Logistics

Travel agents say no to Kingfisher bookings

Anjana Chandramouly Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018

BL11_01_KINGFISHER

With Kingfisher Airlines cancelling about 80 flights over the past two days, several travel agents have stopped taking bookings for the carrier.

A cross-section of travel agents told Business Line that they were also receiving frequent calls from worried travellers who had booked on the airline for the coming days.

Mr Rajji Rai, Director, Universal Travel Agents Association (global body of travel agents), said, “We are not taking booking for Kingfisher Airlines as we do not know whether the flight will operate or not.” He also claimed that other airlines were not accepting coupons of Kingfisher.

Travel agents from Makemytrip.com are discouraging passengers from booking on Kingfisher flights. “There are a lot of cancellations and most people are opting for other airlines,” said a spokesperson of Makemytrip.com.

The spokesperson of Kingfisher Airlines did not respond to this newspaper's calls or messages for his comments.

Agents in Chennai, too, do not recommend Kingfisher, particularly for domestic short-haul flights. Mr M. Prabhakar, Manager, Balmer Lawrie & Co, pointed out that the problem lies with Kingfisher's ATR planes.

“So, we do not recommend Kingfisher for short-haul flights like Chennai-Coimbatore or Chennai-Madurai. But, it's okay to depend on Kingfisher for long-haul flights such as Chennai-Delhi or Chennai-Kolkata.”

Ms Charanya Ramesh, CEO, Shakthi Tours and Travels, in Chennai, said her company has, in fact, not recommended the cash-strapped airline for over a month now.

“A month ago, we booked 75 tickets to Colombo on Kingfisher, but later switched to SpiceJet. They were going for a doctors' conference there, and we did not want to take a chance,” she said.

Ms Vijaya Shenoy of Diana Travels, Bangalore, said that though her company has not stopped selling Kingfisher seats, customers are warned of the current trends before they make a booking.

‘Faulty pricing'

A national council member of a travel agents' body put down the current crisis to “faulty pricing strategies” of the airline. Pricing now does not match the market segment that these carriers operate in, and this problem has been compounded by the DGCA's decision to de-regulate the air tariff structure.

“The DGCA should have fixed a price band for various seat categories, within which these airlines had to operate,” he pointed out. The current crisis is not unique to Kingfisher Airlines, he added.

(With inputs from Shishir Sinha in New Delhi, Nivedita Ganguly in Mumbai and R. Ravikumar in Chennai.)

Published on November 10, 2011

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