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Fliers Pay For Airline-Agent Stand-Off

Posted in Airline News, Jet Airways, JetLiteNo comments

Thousands of fliers have been inconvenienced by the travel agents’ decision not to sell Jet Airways and JetLite tickets after the airline stopped paying them commission.

Frequent fliers and tourists who want to fly Jet have been unable to buy tickets from the travel agents since Friday. According to aviation industry sources, more than 30 per cent passengers flying in and out of Calcutta travel by Jet and JetLite.

There are around 3,000 travel agents in India who are authorised to issue airline tickets. Around 200 are from Calcutta. A travel agent sells 25 to 50 Jet and JetLite tickets daily.

On Saturday, a crowd of passengers queued up at Jet’s city counter to buy tickets.

“When I called my agent yesterday, he said it would not be possible for him to book a Jet ticket,” said city-based businessman Kumar Aswani, who was scheduled to fly to Mumbai on Saturday evening for work. He had to defer his meetings in Mumbai to Monday and fly another airline.

Most of the passengers denied Jet tickets by travel agents said they would not book tickets on the airline’s website as they were uncomfortable about revealing their credit card details online.

“Buying Jet tickets has become very difficult now. I don’t want to book tickets online as there are instances of fraud. The only option is to go to the airport or the airline’s city counter and queue up,” said Manish Sharma, who often flies Jet.

V. Mahajan, another frequent flier, said he was forced to buy another airline’s ticket to Delhi despite having Jet coupons. “None of the travel agents was booking tickets against Jet coupons, so there was no other option. I might not be able to redeem the coupons before they expire.”

The problem started on November 1 when 16 airlines stopped paying commission to agents. “We are not issuing Jet and JetLite tickets as they enjoy the largest market share and initiated the withdrawal of commission,” said Anil Punjabi, the chairman (east) of the Travel Agents’ Federation of India.

“We are talking with the travel agents’ federations and expect the crisis to be resolved soon,” said a Jet official.

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