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Domestic carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet have recently announced that they would be making all seats for web check-in payable, effectively eliminating the concept of free web check-in.
IndiGo, in reply to a customer, tweeted, “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 news has caused an uproar among passengers and customers on Twitter. Many express anger over this new policy, effective November 14, which renders passengers choice-less when it comes to the seat unless they pay.
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. ~Prabh— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) November 25, 2018
Before the new policy kicked in, there was a mix of seats, free and chargeable, available for web check-in. The highly sought after seats, such as the first few rows, window and aisle seats, were usually available for pay, but there were still a few middle seats and back-row seats available for free. Now, all seats are chargeable, starting at a minimum of ₹ 100 for IndiGo and ₹ 99 for SpiceJet.
Web check-in helps passengers save time at the airport and eliminates queues, while it allows airlines and airports both avoid congestion and overstaffing at the airport. A move such as this will discourage passengers to web check-in and will cause overcrowding at the airport and longer queues.
What does the airline have to say about this? "Based on our customer preference we have made some changes in pricing for the advance selection of seats. This is a usual practice followed by airlines globally and across India," IndiGo said in a statement.
The move is not going unchecked, however. The Ministry of Civil Aviation, in a tweet, has said, “MoCA 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 the midst of all this, guess who’s having a pleasant laugh? None other than the Indian Railways. They simply say, "Why pay a premium for web-check-ins on flights...when you can just take a train?"
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