Vande Bharat flights can now be booked through OTAs. India has permitted few international carries to operate to and from the country, allowing stranded travelers to book their flights through online travel portals and agents.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that it was entering into bilateral arguments with the U.S, Germany, and France to allow a limited number of flights, airlines that have cast their net wider and to start selling tickets through multiple platforms. Also included, the Vande Bharat flights being operated by Air India and domestic airlines to bring back Indians who are stranded abroad.
Until recently, all flight bookings were done through various foreign embassies or directly through its booking offices and website. The spokesperson of MakeMyTrip stated that on July 18th, ticket sales for Air India, Lufthansa, and United went live on its website.
Air India flights and the concerns raised
From July 18, Air India flights to U.S and Europe are available on most travel portals including Cleartrip, Easemytrip.com, and ixigo. Also, flights to London have been on sale from Monday. The spokesperson of ixigo, said: “International and Indian airlines flying limited schedules to West Asia sectors including the Emirates, Etihad, Fly Dubai Air India Express are also available to book on our platform.”
There were many concerns about Air India’s poorly equipped website, but now the facility comes a relief. Portals are providing value-added services to address the concerns of the passengers. The Global Head for the Air Business of Cleartrip, Balu Ramachandran, said: “There are two important aspects from a customer’s stand-point. One is the availability of information such as regulations at airports, inside aircraft, and quarantine norms. The second aspect is providing flexibility with their travel plans because airfares are prohibitive and rescheduling and canceling tickets is expensive.” He also stated that Cleartrip offers two products, the Travel Safe and FlexiFly to cater to the needs.
Also, the spokesperson of MakeMyTrip said: “We have ready reckoners and content repositories with details and links that will help weed out concerns given ever-evolving travel regulations over the last few months.”