Improving Air Deccan’s reservation process

Very recently I read in a newspaper that almost all low cost airlines operating in India are suffering from huge losses. Although, I fail to recall their specific reasons for flying in red, I can venture a guess for one of India’s first low cost airline – Air Deccan. The short answer is that their reservation systems, both the web-based and telephonic, are horribly broken. They make it very difficult for someone to get online, purchase tickets and make a payment.

Here is the long version:

  • I always have trouble finding their airline ticketing website. Maybe it is just me, but I get confused between their airdeccan.net and deccanair.com websites. One of them is their corporate site and the other one is their online reservation site. I almost always have to do a google query to get to their site.
  • When I recently tried to book my tickets online, my credit card got declined (no reason was given). Later when I called up the customer rep, I was told that Air Deccan has stopped accepting international credit cards due to security reasons. As far as I know, all other airlines still accept national and international credit cards.
  • While talking to a customer rep, I got transferred twice without being given any reason. I had to give them all the trip details all over again.
  • Their call center issued PNR numbers cannot be used on their website. This is pathetically lame. So if the customer rep issues me a PNR for my reservation, I cannot use that PNR to get online and make a payment for the tickets. I need to call back the customer rep and hand them over my credit card details.
  • On their site, they have about a dozen different customer service phone numbers depending upon where you are calling from.
  • Make one mistake on the site and you need to fill out the entire form again. If you filled out the cellphone number in the contact details as 98xxxxxxxx instead of 9198xxxxxxxx, then you got to fill out the entire form including the name of the people traveling, the address etc all over again. Not fun if you ask me.
  • Untrained customer reps, make you repeat the names of passengers 2-3 times before getting the spelling right.

Here is how I would fix their reservation process:

  • A simple easy to remember website address for their online air reservation site.
  • One toll-free number for people to make, cancel, change reservations or even to check flight status. If a customer wants to give you business, you can atleast absorb the cost of a phone call.
  • A website that takes no more than 5 clicks for someone to make a reservation. Go checkout SpiceJet’s website for inspiration.
  • While making the reservation, if something on the form needs to be corrected, only that part needs to be highlighted, all other information on the form stays filled in.
  • Knowledgeable customer reps that help you out without any reservation, flight status or any ticketing related issues you might have.
  • If for some reason the airline cannot accept credit cards, then they need to send someone out to collect the money from the person who booked the tickets. If a multiplex can hand-deliver movie ticket for free, an airline can surely send someone to collect payment. Labor is cheap in India, use it to your advantage. Don’t ask people to goto the airport and make the payment. No one has time for that. They will just use a competitor whose online payment system is not broken.
  • Make the reservation process the easiest process possible. It should be really easy for someone to give you money. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
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Author: anand

Currently CleverTap. Founder & ex-CTO - burrp. A techie and an entrepreneur at heart. Have worked in US, China and India.

8 thoughts on “Improving Air Deccan’s reservation process”

  1. I AGREE! I am trying to book from the US and I cannot even get a number to call. My internet booking timed out and it seems the entire website is down now. I have to be sure that my credit card was not charged illegally. Furthermore, the 1800 number on the main page has a message for another number which is for a pornographic chat line. DISGUSTING and UNPROFESSIONAL!

  2. you cant make a call to airdeccan customer care..
    They don’t care about your problem. they will never receive your call.
    believe me i was hanged on call for 30 mins and they didn’t even dare to receive my call

  3. I have one bad experience of airdeccan 12th Mar 2007 in Srinagar. When the snow fall is going on & then all flight had been canceled. Laugage was totally disturbed on arrival place. Some of the baggage had braked due to mishandeling. No system was there. All system had been down due to heavy snow fall. No customer care executive was there to handle properly the customers. No resechduling was there but, all airport person says sorry we can’t do anything for you.

  4. My first flight by this Airlines also became the last by that airlines. The experience was so bad. The flight from Chennai to Bangalore was delayed by some unknown, even to them un-determinable, length of time, and there was no word about it. A few passengers – me not one of them, since I was anyway trying to sample-test the quality of the airlines with just one flight, even though I had read any number of adverse reports about Deccan – wanted straightway to take to fists with a Spicejet official, a few shouted demanding full of their money, a few others asking the No. of Capt. Gopinath – CM of Deccan – and so on. It was a highly hilarious sight for me My friends to whom I had narrated this story said they would take my words for granted and would not touch Deccan by a long barge pole. Now Deccan has been taken over by Kingfisher, allegedly so as not to disturb drastically Deccan’s low cost ethos as a service to a wide segment of the potential air passenger market. As a low cost airlines, Deccan may perhaps be credited with having thought of low cost servicing of this market. The credit to to be given Deccan as a pionneer in this respect is considerable, since the low cost air passenger market is vast. It could not be tapped due to the monumentally incompetent management of the government airlines, dictated by foolish bureaucrats, which kept on saying that Indian domestic airfares were very low in comparison to with what foreign airlines charged – in Dollars, in Pounds, etc – for their domestic flights, and in fact kept on hiking them after every small or big increase in international market prices of imported fuel, leave alone the most shabby customer service and the horribly frequent strikes by their employees demanding increased salaries and allowances and perks for increased inefficiencies. Forttunately a few other airlines are there to stay in the Indian aviation market and they canl learn from the mismanagement/policy and practice lapses of Deccan.

  5. Hi All,

    I had a bad experience with AirDecan service. Major problem is with their cancellation policy.
    I am just giving a brief view of my experience.

    I booked on-line 5 tickets of my family including me. If I cancel the ticket, definitely I will not be refunded the amount. Alternatively, they will provide open vouchers for 180 days in the name of all my family mambers (5) which includes 2 children of 3 years old.

    As I booked the ticket and I made the payment, they should give open voucher of 5 tickets for 180 days to me. so that I can use the tickets for my travel purpose.

    If I will give the open voucher to 2 childs, what the use of it by them.
    AirDecan people should think in this angle also.

    As per the Indian Airlines policy, if one cancelled the ticket, the amount will be credited to his / her credit-card company account.

    The management should refer to other Airlines policies before taking any final decission.

  6. hai,
    i already booked the ticket from airdeccan, ticket no is 4390100.
    date 27th oct return 12th nov’07. but i tranfered chennai, so i need to postponed my ticket to 30 th oct ’07.and cencelled 12 th nov return ticket. pls help me how to i solve this matter.

  7. hai,
    i already booked the ticket from airdeccan, ticket no is 4390100.
    date 27th oct return 12th nov’07. but i tranfered chennai, so i need to postponed my ticket to 30 th oct ‘07.and cencelled 12 th nov return ticket. pls help me how to i solve this matter.

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