Its barely been somedays since I posted last about Air India. But here I am again tempted to write about it.
Air India’s companion free scheme was intended as a program to promote its flights to those common people or ‘aam aadmi’ who could not afford to take his family on a flight. Under this scheme, a person booking a ticket with the airline can book a second ticket on the same flight by paying taxes and fuel surcharge only.
After finding irregularities (read misuse) on domestic sector, the scheme was discontinued.
Air India’s companion scheme has always been questioned for its beneficiaries – common man or the babus. In a new revelation, top Aviation and AI officials have revealed that they are in favor of scrapping the Companion Free scheme on International sectors as well, but it was pressures from bureaucrats across many ministries of the central government that has prevented them form doing so.
For all official trips abroad are paid by the government (tax payers money), including stay, air fare and other expenses. What can be a better opportunity to take your spouse or kids when one is traveling on government (tax payers money) expense, for a fraction of money?
This, in certain situations works out only 10% of the main ticket price, and loss of income for a seat for the airline. For example, a return fare to JFK in New York from Delhi will cost INR 7,67,200 (first class) while companion flight cost only INR 77,200 in the same class.
If they can find irregularities in domestic segment, which led to cancellation of the scheme on domestic sectors, what is the guarantee this does not happen on international sector. Baffles me.