India’s top three airlines have withdrawn a transaction fee on air tickets effective today for tickets sold through their call centres, websites or offices.
Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have withdrawn the fee, which ranges from 350 rupees on a domestic economy ticket to 1,200 to 10,000 rupees on first class international tickets.
Earlier this month, airlines had withdrawn the five per cent sales commission, built in to the ticket prices, they used to pay travel agents, and urged the agents to charge “transaction fees” to the customer and make up their income. To ensure parity between prices of tickets bought directly from the airlines and those from travel agents, airlines also levied the “transaction fee”, a move, extremely unpopular with the passengers.
As fuel prices have been falling, there is pressure building on the airlines to reduce fares, with Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel calling on airlines to play their part in reviving air travel. This move, while welcome, is sure to have the travel agent community up in arms.