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Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002

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IA takes off with `Bid & fly'

Ashwini Phadnis

NEW DELHI, Dec. 16

ARE you the kind who wants to have fun on the Net and also travel the extensive domestic network of Indian Airlines, and that too, at reduced rates? If you are, then your prayers may just have been answered.

IA has tied up with Indiatimes to launch `Bid and fly' on the Net. The airline is offering about 500 seats a day in economy class connecting 49 sectors from 21 stations a week before the actual departure of the flight.

And what sweetens the deal even more is that the tickets are offered at a huge discount, which ranges from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of the normal fares. However, the auction is open to adult (12 years of age and above) Indian nationals residing in the country and foreign nationals staying in India and holding resident permits. Tickets sold under the scheme cannot be clubbed with other discounts and child and infant fares.

The latest Net offering had done one better than the best being offered by other players in the market, official sources claimed. Air Sahara has already been advertising its flexi option in a tie-up with Indiatimes. For starters, IA allows people to put in their auctions between 12 and eight days before the departure date as compared to 20 and 15 days' stipulation of a competing airline. Besides, this offers the option of passengers taking alternative flights.

"Besides, the passenger has the option of putting in multiple bids which is not allowed by competition. Also, we are offering the scheme from a more than double the number of stations than what is being offered by other domestic airlines," sources said. Passengers can log onto the site through links provided at, among others.

An auction lasts five days. The auction starts 12 days before the flight date and ends on the eighth night before the flight. The minimum and maximum bid price is set and displayed on the screen of the auction site.

"The passenger is asked to bid. The payment is in advance on the Net, through a credit card and the bidder is charged as soon as they win," sources said, adding that the winners have to collect their tickets three days before the departure of the flight.

The launch of the new scheme is aimed at creating a whole new travel segment and not to eat into the Apex fare scheme which offers highly discounted price air tickets to passengers who book their tickets 15 days before the travel date.

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