KOCHI: With just a day remaining for the complete shutdown of domestic flights, major airlines are cashing in on the crisis by hiking the ticket fares in an unprecedented manner. Many major routes that cost an average of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 have suddenly witnessed an increase to Rs 21,000 to Rs 24,000 on Monday.
The escalated rates have put the passengers in a panic mode. "It's nothing but atrocious! At a time when the entire country is facing an unparalleled crisis due to the pandemic, the airline companies should have shown a humanitarian approach. That's the least they could do the hapless public," said Samyuktha G, a Malayali student from Hyderabad, who booked a flight to Kochi.
Rates across all airlines have seen a six to seven times hike. Be it connecting flight or non-stop, the rates doubled on Monday. "Airlines used to charge only Rs 2,700 for a Chennai to Delhi flight It has gone to Rs 19,800 on Monday. Similarly, my friend who travelled from Hyderabad to Guwahati has paid Rs 24,000 for one-way travel. There will be elderly persons, patients and even students who cannot afford such an amount in a short period. I wonder what they will fetch on the final day before closure," said Akshay N K, a techie working in Chennai.
An official of Cochin International Airport has pointed out that flights from metro cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi arrived with packed passengers. "Although passengers to metros were relatively less, flights to areas like Guwahati departed with full occupancy," he said.