The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has told airlines to ensure that their fares as displayed on metasearch engines are not higher than what is displayed on their own websites.
Review Fares On Metasearch Engines: DGCA Advises Airlines
Airlines have also been directed to review the fares displayed on third-party platforms/ sites in order to avoid confusion for customers.
A metasearch engine such as Google or Skyscanner compiles information regarding a user’s input from various other search engines.
After this, it displays the gathered and ranked information to the users.
Advice To Passengers
The DGCA has advised passengers to check airfares on the airline’s website instead of search engines.
This is because metasearch engines do not always display the actual point to point fare.
It then ends up combining fares of multiple airlines and presents an exaggerated figure.
This is precisely what happened on Aug 7 when a complaint to the aviation ministry said that an economy-class ticket on British Airways’s Delhi-London flight for August 26 was priced Rs 3.95 lakh.
Exorbitant Fares Of India-UK Flights
The figure later turned out to be false, but prices were on the higher side nevertheless due to a surge in passenger demand.
Due to this, all the affordable seats were immediately sold out, leaving only seats in upper economy and business classes vacant.
The exaggerated figures shown on search engines thereby reflected the prices of the last few seats available for a particular date and not that of seats already booked.
No Cap On International Fares
Air India said that it had allowed passengers to rebook tickets on available flights which has resulted in a huge surge in bookings on flights operating the specific routes.
There are lower and upper limits in place on all domestic airfares in India since May 25 last year.
However, it is not applicable to international airfares.