If anyone is looking to buy airline tickets on Tuesday, May 5, through a travel agent, they may just find themselves up the creek without a paddle. That is because many travel agents are going to close up shop on Tuesday to protest the lack of transparency in today’s airfare prices.
Of course, the lack of transparency in airfare is nothing new. In fact, back in 2011, the Aviation Ministry had to ban all airlines from charging extras for preferential seating. Airlines had to start listing these charges under “special services.” That being said, travel agents are still not impressed.
The Travel Agents Association of India is one of the groups that is helping to coordinate this protest. The president of this group, Iqbal Mulla, said that travel agents are now demanding that all airlines keep their airfares transparent. He said that they also want the government in India to start regulating all airline fares. The group wants this so that they can keep consumers from being exploited.
Nearly 3,000 different travel agents are going to back this protest. This is bad news for the airline industry, as the Travel Agents Association of India actually makes up close to 40 percent of all airline bookings in the country.
Although this is happening in India, experts believe that the outcome is something to watch closely. If the airlines don’t start changing their ways, other travel agents around Europe are likely to follow suit. After all, the more transparent airfare is, the easier it is for them to do their job.
Mulla went on to say that this protest is not just going to affect domestic flights; it will affect overseas flights as well. After all, it is both domestic and overseas airlines that have started to use these unethical practices. His group urges the government in India to act now and to take this matter very seriously.
The problem is that this protest is going to cost airlines a lot of money. This is something that airlines don’t want to deal with right now because they are still struggling to recover since the economic downturn. Of course, other experts say that it’s the lack of profits in the airline industry that has inspired them to mask their airfare prices.
The goal for the airline industry is simple. They want to mask the real price of passenger tickets until they get to the airport or have started planning the rest of their trip. At that point, it is unlikely that the passenger is going to change their mind. Thus, they will pay the hidden fees that pop up when they finish buying their tickets.
One good way to avoid this is to never plan a holiday based on the price of tickets airlines advertise. Although it is a bad practice, airlines continuously post prices that look too good to be true. Unfortunately for consumers, these prices usually turn out to be “false” because they do not include certain extras and fees. Airlines currently charge passengers for everything from snacks to drinks to even pillows. Airlines will use any advantage they have over passengers to make money.