The next time you are booked on a SpiceJet flight, you might just be flying Go First, or vice versa. There is an arrangement that both the airlines have been operating under for the past few weeks that might have you in a gotcha moment when arriving for your flight at the airport
Evidently, SpiceJet and Go First (erstwhile GoAir) have decided that the airlines are going to club flights on the other’s network where their networks overlap. There is no formal agreement, apparently, but an understanding has been achieved. The deal entails the airlines proactively cancelling flights with low loads and accommodate their passengers onto the other’s alternate flights.
My first reaction to this news was circling back to when Kingfisher and Jet Airways discussed some cooperation back in 2008, which was announced but never saw the light of day.
How does this work in practice? Both the airlines confer with each other daily, and wherever there are low loads on a flight, they seek out seats on the closest available flight on the other airlines’ network and rebook them there. In this case, the airline which cancels their flight pays the current government-mandated price to the other airline to buy the seats. The other airline, accommodating the passengers, reduces the number of seats from its inventory on sale.
As per The Hindu Businessline, which first carried this story, the airlines have cooperated on this and placed at least 20,000 passengers on the other one’s network so far. The paper also reports that this has helped the airlines cut down their daily cash spends by INR 20 Lakhs (USD 27,000) per day.
The airlines are quoted as using the IROPS agreement to model this arrangement. IROPS (Interline Considerations on Irregular Operations) agreements are made between airlines where they can rebook their passengers on another airline if there is a cancellation due to issues such as weather-related delays or aircraft gone tech. But these arrangements happen closer to the time of departure and not a day in advance, like when IndiGo offered me to fly SpiceJet when their flight between Delhi – Mumbai was running massively delayed.
Does everything work smoothly? Maybe not. In one case, an LFAL reader reported that his friend was informed at the time of check-in with Go First that they have been accommodated on the SpiceJet flight.
In another case, someone paid for a specific seat (1A) and could not fly on the front row.
@DGCAIndia @flyspicejet Life time experience Booked ticket in SpiceJet flew to Patna in GoAir and all pre-booked privilege like seat 1A priority check in and all goes for a toss .. PNR LG219K Delhi-Patna. यहाँ भी राम भरोसे … @flyspicejet should I expect a refund …
— Sanjiv K. Jha (@sanjivjha69) May 27, 2021
And here is more trouble, in which case excess baggage fees were paid.
@flyspicejet @goairlinesindia wanted to inform you of an awful customer experience at Bangalore airport. I was first shuffled from a goair flight to SpiceJet. Then charged extra for my laptop bag at exuberant rates. The credit card machine wouldn't handle 3 different credit…
— Nikhil Lakshman (@Lakshman_Nikhil) May 31, 2021
In a third case, the payment for excess baggage was not passed through to the other airline.
The @flyspicejet people never respond to the queries of their customers. I am waiting for the last 13 days to get a reply from #spicejet
It's very unprofessional and frustrating. @goairlinesindia @DGCAIndia @HardeepSPuri @MoCA_GoI @AjaySingh_SG pic.twitter.com/uSFkzVxRpY
— Tushar (@karantushar97) May 18, 2021
If you are booked on SpiceJet or Go First, you might see yourself in a situation being shifted to the other airline’s flight. While the shift will be proactively informed, you may be in a situation where the ancillary assignment money will be lost, or you may have a case where you will need to pay again and get a refund later.
What do you think of this unlikely alliance between the two financially weak airlines? Have you been at the receiving end of this move? Do share your experience.
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