IndiGo controversy: 51% air passengers want paid check-in to be a controlled affair

New Delhi: In a recent development, one of India’s premier carriers, Indigo announced that all seat assignments on flight for web check-in would be chargeable from now on.

This would mean that is a family of four who do not pay and select seats through a web check-in, might end up sitting in different places in the airplane, and not together during their travel. Seats would, however, be allotted to all passengers as per the availability at the check-in counter.

This move drew ire on the social media – where the politicians and the traveller community termed this move as unfair.


Subsequently, the government took cognisance of the issue and said it was reviewing IndiGo’s decision to examine whether these changes fall within the current pricing framework.

A survey was conducted recently by Local Circles in order to ascertain public perception about the development and the common consensus was that people are not ready to make a payment, in case of paid check-in.

As a part of the poll, citizens were asked if airlines were to make all seat assignments (booking and web check in based) chargeable, what would they do. Only 12% said they will pay and reserve while 24% said they will go to the airport early and try to seat seats of their choice. 41% said they would go to the airport as usual and take whatever is available.

When asked what percentage of economy seats on an airplane operated by a low-cost private airline should be permitted in the chargeable seat assignment category, 43% respondents said that it should be limited to a bracket of 25% while 8% of them stated that the margin of 50% is acceptable. On the other hand, 41% of participants said that 100% of seat assignments should be chargeable.

Many of us may have experienced, observed or heard VIPs get excellent seats when they travel by all economy flights. In most cases, if a celebrity, politician or bureaucrat is traveling there is a very high chance of they being in the first few rows. This belief turned out to be a popular opinion as 78% of the respondents said that the VIP’s clout gets them the seat without payment and only 6% said they pay for it.

This is not the first time that an Indian airline has made a move which has left prospective passengers in a tizzy. Excess baggage charges and ticket cancellation charges also made headline a few months back. In polls conducted earlier, most citizens wanted the airline ticket cancellation charges to be 20% of the airfare, and 75% citizens wanted excess baggage charges in airlines to be Rs 150 per kg or lower.

Traveling by an airplane still remains a dream for an average Indian. Adding these extra costs will only delay their dream in coming true. With Citizens believing that the Government should intervene in this matter, it’s interesting to see what remedy the government comes up with.