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Supply chain issues ground flights, last-minute fares zoom

With engine and spare parts supply chain issues leaving quite a few aircraft grounded, domestic flight schedules have been tweaked, cancellations by certain airlines are up, and all of this has impacted passengers who buy last-minute air tickets less than 24 hours before travel.

Air tickets booked at the last minute have always been expensive, but passengers of cancelled flights adding to the last-minute rush are further leading to increase in fares.
Currently, from Mumbai, same-day travel air tickets on non-stop flights to Hyderabad, Bhopal, Mangaluru and Indore are all priced over INR 10,000 for one-way travel. Similarly, Pune-Chennai, Delhi-Guwahati and Ranchi-Mumbai too are priced over INR 10,000.

While last-minute air tickets have always been expensive, even within this class of eleventh-hour fares, quite a few distinct categories have emerged of late based on factors such as the route, the week day and time of travel.

For one, Sundays are the worst day to book and travel. Demand for flights peaks on Sundays, making 24-hour advance purchase fares the most expensive of all available through the week. “One-way fare on Delhi-Guwahati non-stop flights started at INR 45,000 this Sunday. My parents’ Virgin Atlantic flight from London landed late in Delhi and they missed their domestic connection. We were shocked to see the Sunday fares and regretted not booking them on a single ticket from New York up to Guwahati. For Monday the fare dropped,” said Ankita Jain (name changed). On other routes, too, Sunday fares were pricier. For instance, the cheapest one-way Mumbai-Delhi ticket was at Rs 14,000 on Sunday for travel the same day. On Monday, for same day travel, it was INR 6,000. Delhi-Guwahati, which was INR 45,000 one-way on Sunday, was INR 10,500 on Monday.

The most surreal domestic fare on offer isn’t for last-minute travel. It’s advance purchase fare on the direct Mumbai-Kochi route for a return trip between December 23 and January 1- INR 45,000 upwards.

With 26 out of the 59 aircraft in its fleet grounded, GoFirst is among the worst hit and has curtailed its domestic winter schedule. “We have been providing passengers with meals, beverages; hotel accommodations where applicable and even road transport if the destination is closeby. We’re in talks with engine manufacturers and will be getting 16 engines shortly. That will ease the pressure on our fleet,” said a GoFirst official. (Source Times of India)

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