Spice Jet kicked it off, and everyone else followed the suit. Creating a stir with a 50% discount on base fares and fuel surcharges for tickets bought 30 days in advance, Spice Jet let the cat amongst the pigeons of air, which let to a cascading effect. Within hours, IndiGo and Go Air introduced similar fare discounts, so did Air India later in the day and by late night, Jet Airways did the same.
The best part was that this came without any warning and took everyone by surprise. I was anticipating a price-war when Air Asia would eventually launch, which is a given in any case. Tony Fernandes, the Air Asia CEO has already announced that his Indian operations would provide dramatically low fares which perhaps would be lower than the current prices being offered by low-cost carriers. I was thinking may be the airlines would like to cash in the money they can now and prepare for the bloodbath once Air Asia comes along.
But this move certainly surprised me. The discounted tickets are only available on carefully selected routes, and the entire inventory is not part of this. In all probability, they only have 50% of their inventory open for these cheaper fares.
The fares from SpiceJet also do not come with a catch – oh yes, there is something that is free (or discounted in this case). These tickets are refundable with applicable cancellation fees. Which means, you can cancel the ticket and will be getting money in return upon cancellation. Now that is real bold move. In real world terms, this is a discount sale.
Apparently, the initiative is to ensure that they have enough load factor in the coming months which is a typical lean period for airlines. So if you have not planned, do it today – it is the last day.