Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flying Straight

The common sense approach to my earlier post in resolving the crisis faced by various airlines after a systematic study are presented herein below :

Scenario 1 :  If the International airline had code sharing arrangement with Air India which was scheduled to depart in another 2 hours time, they would have saved the accommodation cost and reduced the inconvenience caused to the passenger.

Scenario 2 :  The airline concerned could have charged the difference in the fare which amounts to 37 k and accommodated the passenger since he was using their own flight.

Scenario 3 :  It is very to replicate this type of gesture unless the executives are trained to spot the crisis.

Scenario 4 :  Almost all passengers could have been accommodated in the four flights which took off on that day.  All the flights had 30 to 40% booking even assuming 8 flights were cancelled, if there was co-ordination among airlines all passengers would have flown without cancellation.  Majority of the passengers cancelled their flight because the rates charged were exorbitant.

Scenario 5 : Atleast accommodation could have been provided by the airline for the passenger who had to return to their hotel for overbooking.

Scenario 6 :  When airlines are unable to find customers or manage their schedules by code sharing some private enterprises would take charge of their business and messing it up further.

Scenario 7  :  If this airliner can cancel one flight and club two flight passengers they have saved valuable fuel and reduced their losses by 50%. The same logic can be carried forward in code sharing arrangements.

Scenario 8 :  The concerned airliner could have charged the difference and offered the customer the benefit of frequent flyer.  The regular tariff for this route is 25 k and the difference amounts to 13 k.

Scenario 9 :  Travel portal needs to pass on the benefit of no fees for postponement of ticket to frequent flyers

Scenario 10 :  Clarity on ticket pricing should be prevalent.  Dynamic pricing when there is demand amounts to black marketing which should be avoided.  Cancellation and postponement policy should be clearly mentioned on the ticket.

Considering the facts that airline industry is undergoing serious demand crisis, it is time for introspection of their policies.  Pricing of the tickets is the primary issue :

Basic cost without over heads :     Rs 2000/            60 days plus in advance      15%     30 seats

Costing with overheads covered:   Rs 2500/           30 days plus in advance       15%     30 seats

Cost plus profits                           Rs 3000/-          15 > 30 days plus                30%     60 seats

Premium Profits                           Rs 4000/-           Less than 15 days                40%     80 seats

An average realisation of              Rs 3175              100% occupancy

Cancellation charges                                              10% to 25% of the ticket value
Postponement                                                        No levy or 2% or difference in fare.

Well another scenario in case of  low demand equivalent to only 15 to 25% occupancy.  Than it is ideal to club the flights or use code sharing with other airlines.  This would result in grounding of 3 aircrafts and effectively only one airline will be flying turn by turn.  This would mean that losses for all the airline are cut, and it provides an opportunity for maintainence and upgrading skills of pilots.  It will cut fuel consumption by 3/4th which in turn will put pressure on the demand for crude.  Lesser the demand the crude prices are bound to plummet.  The pollution in the air will also be reduced considerably.

All the head honchos of the airline industry need to ponder over how they are going to manage their affairs during recessionery trend.  During boom times no one will be bothered to look into costing and code sharing.  Rather it would be a situation of managing over bookings.  When the flight is being over booked like in railways, it should be known that the passenger is aware in advance that he is booking against RAC.  Who knows safety norms permitting, We may find takers who are willing to stand and fly too for short distance Lolz.


Monday, November 28, 2011


Scenario 1 : Mumbai Chatrapathi Shivaji Airport : 2004 After a nice holiday, shopping and dining experience at Taj Mumbai, my brother-in-law and family of 5 members were to take off to Paris on a reputed international flight next day early morning.  I was surprised to receive a call from my sister stating that they are staying back in Mumbai and they invited us to join for Lunch at Juhu Centaur.  We were surprised that the airline had been overbooked by 20 odd seats.  I believe during holiday season cancellations too are high.  The airline offered free boarding and lodging and next day their tickets were confirmed on priority, lest the airline incurs expense on boarding on lodging again.

Scenario 2 : Bangalore Old Airport :  2007:  Once again my brother in law and family were on a vacation to home town, in between he receives an emergency call from the office that there is a crisis because of  client default.  He had to cut short his holiday and return to Paris.  There was no refund of  ticket and instead he was charged double the price of  the ticket for using the same airline under code sharing arrangement.  He ended up paying 55 K for a fresh ticket and lost 18 K in unutilized ticket.

Scenario 3 : Mumbai Domestic Airport :  1996 :  We receive an emergency call from my mother at 6 am, that my father was no more.  We did not carry sufficient cash, nor could we disturb anybody from borrowing money early morning.  In those there were limited ATMs for drawing cash from the bank.  Ultimately we reached airport and flashed the credit card for booking ticket.  The employee at the booking counter rudely told us to come back later.  We were crestfallen whether we will get the ticket, whether the credit card will be approved, and filled with tension.  Suddenly a Jewish executive of the airline comes and enquires, on knowing our plight, he issues an order to release the ticket and offers us a complimentary breakfast in their lounge.  We were relieved from travel tension and delighted at the response of  a foreigner.

Scenario 4 : Gauhati Airport :  2009 :  We were literally on a last leg of our holiday trip to North East Trip.  When we checked in at the airport we found that the airport was bustling with passengers.  Suddenly we realized all flights are delayed due to pollution from the river bed of  Bramhaputra.  There was no ILFS landing system, I doubt with the simulator too flights would have been able to land.  There was enmass cancellation of flights announced as the day progressed.  I was watching the plight of the passengers some were on emergency trip, some were on personal trip and some were on official trip.  Suddenly in the evening it was announced that probably 4 flights will be able to land and take off instead of  12 flights.  Being an off season ( exam season ) I was sure that only  30% to 40% occupancy of flights.  Suddenly the ticket price shot up to 18 K for a business classs instead of regular 5 K.

Scenario 5 :  Port Blair Airport : 2005 :  We were surprised to find that our co-travellers returning back to Hotel at YMCA Port Blair.   They had to return because their flight was over booked .and the airline concerned did not offer them an accommodation nor conveyance.  They had paid 13 k and whereas had paid only 5 k by the same airline. The same airline was supposed to be reporting Red in their balance sheet. Next day both our families took off in the same flight on time without much hassles of cancellation due to overbooking.

Scenario 6 : Trivandrum Airport : 2010  :  My friend narrated his travails which was hilarious to listen to, he had booked his ticket through a travel portal.  They issued him a ticket subject to confirmation 24 hours prior to departure. I believe the travel portal had chartered a flight from Mumbai to Trivandrum and return.  So when my friend called up the travel portal, the employee concerned told him to stay at the airport, he will announce which airline to board.  He reached the airport at Trivandrum and found to his dismay that there was no sign of his flight departure nor any information.  He called up the employee once again and he told him that he is already in the airport, he re-confirmed that he is in Trivandrum, but the employee is in Mumbai to receive him.  We burst out laughing, than he coolly told him to stay put, he will be arriving by Mumbai flight to Trivandrum which they had chartered and return to Mumbai by the same flight with a different coding.

Scenario 7 : Pune Airport : 2011 :  I had booked flight ticket by a reputed airline from Bangalore to Pune return.  To my surprise I received a SMS on my cellphone that his flight has been preponed.  It was a real tension how to contact him and let him know that instead of  10pm departure his flight will be leaving at 5 pm.   He had switched off his roaming cellphone being on a holiday trip and was using his brother in laws local cellphone for a week.  On the final day of his departure I conveyed my message that he has to depart early since his flight has been cancelled and instead he has to catch an earlier flight.  He was relieved and thankful that his holiday did no go burst.

Scenario 8 : Abu Dhabi : 2011 :  A return ticket booked from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai was not subject to cancellation.  There was no indication on the ticket that it was Non-Refundable ticket.  My friend had to forgo his entire money.  Despite my advice to book in low fare airline which would have costed him 17 k with a provision for open ticket on return, he chose to fly a reputed International Airline at nearly 23 k just because he had a frequent flyer membership.

Scenario 9 : Bangalore BIAL Airport : 2011 ;  A return ticket to Vadodara was to be postponed.  I contacted the travel portal, who said postponement charges would be levied.  When my friend called up to the airline they confirmed that there is no postponement charges applicable.  I confronted the travel portal with this info, they obliged not to charge cancellation since the airline was not charging the same. 

Scenario 10 : Bangalore :  Live fares :  This was astonishing software manipulation from the travel portal concerned.  I was booking an airline ticket two months in advance.  The initial fare featured as 14 k, suddenly next minute fare jumped to 15 k.  The final experience was when I visited a reputed airline to enquire group ticketing to Port Blair from Bangalore I forgot to mention 30 pax.  I thought I had made a blunder, the counter girl who quoted 26 k return per pax.   I was damm pleased that it would fall within their budget.  Next day when I wanted to reconfirm the counter gal said sir the cost now is 33 k for a return for 30 pax.  A jump of nearly 7 k, and my clients cancelled their trip.

Now if one were to read between experience and decipher how the airline business operates, no wonder one can understand what a messy affair and complicated affair it can be in the rat race to scorch up the number game.  When there is an option of  code sharing, fuel prices have breached the threshold of more than 50% cost of operation and majority of tickets are booked on advance payment,  The fundamentals of scale of economy is over-ridden in group bookings, promotion coupons tariffs are charged higher than regular fare and frequent flyers are sometimes taken for a ride.  Under the above mentioned circumstance I am wondering whether I am in the right business ?  If one were to ethically thrive in tourism how does one go about getting involved in this business.  The height of heights was a comment from one five star group manager that Hotel business is like Airline business, nowerdays they don t reveal their tariffs on their portal.  I am 100% sure that the Head Honchos of airline and Hotel industry are not aware what is happening in their domain on day to day basis.   If they combine and put their heads to-gether within 2 days an appropriate solution can be arrived and ensure their business thrives even during bad times.  Guys if you were to analyse the above case study scenarios, what will be your solution to the problems created.  Let us debate for good times to be back again.

Disclaimer :  I have refrained from naming the airline or hotel group inorder to ensure that sanity returns in the industry rather than continuing this trend of  unethical practice. This is just an attempt at introspection to extract appropriate solutions to an industry which is hurt and striving to keep its head above water. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eating without Care, Ghar me Surf hai Na

For a compulsory foodie eating without care is a big luxury.  I am basically a lover of good food, who is not, exception to the rule may be counted on finger tips among my circle of family and friends.  I remember once i was on a jet flight towards Bangalore, we were given a napkin which had a perforation.  We could donn it on our shirt button to avoid spillage of food on our clothes.  It was a real thoughtful gesture i thought for foodie's, tailor made for food lover like me.  After a few months due to cost cutting airliners stopped giving away freebies like cold towel, napkins and other goodies.  I was wondering whether shifting to Bibs, would be ideal to protect my shirt particularly from spillage of food droppings, while devouring the goodies.  But my neck is large and a baby bib would be a misfit.

Guys it is a real blessing in disguise to have a good detergent.  My wife has tried all different types of detergent brand and she discovered that Surf is an ideal detergent.  I remember a friend of mine selling washing machine uttering with disdain regarding a competitor, Doya toh Roya ( if wash you will regret ).  The same may apply to other brands i presume.

Once i had stained my shirt with pan paraag stains.  It was one of my favourite Loius Philip shirt and you can imagine my plight.  Luckily my wife soaked in surf paste for almost two hours and put it for wash in surf soaked water in our washing machine.  The stain was so rigid that it took her a fortnight to get rid of the same.  I was damm happy that my shirt was salvaged at last. 

On another ocassion it was ball point ink which stained my shirt, well thankfully the stain was easily removed because of quick intervention of surf paste.  Even before my wife could discover that my shirt was stained i had applied the surf paste learning from the past experience and dropped it into the washing machine.  Hurray after two hours once the shirt was washing the stain was gone. 

When we migrated from semi automatic washing machine to automatic machine life became easy for my wife.  Life became more relaxed, earlier she used to run short of time for cooking my favourite food receipes.  Now i can look forward for various options in breakfast and dinner.  She has that extra time with an automatic washing machine and detergent combo.  She can just flick the buttons and forget the drudgery of manual operation.  Sometimes i help her in drying the clothes outside in the balcony.

The invention of automatic washing machine is a real boon for the housewives because they get that extra 1 or 2 hours to attend to other chores like cooking, cleaning or attending to childrens studies.  In this fast paced day to day life we need that extra time to sit and watch our favourite serial too. 

Guys now i am more carefree while hogging literally my favourite pasta dishes or a fish curry.  I know my wife and her knack of getting rid of dirt with Surf will do the trick.  I am sure she enjoys the phrase daag achhe hai, because it is a challenge to get rid of dirt and she knows that her favourite detergent is there forever to help her in her task.  No more Bibs or Napkins for me to protect my clothes.  I am looking forward others tryst with stained clothes.

NOTE :  For all those who are looking for stain solutions, Surf has provided an excellent link on their site