Foreign airlines woo Indian travellers with wedding gifts

Written by Sajan C Kumar | Chennai | Updated: Dec 8 2013, 06:22am hrs
Indian weedingThe special discount was available on bookings made between December 4 and December 7 for travel up to March 31 next year (Reuters)
Marriage is serious business, and the latest to wake up to the importance of the big, fat Indian wedding are foreign airlines. Passing through turbulent times, air carriers operating in the country are now testing their marketing skills during the countrys most celebrated time the wedding season.

Dubai-based Emirates, in a limited period offer, gave up to 20% off on economy-class and business-class fares to 20 select destinations, including Mauritius, Cape Town, London, Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt and New York.

The special discount was available on bookings made between December 4 and December 7 for travel up to March 31 next year.

This is considered to be the wedding season in India and couples will be in the process of planning their honeymoons, said Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, vice-president, Emirates, India and Nepal.

Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia, however, is more concerned about the money being spent on the couples honeymoon trips. It says in its promotional tagline: Spend time together. Not money. The airline is offering promotional fares to romantic honeymoon destinations such as Langkawi (Malaysia), Bali (Indonesia) and Phuket (Thailand) from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Fares inclusive of taxes and fees start from as low as R5,000 one way from Kochi, Kolkata and Tiruchirappalli to Kuala Lumpur, while the same from Chennai or Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur begin from R6,500 one way. The guests can then connect to romantic honeymoon destinations like Langkawi, Bali and Phuket from Kuala Lumpur for all-inclusive fares starting from R2,999 one way.

Siegtraund Teh, group chief commercial officer, AirAsia, said, As we continuously increase frequencies and add new routes to our network, our guests will be able to take advantage of our wide coverage in this region. Furthermore, with the introduction of 20 new city pairs for our Fly-Thru service from Kuala Lumpur, this is the perfect opportunity for our guests to connect from many places conveniently to their preferred destinations.

AirAsia is encouraging customers to book till December 15 and plan their travel from January 6 to April 30, 2014. Travellers can book their flights by using the airlines new mobile apps too, which are available for download at Apples App Store for iPhones and iPads, Googles Play Store for Android phones, as well as the Blackberry 10.

Guests are encouraged to pre-book their check-in baggage allocation online along with their flight bookings, as they are able to save up to 66% compared with checking in bags at the airport counter.

On Emirates, the menu is vast. Its wooing customers by offering extra on-board services for couples celebrating a special occasion. From watching romantic Bollywood movies to playing a game on the in-flight entertainment system, couples have plenty of options to choose from. They can also create playlists.

They can also request a special cake or a bottle of champagne at the time of booking and start their celebrations even before they reach their honeymoon destinations.

Ahmad of Emirates said: We hope this offer will give them a stronger reason to choose Emirates as their preferred carrier for what is likely to be one of their most memorable vacations.

Couples planning to get married or even those planning a romantic vacation can also explore any of the 20 discounted destinations and partner them with romantic holiday packages from Emirates Holidays, the tour operating arm of Emirates.