Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fly with Indian Rail

I was in for a surprise when I visited the IRCTC site to book rail tickets and this banner welcomed me. I was instantly reminisced of the chain mails last year stating the irony that IRCTC hosted an ad for SpiceJet.


Not bothering with the irony, I went ahead to explore the air.irctc.co.in site, realizing that it is just one of the myriad OTAs Indian Railways has stiff competition with.

The simple looking UI is powered with ajax, and provides a highly responsive and smooth process of searching and booking your tickets. The rates are a couple hundred more than had you booked them directly with the airlines, but the 10% cashback reduces the total cost by almost the same amount.

However, I could not help wondering on these lines:

  • Why does Indian Railways have to sell out flight tickets? Granted, it is not a direct competition, but they are still modes of travel; and come to think of the comparative fares between IR and lost-cost airlines.
  • How many people would actually go for this sarkari subsidiary of the state-owned Indian Railways, which doesn't work for even rail bookings half the time?
  • How much money does IRCTC make out of the OTA business? Is it worth the share of travellers that is liable to shift towards flying?
  • Since IRCTC does not allow bookings during 11:30pm to 8:00 am, I was left to wonder if the air booking would work at night ;). I hope it would, let me try it out tonight.
Anyway, an appreciable attempt by IRCTC. IMO they could strike a good deal if they come up with a functionality that lets you combine the two modes of travel; connecting airport cities to smaller ones, providing direct bookings for the two legs of travel, the way 90di does. Lets wait and watch if the alliance between rails and skies opens up a new era of domestic travel.

4 comments:

Anadi Misra said...

Kya baat hai...Bahut din baad blog kiya aapne! Chalo isi bahane ek kaam ki cheej pata chali. I really like the idea of combining travel (Rail & air).
Waise what does OTA stand for (Google kaun kare :P)?

Amiya Shrivastava said...

Long time no See..welcome back..was waiting for you..Very Informative article..I'll hit the button too!

Rolling said...

Hi this was interesting maybe they are trying to provide "onetsop shop" facility, but I wdnt know since I never use the online transaction as it aparently needs a credit card. Am back writing on WP again, hope you find time to visit and give me your valuable feedback, Regards, Trisha

Lavanya Sethi said...

I booked a rail ticket for me using irctc vide PNR no. 2562870011 (Transaction ID: 0480387060) for journey from DMO-LTT on September 2, 2012 for the journey on September 22, 2012 in Train No. 11072, the only train plying to Mumbai from nearest station from my home town. Unfortunately, I could not travel and i had to file TDR on 16/09/2012. I was informed by irctc that refund will come within 90 days.

After 4 months of follow up, the status of TDR is showing as regretted. Please hold to get the refund.
I filed the complaint in Consumer Court also but. Still not got any response. Please help me to get some solution.

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