carriers -- IndiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways -- were in the red.
IndiGo reported a loss at Rs 6.51 billion in the three months ended September, mainly impacted by high fuel cost and rupee depreciation.