MUMBAI: The average Indian traveller is not known to plan and book a holiday or an air ticket weeks in advance. On Wednesday, this habit was suddenly dumped as scores of people rushed to airline offices to buy tickets weeks and even months in advance.
“We have registered a 20% increase in ticket sales at our offices located at airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru among other places,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson, reports The Times of India. “Many people have bought tickets in bulk for travel months later.”
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi deemed currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination as worthless paper on Tuesday night, airlines immediately put measures in place to implement the ban on their use. However, airline tickets were exempted from an immediate ban. “With Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 still acceptable at airline booking offices, people rushed to dump the banned currency and ticket sales rocketed,” said an airport official.
IndiGo, in a statement, said that the airline will stop accepting Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes with effect from November 9 midnight for all services, including inflight sales, excess baggage charges. The only exception was tickets at airport ticket counters for which the deadline is November 11.
Jet Airways too announced that it will continue to accept the banknotes against purchase of only air tickets at its airport and city ticketing offices until November 11 midnight. “For all other payments, including ancillary ones such as upgrades, change/cancellation fee and excess baggage, guests can make payment via alternative mechanisms such as cards/electronic methods or even via cash, but in government approved legal denominations,” it added.