Mumbai: Low-fare airline SpiceJet Ltd has launched hand baggage-only fares.
Under the new fares, passengers with only hand baggage who book at least 30 days in advance will pay Rs.200 less than the normal fare per one-way flight.
For a round trip, the discount can be as high as Rs.1,000, the airline said in a statement.
However, the hand baggage allowance remains the same as before—one bag up to 7kg per passenger, plus a standard-sized shoulder laptop bag or ladies purse.
The hand baggage-only fare will be available on most direct domestic flights (including via flights), with a minimum of 30 days’ advance purchase. International and connecting flights are not included in the scheme.
“With the introduction of this fare, we are passing on the savings of carrying less weight to the most price-sensitive passengers who have hand baggage only, and incentivizing more passengers to book early and travel light. This is a win-win-win as these passengers will pay for only the services they consume, airlines can save on fuel costs from the lower weight, and the environment will benefit from lower fuel burn”, said Sanjiv Kapoor, chief operating officer, SpiceJet.
“Historically, travellers with no check-in luggage have indirectly subsidized those passengers who have luggage to check in,” he said.
In its statement, SpiceJet said travellers with check-in baggage can still check in their 15-kg baggage for free using its normal ‘SpiceSaver’ and other fares. SpiceJet is not charging for checked-in baggage for those who select the normal fares.
For those who book these hand baggage-only fares but later decide to check in luggage, a fee of Rs.500 for up to 10kg, and Rs.750 for up to 15kg of luggage will be payable at the airport during check-in, the airline said.
SpiceJet’s hand baggage-only fares come at a time when the ministry of civil aviation said it has, as of now, rejected the plea by low-fare airlines to charge for checked-in baggage.
On Saturday, Press Trust of India reported that the airlines had approached aviation regulator the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for its nod to charge check-in luggage while minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma said the government has not accepted the request at this stage as it will put an additional burden on passengers.
Airlines in India are now free to charge all of their fliers extra for choice of specific seats, luggage and use of airline lounges, among other facilities. Airlines, which were allowed to set aside only a quarter of their seats for differential pricing, can charge all customers for these facilities, according to a 23 March circular by DGCA. The new rules which unbundled these services are in line with global practices, and can boost earnings from ancillary revenue streams for airline firms.
AirAsia’s Red Carpet
Separately, rival low-fare airline AirAsia India on Tuesday announced its latest service ‘Red Carpet’. Under the service, passengers of AirAsia India flights from Bengaluru and Delhi airports can avail of porter service, priority check-in with a dedicated counter, access to the lounge with unlimited meals and soft beverages, priority boarding and priority baggage on arrival. The service can either be pre-booked through website at Rs.800 per person or bought at the airport for Rs.1,000.