Who are these people calling from Cleartrip.com

Getting too many emails from India lately regarding something very interesting and fishy going on at one of India’s leading on line travel portal Cleartrip.com. I called up one of the user who reported similar incident as others. As I’ve already told you that it is very interesting as well as fishy also. Interesting because these guys at Cleartrip are using state-of-the-art technique to reach out their customers and fishy because they are reaching out to them when customers are about to buy a travel product from Cleartrip.

I was very confused with all the narratives given to me and I decided to experience it myself. I got very suspicious after what happened with me, anyone will be. I was indeed going to buy eight return air tickets from New Delhi to Goa. I hit on Cleartrip website and voila! Their rates were cheapest among other top Indian players like Yatra and Makemytrip. After choosing both departure and arrival flights I filled out traveller’s details and my details with my mobile number and hit the next button. I was on payment page which gave me options like paying by Credit Card, Net Banking or Debit Card. My mobile phone rang and ye lo! It was call from one of the Cleartrip sales executive!

CT: “Sir you are trying to book eight return tickets for Goa as I can see”.

SC:   Oh yeah, I was about to pay for them using net banking.

CT:  I’m sorry sir, but our payment gateway is giving some problems so I’ll do it manually for you if you can provide me with your Credit Card number.

SC:   I don’t have any Credit Card thats why I’m using net banking. Is it really not working, you mean transaction will fail?

CT:   Yes sir, thats why I called you.

In the meantime I clicked the pay button on my Net Banking page and transaction was successful. My PNR number was blinking on the screen and the person whom I was talking to before few seconds was not on other side of line any more. What technology man? I don’t know why this man called me while I was about to buy a travel product on their site and why he was pushing me not to use net banking and instead pressing hard for using my Credit Card? Why did he lied that their payment gateway is not working and transaction will not succeed? Whether Cleartrip is aware of such practice is regular feature at their call centers?

I must tell you one more thing in the end that it is not just one in million incident, it is common practice these days and Cleartrip must come forward with some kind of explanation sooner or later.

What did I forgot to tell you? Oh yes, while I was busy talking to Cleartrip sales executive over phone, in the meantime the return flight I chose got sold out and I was given Go Air 20:35 return flight to Delhi.

PNR of trip discussed above is 7EFNIJ. Airline was Go Air and booking date was Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 7:01 PM
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Low airfare days are back again!

airticketsAir tickets prices should begin to decline in the near future due to the global financial crisis, industry experts are predicting, adding that the fall in prices should not endanger the financial stability of the airlines.

Airfare sales are coming at us from every which way. Virgin America has discount fares starting at $159 round-trip (including tax) this month between Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA). A United Airlines sale brought up competitive fares to Austin, Texas, and elsewhere, but if you’re headed to New York (JFK) from LAX, try American Airlines, where you can score a return fare of just under $300 this month.

Apart from big airlines, low cost carriers are also learning to believe the fact that if they keep airline tickets prices too high than they are going to lose more passengers. Recent press release from European low-cost carrier Ryanair suggests that average airline tickets prices will come down by 15-20 per cent by the end of March 2009. Ryanair further added that airline will continue to attract customers from more conventional carriers, such as British Airways.

Today, the majority of airlines set prices using the yield management system, which involves computer adjustments of pricing on a daily basis, related to demand. Prices start at relatively low levels and rise as a flight fills – or drop if it doesn’t.

Very few airlines have adopted aggressive pricing strategies, as they work on recovering from the record high price of fuel earlier in the year that led to add fuel surcharges on to ticket prices.

New generation travel sites and blogs of our times

New generation has arrived already unnoticed and making felt their presence very loudly! Mad-mad world of e-travel is no more governed by the Kayak or Expedia, not even by IAN’s brainchild Hotel dot com or rivals Booking dot com but bunch of novice bloggers.

The other day I was browsing huge possibilities of education travel market which is very popular business these days in India. It seems that Education Travel Agents or one can say Study Abroad Consultants are not very keen on spending lot of money on e-solutions and to be very frank it is not easy to offer anything of such kind on the WWW but still Global Study Resources has done a remarkable job of engaging few big travel companies along with Careerbuilder and hostelbookers to offer all services one student requires for study abroad drill on single web site.

Study Abroad Commission Junction, a wordpress.com blog is one of the best examples of how to bind the business communities together for one and only cause; ‘BUSINESS’. I really liked the design and whole concept of this unique blog which is proving out to be one of the most busiest platform for Study Abroad Agents, marketing managers of Language Schools, Colleges & Universities worldwide. Updated information about the worldwide study abroad workshops is available for Agents and educational institutes. Most interesting part of the blog is it’s posts which are some times very hard hitting and discuss very serious matters.

Travel blogs are not about travelogues or beautiful pictures any more. New age of travel bloggers can be seen reporting from the Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Destination On Time sent it’s reporter which I was told is founder of this blog to Bangkok to cover the deadly drama of Bangkok’s Airport siege last month.  They do offer online air and hotel booking also.

Honor of being one of the most popular travel blog in Scandinavia or at least Sweden goes to Viking Goes Traveling which enjoys high Swedish traffic ranks and affiliation with almost all the major online travel players of Sweden. I liked the name though!

Now comes the turn of very controversial travel blog which deals in very serious matters such as Human Trafficking, Illegal Border Crossings, Illegal Immigration and other controversial stories related with travel industry. Blog is very well affiliated and monetized mainly with Linkshare.

And finally last but not least a new kid on the block. A blog which deals mainly with media related stories has come up recently and doing remarkable job of addressing the cause. Blog’s title says it all; ‘WE WILL BE BACK AFTER SHORT COMMERCIAL BREAK‘.

Adios Paper Ticket!!!!

Come 1st June and paper tickets will gone forever! Airlines all over the world will start issuing E-Tickets only after midnight of 31st May 2008. Well, there is no need to look confused or panic when your travel agent will hand over a piece of printed paper with traveling dates etc printed on it. It is your ticket indeed from right now.

Lost it???????? No problems, it can’t be lost! You can print it yourself even on the airport just before your departure. Change your seating preferences, Order for meal of your choice and print your boarding pass and check-in from your bedroom! Yes, these are the few attractions of E-Ticketing. As for my fellow Travel Agents it is win win situation all the way. Let me show you some figures which can give you an overview of the tremendous cost cut and that will happen to travel agencies all over the world.

Electronic Ticketing benefits versus Paper Tickets – FOR Travel Agencies
Paper Ticket (PT)
Electronic Ticket (ET)

PT – Need for secure premises and provision of a safe, meeting minimum standards.
ET – Could set up as an Electronic Ticket only travel agency thereby removing the minimum requirement for a safe to store paper tickets and thus making accreditation easier.
PT – Deliver paper tickets on time to clients.
ET – Tickets can be issued up to departure time. No need to worry about providing the paper ticket, although there remains a need to provide mandatory notices to the passenger by electronic or other means.
PT – Need for knowledgeable staff to set up Prepaid Ticket Advices and check on ticket process status.
ET – No need to waste valuable time setting up Prepaid Ticket Advices as the tickets can be issued directly.
PT – Couriers or messengers may be needed to deliver tickets to customers thereby incurring additional costs.
ET – Not required any more.
PT – Changes after departure require a close relationship with the airline and the passenger who then must spend time contacting a ticket office to have a ticket changed.
ET – As the coupons are held electronically, the travel agent can perform the changes, exchange or reissue the ticket and make additional collections without requiring the passenger to waste valuable time at an airline’s office, resulting in added value services.
PT – Need for a storage facility for paper agent coupons.
ET – If audit coupons are required they may be stored electronically.
PT – Hardware, such as printers (ATB, OPTAT), needs to be maintained.
ET – Only a plain paper printer is required to print the itinerary/receipt and ticket notices.
PT – Ensure adequate stock in the office.
ET – Not required.
PT – Paper tickets can jam in the printer.
ET – Tickets are issued electronically.
PT – Customer may need to visit the travel agency for changes to their tickets
ET – Customer service is enhanced, productivity is increased and flexibility is added as all transactions can be performed without the customer needing to be present.