Is phone booking the new way to avoid credit card convenience fee on Spicejet?

I’m slightly foxed and I have no answers since last evening so I am crowdsourcing this one to ask and tell if my assumption is true or is this just fluke. Last evening I was trying to book a flight for my brother on one of his upcoming trips. We picked a flight, and decided to go with SpiceJet since that worked best for his schedule at that point of time. Here is what the fare looked like online.


Of course, what they were not showing here was the convenience fee of Rs. 125 which is now another tack for all credit card fees being passed on to customers, which would have made the total cost of this ticket to Rs. 4,973. This convenience fee does not get included in the ticket cost at Jet Airways, SpiceJet or other carriers as well and the pop-up only turns up last minute as far as I remember.


Since my brother earned one of the vouchers from SpiceJet for Rs. 1,001, we wanted to redeem that amount against this flight. For this, I needed to call up SpiceJet and use the phone booking service. So, I was surprised when the phone agent told me the cost of the ticket to be Rs. 4,812 instead of Rs. 4,848. I asked for the voucher to be applied, and then I was told a balance of Rs. 3,811 was payable. I enquired if any other booking fee was applicable, and I was categorically informed none was. So I went ahead and paid the rest of the amount via a secure IVRS system. Once done, the ticket was issued. Here are how the charges looked like:


So, you see, the convenience charges were there, but it was cheaper to book on the phone as compared to booking online. The base fare+ fuel surcharge was Rs. 3,586 on the phone instead of the Rs. 3,770 showing online.

Does anyone have a clue on what happened here? Is it not cheaper for an airline to operate an automated system (a-la website, phone apps) and offer their best pricing there, rather than offer a better price by calling in and using human resources to book the ticket?

Do share your experiences in the comments section below.

This incident makes me make a note to self, that I should also work the phones the next time before making a flight reservation.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I had a similar experience with Kingfisher while booking a Mumbai – Singapore flight a couple of years ago. My first instinct was to book online but the payment was not going through for some reason. I called up the call center to figure out what to do and the agent offered to book the ticket on the phone with payment via IVR. To my surprise the price the agent quoted was about Rs 750 or so less per person. I obviously went ahead and booked it. To this day I can’t figure out why the price would be more online !

  2. I have noticed this with the mobile (phone) site of indigo too…

    If booked thru desktop site, they charge 100 as convenience fee, whereas while booking thru mobile phone, this is not charged.

    Hope they are not reading this…

  3. I’ve always wondered when traveling domestic in India, when they say “convenience” whose convenience do they really mean ?

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