Mumbai

Now, bid for Air India business class seats with Upgrade Lite

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Over 50 airlines allow passengers to bid on unused space

To bring in cash and also fill up seats, Air India has introduced Upgrade Lite, a service through which passengers can bid for First and Business Class seats.

Successful bidders will be notified at the check-in counters while those not successful will get a refund. Air India has partnered with Optiontown, a travel option website, to jointly allow an upgrade to First or Business class. Under Upgrade Lite, the airline is claiming to offer seats for up to 75 % less.

Giving an example of how it will work, an airline official said, if one has booked through Air India to fly any domestic or international destination from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai, he or she can sign up for a chance to upgrade to Business or First Class using Upgrade Lite. The passenger will be informed between four to one hour (depending on type of upgrade) of departure. If an upgrade does not come through, the amount will be refunded within five days of the flight’s departure.

Reserve price

“The bidding range will have a pre-defined reserve price. The bidding time for a specific flight will be open till 0-4 hours for both domestic and international flights. Bidders need to have a valid ticket,” the official said.

Bidding on airline upgrades is basically like a blind auction for unsold seats on a flight. Over 50 major airlines offer such a platform to let passengers bid on unused space in their business and first class cabins rather than fly with empty seats up front.

Among the airlines that offer such an option are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Hawaiian Airlines, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

Air India officials said that bids are accepted per person and per flight, and not on a total itinerary.

“So you will have to bid on each individual flight separately if you have more than one connection, and you must bid on each individual passenger’s reservation. This is important since upgrades are non-transferable,” Reji Philip, a Fort-based travel agent said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:35:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/now-bid-for-air-india-business-class-seats-with-upgrade-lite/article25884705.ece

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