Sunday, 12 April 2015

Rapid Rewards- The Best of All Frequent Flyer Programs in USA

Which is the best frequent flyer for you? Is it the one where you can earn miles easily? Or, it is the one which allows you to redeem these easily? Perhaps, these are the two single most important criteria of judging the frequent flyer programs of airlines. In a recent concluded survey in USA which aimed to know which US carrier has the most attractive FFP, it has come to light that it is the Southwest Airlines which has taken the lead over the others. And, if you look at the reasons which make it so, it is because of its extremely customer-friendly policies.
Southwest Airlines has based its program on number of dollars spent, not on miles flown, which is the current trend barring the single most important exception of American Airlines. There are some touchpoints in its FFP which are customer-friendly. These are:
  1. Passengers are free to use their award miles for use even on regular flights or on any available seat. This is a far departure from other carriers which either has separate award flights or reserved award seats. This makes it extremely convenient for passengers to redeem their miles whenever they want.
  2. The carrier also permits the passengers to have free checked baggage allowance, which most of the carrier do not. This is one big attraction for people besides the low air fare for which it is well known.
  3. Another attraction for the passengers is its Companion Pass which is provided once they fly 100 qualifying flights or 1,10,000 qualifying points in a year.

As per the survey, the next preferred FFP is of Delta Airways. But, only 17% of respondents voted for it as against 34% for Southwest. American was the close third airlines, with 14% vote share.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Rules Changed - 300 cms is New Dimensions Limit

Emirates, one of the top Gulf airlines, had effected a change in its rule of checked in baggage allowance from November 15, 2014. As per the new rule, for tickets issued after November 15, 2014, the allowance will meet dimensional restrictions. While the weight restrictions on Emirates baggage allowance will remain the same for all classes of travel, it will no longer accept that luggage as checked in which is more than 300 cms in sum of dimensions. So, if you are carrying multiple bags on your flight or the items are oversized to the extent that the dimensions exceeds 300 cms then the same will have to be carried in the cargo and will attract the freight charges.

It is to be noted further that for flights to USA/Canada etc where the piece systems applies, there is a requirement that the total dimensions of each luggage shall not exceed 150 cms. In case the dimensions are more than 150 cms but less than 300 cms, there will be an additional fee. However, for more than 300 cms, items are not to be carried as checked baggage.  

The change in the policy is oriented to discourage people from carrying too large items as checked in baggage. This is also likely to increase the revenue earnings of the carrier from freight charges when the oversized items are likely to be flown as cargo.

Before this rule, the carrier permitted luggage of sum of dimension 158 cms to be carried as checked in one and if there were more than one bags to be carried, the sum of dimensions together would not exceed 273 cms.

Understanding Air India Baggage Allowance For International Destinations

Air India is  a full service legacy carrier of India. The carrier operates international flights to more destinations than any other carrier in India. For this reason, this is one of the most sought after airlines for international travel in India. If you are also planning to go to destinations across the world on this carrier, you would need to know the baggage limitations that apply to you.

baggage allowance (In case there is a confusion you can directly put your question at the end of the blog post and we will give the answer within 24 hours)

Air India has these allowances for checked in baggage depending on the destination to/from which you are travelling, the class in which you are flying, the date on which the ticket was issued, validity of the ticket and whether you have bought the single or the return fare. The factors of issue of tickets and the validity period of ticket makes this quite difficult to understand. Lets understand this in simple terms here.

  1. India to Far East and South Asia ( except Japan)

    First class-- 40 kgs
    Executive Class-- 30 kgs
    Economy Class-- 20 kgs

     b.   Bangkok to India/ UK/ Europe/ Middle East/ Kathmandu (valid till 31 March, 2015), and
    Singapore to Birmingham/ London/ Frankfurt/ Paris/ Rome/ Milan/ Moscow, and
    India to Singapore, and

    All Flights to/from India and Gulf and Middle East (except Saudi Arabia)
    Executive Class-- 40 kgs
    Economy Class-- 30 kgs
Singapore  to USA (Chicago [ORD], New York [JFK], Newark [EWR]), allowance is:

Executive Class-- 2 pcs (32kgs per pc, L+B+H= 158 cms/ pc)
Economy Class-- 2 pcs  (23 kgs per pc, L+B+H=  273 cms both and 158 cms/pc)

          For India-Riyadh, India-Riyadh-India and Riyadh-India Flights, luggage allowance is
          First Class-- 50 kgs
Executive Class-- 40 kgs
Economy Class-- 30 kgs

Bangkok to USA (valid till 31 March 2015) flights, the following is baggage limits allowed freely:

Executive Class-- 2 pcs (32 kgs each)
Economy Class-- 2 pcs (23 kgs each)

For the Shanghai-India-Shanghai flights, and
Seoul- India, free allowance is:

First Class-- 40 kgs
Executive Class-- 30 kgs
Economy Class-- 20 kgs

Singapore to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Bahrain, Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh, Muscat, Kuwait, Dhaka & Kathmandu, allowance is:

First Class-- 40 kgs
Executive Class-- 40 kgs
Economy Class-- 30 kgs

Hong Kong- India- Hongkong flights are allowed:

First Class-- 50 kgs
Executive Class-- 40 kgs
Economy Class-- 30 kgs

c. All Flights between India and Male, Kabul, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Yangon and Colombo
    Executive Class-- 30 kgs
    Economy Class-- 20 kgs

d. In case of Flights to/from Australia, the following baggage policies apply on Air India flights:

    Between India and Sydney/Melbourne: For ticket issued after 22 October 2014, Executive class travelers are allowed 40 kgs Air India baggage allowance for one-way and return flights between India and Sydney/Melbourne. Economy Class travelers are allowed 30 kgs for one-way flights from Sydney/Melbourne to India and 40 kgs on one-way flights from India to Sydney/Melbourne. However, on the return flights between Australia and India, the Economy class travelers are allowed 40 kgs.

Australia to Middle East, South Asian Subcontinent and European cities: Executive class allowed 40 kgs on one-way and return and 30 kgs on Economy Class.

e. Air India flights to/from European cities- Frankfurt, Rome, Paris, Milan- (except UK) come with the following allowances:

For tickets issued from April 1, 2015, flights between India and Europe and from Europe to SASC/SEA region will provide Executive Class travelers 2 pcs of 23 kg each and Economy Class travelers 1 pcs of 23 kgs. 

From European cities to FEA/SEA/AUS region Executive Class 2 pcs of 23 kgs each and Economy ones are allowed 1 pcs of 30 kgs.

For Frankfurt-India-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Kathmandu-Frankfurt sectors of travel, First, Executive and Infant ticket travelers are allowed respectively 2 pcs of 23 kgs, 2 pcs of 23 kgs and 1 pcs of 10 kg. But the Economy Class travelers on India route are allowed 1 pcs of 23 kgs whereas or Kathmandu route are allowed 30 kgs. There is also another restriction of sum of dimensions of per pcs being 158 cms.

India-Frankfurt and
India-Paris (except Chennai) are allowed:

First Class    40 Kgs.
Executive Class    30 Kgs.
Economy Class    20 Kgs.

Chennai-Paris route comes with following allowance:

First Class    40 Kgs.
Executive Class    35 Kgs.
Economy Class    30 Kgs.

Paris-India route:

Executive Class    48 Kgs.
Economy Class    30 Kgs.


Executive Class    30 Kgs.
Economy Class    20 Kgs.
Infant    10 Kgs.

Rome/Milan- India

Executive Class    2 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
Economy Class    1 Pc / 23Kgs.
Infant Ticket    1 Pc / 10 Kgs.
Flights between India and Moscow (one-way)

Executive Class    2 Pc    32 Kgs. Each
Economy Class    2 Pc    23 Kgs. Each

f) Flights of Air India to/from Japan

Tokyo/Osaka to Delhi/Mumbai ( on AI 315 from Osaka) and
Delhi/Mumbai to Tokyo/Osaka (including AI 314)

First Class    2 Pc (32Kgs. Each Pc)
Executive Class    2 Pc (32Kgs. Each Pc)
           Sum of dimensions 158 cms for each

Economy Class    2 Pc (23Kgs. Each Pc)
Sum of dimensions 158 cms for each pcs and 272 cms both pcs

Infants in all classes    1 pc 10kg / 22lb
Sum of dimensions 115 cms

For Osaka-HongKong-Osaka flights, free allowance is:
Executive Class    30 Kgs.
Economy Class    20 Kgs.
Infant (Executive/Economy Class)    10 Kgs.

g) Flights to/from UK

    UK-India flights

First Class    3 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
Executive Class    3 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
Economy Class    2 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
    The sum of dimensions for each pcs shall not exceed 158 cms
    India-UK flights (tickets issued on/after 18 Jul 2014)

First Class    3 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
Executive Class    3 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
Economy Class    2 Pc / 23Kgs.Each
The sum of the dimensions must not exceed 158 centimeters for each piece

    UK to beyond India (via India)
    First Class    50 Kgs.
Executive Class    50 Kgs.
Economy Class    30 Kgs.

    Each pcs shall not exceed 23 kgs in weight. There is no restriction on number of pcs to be taken.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Some Statistics about the Bengaluru International Airport- 3rd Busiest in India Now

Bengaluru International Airport was made operational in the year 2008 in place of the HAL airport that had long served the city. As urban sprawled had engulfed the HAL airport, it was deemed necessary to setup a new airport outside the city. So, Kempe Gowda International Airport became operational about 40 kms away from the central business district. The airport has achieved record number of passengers in year 2014 making it the third busiest airport in the country. Achievement of this feat has been largely helped by operationalization of AirAsia flights. By becoming third busiest, it has overtaken the Chennai airport, its rival.
Airport has handled 14.38 million passengers in 2014 and is expected to handle 20 million passengers in 2015. About 10 domestic and 21 international airlines operate from here. It is the main hub of AirAsia India. It has seen a steady growth of traffic from around 9 million passengers in 2008-09 to 12.7 million in 2011-12 before witnessing a decline in 2012-13 to 12 million and again picking up in 2012 to have 14.38 million in 2014.
IndiGo is the main carrier at the airport, serving as many as 16 destinations across India and the World. There are about 72000 seats available for departure on weekly basis which makes up 35% of the total weekly capacity of the airport. Jet Airways is the second biggest with less than half of IndiGo’s weekly seating capacity.

While IndiGo rules the skies at the airport, Emirates and Etihad are the two biggest foreign airlines operating out of the airport. Further, Mumbai and Delhi routes make up 35% of the total traffic capacity whereas Dubai is the number 1 international destination from here.

Delta Effects Changes in the Skymiles Program

Delta Airlines, one of the major carriers in US, has announced changes in its frequent flyer program (FFP)- SkyMiles. The changes have been made with a view to make the awards more lucrative for the travelers. They would now be able to redeem their miles at lower prices for one-way tickets and will be able to earn the Medallion Qualification Dollars on the partner airlines.
Some of these changes are:
  1. one-way award tickets to be redeemable for travel of 10000 miles till December 2015. However, this comes with a limitation of travel upto to certain US, Mexican and Caribbean markets.
  2. Award travel has been expanded to include more partner airlines and the carrier has also enable people to book the award tickets from their mobile devices using the Fly Delta mobile application.
  3. Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) has also been elaborated so that the people can earn these miles irrespective of the ticketing carrier. This will lead to faster accumulation of MQDs even when the ticketing is done by another carrier with which Delta has codeshare or interline agreements.
Delta had shifted its FFP from being based on flight miles to spending in US dollar terms from the beginning of January 2015.