The changing economy has brought about a sea change in airline operations across India as air travel becomes more affordable. Passenger passengers, who previously chose trains over flights, can now opt for a non-scheduled air route. Statistics show that the share of low cost carriers (LCCs) has increased significantly in recent years, mainly because corporate travelers are shifting to LCCs due to the economic downturn. In an effort to reclaim these customers, airlines have introduced low-cost airways. Full-service carriers have no way of lowering their prices, which means that the only strategy is to launch economical flights or switch their flights to the low-cost wing. Still, this move seems to be beneficial for consumers, as noted below.
The biggest advantage of low cost airlines is that the average consumer, or more affordable passenger, can look forward to traveling by plane. Air travel is no longer a common man's dream. Low-cost air services do not include expensive extras, such as free food and drink. Instead, customers can buy their own meals and refreshments on board. They have a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, snacks and drinks to choose from. Some airlines even allow travelers to carry food with them. Low-cost airlines also allow customers to earn low-cost fares under premium brands. Many offer transportation services, including air-conditioned buses to transport their customers on board.
While the frequent benefits of flying are not available at all LCCs, some air routes do provide those benefits, allowing clients to earn miles and easily redeem them. While most premium airlines focus on metro cities, LCCs have expanded air connectivity to two-tier cities as well. LCC's all-economic services cover short routes that include cities such as Kochi, Coimbatore, Madurai, in addition to major cities such as Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad. In fact, this low-cost airline initiative is a new trend in the airline industry. Another benefit is that consumers can book their tickets online. They can compare ticket prices and learn the difference in prices to optimize their economic benefits. They can book, pay and print their tickets in minutes using secure online portals. Mobile ticket options are an added convenience as consumers can book their tickets and check on-the-go flight status.
According to aviation forecasts, low cost carriers in India will take over half of the domestic market share. The disadvantages of budget air travel are small. For example, customers may have to compromise on some legroom because of the rather cramped seats and luxury services. LCCs cannot allow flexible transit between different airlines or carriers. However, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, as evidenced by the rapid pace at which LCCs are gaining market share. In short, low-cost airlines offer quality service, reliable operations and standard services.