Budget carrier SpiceJet has tied up with travel solutions portal Optiontown to offer customers flexible travel options to purchase empty seats, make multiple bookings and switch flights while travelling on the airline.
What is more is that customers with flexible travel plans can earn up to Rs 1,500 by agreeing to swap their travel time or date from their scheduled travel time.
Called the flexible reward option (FRo), a passenger can earn up to Rs 1,500 by agreeing to fly on a different time and enabling the airline to make money by selling the seat to a last minute passenger.
The three other options - empty seat option (ESo), multiple booking option (MBo) and preferred flight option (PFo) — can be availed at a nominal fee. Passengers with SpiceJet tickets can avail these services by registering on the Optiontown website. Optiontown provides its service to consumers of 15 airlines globally.
ESo would allow passengers on SpiceJet to fly with an empty seat beside one's own by paying just Rs 250 for one seat and Rs 400 for two empty seats. The sign-up fee for the service is Rs 50.
Airlines would not find it difficult to have empty seats on flights as the passenger load factor for flights ranges between 75% and 80%. This leaves around 20% of the plane empty to gain incremental revenues.
“This is a unique initiative and we will surely make money that will add to our bottomline. There are a lot of fliers who would like to fly with an empty seat beside their seats,” said V Raja, vice president (commercial),SpiceJet.
Sachin Goel, founder and CEO of Optiontown informed that these options have a potential to generate revenues for airlines. “In terms of economic impact, our travel options generated about $2 in incremental profit per flown passenger for one of our airline partners.”
SpiceJet is the first Indian carrier to launch these options for Indian fliers.
The other options include the facility to make multiple bookings and hold confirmed availability on additional flights. The customer availing of the MBo service gets the right to decide, up to 24 hours before departure, the flight they want to fly.
The PFo, in the meantime, gives the customer the chance to be moved to his flight of choice at a nominal price.