Bonanza for fliers as airlines slash advance booking rates 50%

Air passengers who book in the next day or two can get tickets at a discount of as much as 50 per cent, as airlines seek to fill up their seats in the lean season.

Gurgaon-based low-cost carrier SpiceJet was the first to offer the heavy discount on tickets booked in advance between 21 and 23 January for travel up to 15 April. IndiGo and GoAir, the other two low-cost carriers, were quick to follow suit with almost identical offers.

The airlines, however, did not specify how many tickets they had put up for discounted sale. By Tuesday evening, full service national carrier Air India too had joined the budget carriers in offering the discount; and reports say Jet Airways may soon follow suit.

The January-March quarter is usually the leanest part of the year for airlines, and the move seeks to ensure they don't fly with half-empty planes.

Under the promotional offer, a Mumbai-Delhi ticket is available for Rs2,830 when the spot fare is over Rs10,000; with similar discounts on other routes. All the airlines have announced the sale in the 30-60 days advance purchase window.