Airfares soar over 100% as airlines cancel flights
Air passengers face the grim prospects of high air fares and fewer flight choices as several airlines cancel operations due to a number of reasons including the grounding of 737-MAX aircraft.
 
According to industry insiders, some sectors have shown a rise of more than 100 per cent in last minute bookings. 
 
"With an unprecedented number of planes now grounded due to various factors, reduction in seat capacity has led to an increase in fares overnight. Last minute airfares on Wednesday increased to more than 100 per cent on some key routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Mumbai-Kolkata and Mumbai-Bengaluru as compared to same time last year," said Aloke Bajapi, CEO and Co-founder, ixigo.
 
"Spot fares for Mumbai-Chennai are touching Rs 26,073 as opposed to Rs 5,369 the same time last year. High airfare patterns are expected to continue in the short term with Holi and summer school holidays round the corner, resulting in an increased demand."
 
Operations of airlines like SpiceJet and Jet Airways have been hit due to the government's Wednesday decision to join a global grounding of 737-MAX aircraft following a crash in Ethiopia.
 
In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate 17 Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft - Spice (12) and Jet (5). A part of Jet fleet has already been grounded due to other reasons.
 
The grounding led SpiceJet to cancel 14 flights on Wednesday. This number is expected to touch 32 on Thursday.
 
Apart from SpiceJet, Jet Airways, which faces financial challenges, has already grounded four more aircraft over non-repayment of dues to lessors, taking the total to 32. 
 
The company in BSE filings has said that its 19 aircraft were grounded in February over non-repayment of dues to lessors, while 13 aircraft were grounded this month, taking the total to 32. The Jet Airways Group operates a fle et of 123 aircraft. 
 
However, around 50 planes are said to be non-operational due to a host of reasons, including lack of spare parts.
 
IndiGo faces massive turbulence of pilot shortage, leading to truncated flight schedule
 
Earlier, the airline said that 30 of its flights which have been affected represent only 2 per cent of its network. It has decided to curtail its schedule till March 31, by about 30 flights a day. 
 
"As a proactive measure, IndiGo has decided to continue its curtailment until the end of March. This measure has already been implemented and passengers informed," the airline said in a statement.
 
"These medium term cancellations have been made to minimise the impact on passengers as alternative travel options have been offered well in advance. The operations will be normalised by the start of the summer schedule."
 
For sometime now, Air India has grounded 17 aircraft due to technical reasons.
 
On Wednesday, the government had advised domestic airlines not to go in for predatory air fare pricing as several 737-MAX aircraft were grounded due to safety reasons.
 
Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said: "We have advised the airlines... that they should not use it (grounding) as a reason to jack up their fares." 
 
"They have promised they will go as per normal routine. DGCA has just said that it will be monitoring all the sectors very closely."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Indian Consumers: Ask Your MPs to Adapt the Consumer Protection Bill When Parliament Assembles
The Consumer Protection Bill (CPB) 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 20 December 2018. Actually, this bill was tabled in 2015. However, Raja Sabha did not pass the bill and the new Parliament has to take this up after the election. 
 
CPB was not at all controversial. All political parties would have been interested to support the long suffering consumers if only they realized that their voters demand from them a robust act to protect their rights. After all, voters are consumers in one way or the other. But it did not happen. 
 
The new bill had several consumer friendly provisions. It would have established a Central Consumer Protection Authority to protect consumer rights and to look into misleading advertisements, had provisions to fine and ban on celebrities for endorsing misleading advertisements, would have encouraged alternate dispute litigation mechanisms etc.
 
Consumer Voice (CV), a well-known Delhi based consumer protection organisation has started a petition to urge all the political parties to pass the consumer protection bill (CPB 2018) when the new Parliament meets after the election. CV publishes a monthly magazine to inform the consumers of the comparative testing of products and services. Such information is invaluable for consumers and not to be misled by all kinds of ads. 
 
Unless we the citizens show interest, new parliament irrespective of which combination of parties come to rule is unlikely to take this bill on a priority basis. What a shame that even after passage of four long years, we have failed to have a progressive consumer protection act to replace the one of 1986. This is mostly because of consumer indifference. 
 
Some efforts have been made in the past to get signatures for petition like this, but none achieved the critical mass of at least one lakh signatures (even one lakh is not much to speak of in a society where crores are active on the social network). 
 
Some may argue what is the use of passing another law when the previous law has not really helped the consumers as expected. Consumer courts established  under previous law have adapted the dysfunctional culture of general courts giving never ending adjournments and has failed to uphold the spirit of giving judgements with no or minimum adjournment in 90 days. This is mostly because we the citizens have failed in our responsibility of putting pressure on the government to implement the law properly. Hopefully, the new consumer movement which is now being promoted by some NGOs to push the political parties to adapt a more progressive act may make a difference.  
 
  
 
We all talk of how social network plays an important role. Can anything be more important than helping the consumers who face problems every day while buying goods and services either from the public or private sectors? 
 
If we the citizens take interest, we should be able to get at least a million signatures to the petition. It will definitely make a difference. Our goal is to get millions to sign the petition to convince all the political leaders to put consumer protection on their manifesto. 
 
Link to sign to petition is at http://chng.it/LfD68DFn.  
 
Soon after reading the article, do not postpone to sign it. It takes less than a minute. 
 
Let us get inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s words, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. 
 
(Bhamy V Shenoy is a governing council member of Consumer Voice
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COMMENTS

BR

2 months ago

Only honest & brave people & governments will care to save Consumers. People get the government that they deserve.

How Power Banks or Portable Chargers Exaggerate mAh Ratings
Class-action lawsuits allege that the mAh ratings of several portable chargers are greatly exaggerated.
 
The idea, at least initially, was to have a relaxing vacation. Yet here you are hours into a hike and miles from the beach. But just as you’re about to throw yourself on the rainforest floor, you spot a group of spider monkeys high above in the canopy. It’s a picture-perfect moment, if only your phone battery hadn’t died two hours ago.
 
But if you had a portable charger, you might still be able to capture the moment before it passes — provided the charger itself has enough juice.
 
When it comes to portable chargers (aka power banks), the mAh rating is what you need to know. It tells you how long the charger can recharge a device (a phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) before the charger itself needs to be recharged. More mAh, more juice, generally.
 
But a recent trend in class-action litigation alleges that the mAh ratings of several portable chargers are greatly exaggerated.
 
“The most important factor for consumers in choosing a Power Bank is its capacity, which is measured in milliampere-hours, or ‘mAh,'” states a lawsuit against Inland Products, which plaintiffs allege advertises a mAh of 10,400 for its ProHT chargers when testing showed the actual mAh to be only 5,840.
 
“Consumers thus have a strong preference for, and pay more for, Power Banks with a higher mAh,” the suit continues. “Accordingly, for most Power Banks, the mAh rating is featured prominently in the product’s advertising.”
 
Other portable chargers currently facing class actions include:
 
 
TINA.org reached out to all five brands for comment. Walmart, maker of Onn portable chargers, was the only one to respond, telling TINA.org that it takes the matter seriously and is “responding as appropriate with the court.”
 
Find more of our coverage on phones here.
 
This article highlights a trend in class-action litigation as identified by our Class-Action Tracker. Thus the name of this feature, CATrends.
 
Courtesy: TruthInAdvertising.org
 
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