Survey: Only 12% of airline passengers open to additional fees for web check-ins
Recently, India’s largest domestic airline Indigo had announced that to avail the service of web check-ins and book specific seats in advance, passengers would now be charged extra. Indigo’s large market share in India means that other airlines operating in India would soon follow suit. However, this decision did not go down well with flyers and they expressed their displeasure on social media platforms.
Since then, Indigo has further clarified that there will not be a charge for all seats during web check-ins. They have said that passengers who have no particular preference for seats and do not wish to pay for advance seat selection can either reserve any available free seat at the time of web check-in or at the airport check-in counter. The pricing for preferred seat booking of Indigo flights, start as low as Rs100 and go as high as Rs800. These are charges that are over and above the price of ticket. Not surprisingly, flyers were upset and to investigate this matter further LocalCircles a community social media platform conducted a short survey.
The survey received around 23,000 responses in total. Those surveyed were initially asked how they would go about booking seats on a flight now that Indigo is planning to make it chargeable. The results indicated that only 12% would be willing to pay to book preferred seats in advance, while 24% would go to the airport early to acquire a seat of their choice.
A large portion of those surveyed (41%) would continue to go to the airport as usual and take whatever is available. This indicates that while a large portion of passengers are either unaware of a web check-in process and its advantages or are unaffected by the policy change as they do not use the facility.
The survey further asked what percentage of economy seats in an airplane should fall under the chargeable seat assignment category. The results indicated that 51% of the users believe that at least half of the economy seats on an airplane operated by a low cost private airline, should not be permitted in the chargeable seat assignment category. In other words, half of the seats on a airline should be available at for pre-booking during the web check-in process, at no additional cost to the passenger.
The third question asked in the survey was whether VIPs get the seats they prefer on airplanes. The reasoning behind this question being that VIPs and celebrities are bound to receive preferential treatment due to their status. The results indicate that 78% of those surveyed get their seats without additional payment while only 6% actually pay the additional fee. These results should not be surprising for the average Indian who is well aware of the rewards a celebrity-like status can provide.
Indigo has claimed that charging to book preferred seats is a common practice among airlines across the globe. However, if this survey is to be believed, Indians are still not open to the idea. People usually go for web check-ins to avoid long queues at the airport and for the convenience it provides. If this is now going to be charged, most Indians would prefer to not use it. Perhaps longer queues are going to be a common sight at the airport in the future.