Passengers can now book business class seats on SpiceJet flights as the low-cost carrier, apart from launching this category, is offering fares at 30-40% less expensive than competitors. Experts believe that average business class fares are likely to moderate in the coming days since Jet Airways, the largest provider of business class seats, shut operations last month.
According to the SpiceJet website, the airline is offering business class tickets on domestic routes for now between major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, starting May 11.
The Gurugram-based carrier is operating Jet’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft with the unchanged seat configuration including the business class cabin. It has so far inducted around 8 such aircraft from Jet’s grounded fleet. Jet-operated aircraft typically have around 12 business class seats. In terms of pricing for business class tickets, SpiceJet, for instance, is offering fares at Rs 32,000 for to-and-fro journey on the Delhi-Mumbai route compared to around Rs 46,000 offered by full-service carrier Vistara and Air India. Similarly, on the Delhi-Bengaluru sector, SpiceJet is selling tickets at Rs 40,000 for a two-way travel against nearly Rs 53,000 offered by the other two carriers.
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SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh on April 25 had said that the airline wants to experiment with business class product since the largest full-service carrier in the country closed operations last month. According to Rakshit Desai, managing director, FCM Travel Solutions, the success of SpiceJet’s business class product would depend on both airport experience and on-board product for flyers.
“For a business class traveller, airport experience is as important as the on-board product. They usually get lounge access, priority check-in, benefits of loyalty programme, fast track access to aircraft, etc. We will have to wait for SpiceJet to give details about the features of its product.” Desai said.
Queries sent to SpiceJet did not illicit any response till press time. Mark Martin, founder and chief operating officer, Martin Consulting, believes it would be difficult for SpiceJet to match the business class travel experience of full-service carriers.