I recently saw a movie where the producer generates finance for his Broadway shows by conning little old ladies. He wins their trust and shows them da love, only to pocket their "checkees". Air Deccan, that charming seducer who forever changed the way Indians view flying, seems to have gone down the same path.
Most people I know, especially the older lot who is not so familiar with the Internet and its resident evils, equate flying with Air Deccan and Air Deccan with the concept of e-tickets. They still believe that Air Deccan spells low-cost, decent quality travel, easy ticket booking and Captain Gopinath's idealism.
Simplifly Deccan today, renamed and recolored, is only too happy to use the trust of those very same people to con them with fine-print and complicated web user-interface. The best part is most people, like Max Bialystock's little old ladies, would go on living happy lives in their blissfull ignorance. Which is good, in a way, I guess.
What they do is add a default insurance charge to every ticket. This lets them pick-pocket a cool Rs.99 in the blink of an eye when you book online. While this itself is not wrong, the way they do it is. Yes, the break up and total charges show up on top of the page.The option to refuse insurance is further down the page, lost among the terms and conditions. The idea being that once a certain price is OK, people tend to skip the fine-print and go straight to the "BOOK NOW" button.
Even a net-savvy person like me caught this only because the website I use to book my travel (god bless them!!) have put a warning below their Deccan listing to this effect. I wonder how many little old ladies have contributed Rs.99 to Mallya's PYT fund.
The story in pictures:
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