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Looking for a low cost airline to travel fast and travel cheap? Five years ago, low budget travellers chose trains over flights. This meant one had to spare nothing less than three days to get to Delhi from Bangalore. The picture is drastically different today. Indians are travelling by flights like never before. This sea (or air) change is partly on account of the changing economy. The surge of low cost airlines in India with Indigo Airlines, Jet Airways Konnect Airlines, SpiceJet, JetLite, Kingfisher Red, Air India Express and GoAir, has made flying possible for any one.

Low cost carriers are rapidly gaining market share, albeit at the expense of their full service counterparts. This is primarily because of the way low cost carriers (LCCs) have been able to control their costs at the time of recession. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has predicted that LCCs of India will garner a sumptuous 70% of the domestic market share by 2010. The challenges there could be the cost of aviation fuel (although it has gown down tremendously from last year), low yields and the lack of appropriate infrastructure. Despite everything, LCCS are fast gaining market share. IndiGo Airlines, said to be the most popular LCC, has a market share of 11%, while SpiceJet has a little more than 10% of pie. Kingfisher Red, earlier Air Deccan, captured a stunning 15% of the market share and JetLite was able to achieve 7% of the airline market share.

These figures look appealing because for most people the pros of low cost carriers weigh heavily over the cons. If you are not looking for expensive frills in an airline and your only intent is to reach from one distant part of India to another, low cost airlines are meant for you. The major difference here is that low cost carriers do not offer complimentary food and beverages. They do have a selection of snacks one can purchase though. In fact, airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet even allow you to carry your foods.

In a strange move, Air India recently shelved its plan to launch a low cost carrier.  goair pnr status    This is a surprising turnaround from the national airline company at a time when most airlines are trying to make their space in the LCC market. For instance, Jet Air Konnect was recently started by Jet Airways to connect Tier 2 cities. This is yet another low cost carrier from Jet Airways after they launched JetLite in 2007. Kingfisher is another leading airline of India that offers low carriers with its Kingfisher Red division. Kingfisher Red is the only low cost carrier that also offers steaming hot food to fliers.

With their low fares and punctuality of services, airlines are becoming wildly popular. They also have new aircraft as an added advantage. LCCs also offer easy bookings and cancellation services online. While earlier they were focussed on important destinations, LCCs today serve smaller cities across India as well. They also offer advantages of in flight entertainment and a well trained staff, which makes travel easy for everyone. What one has to compromise on are leg space, crammed seats and luxury services. That might not mean a lot to those who earn a chance to fly by air their first time! A major disadvantage with LCCs is that one cannot transit from an IndiGo or SpiceJet Airline to another flight, or to another carrier. Some low cost airlines do offer shuttling services on two of their flights on certain sectors. However, most low cost airlines do offer services of air conditioned buses to carry passengers to the aircraft. Most LCCs do not offer frequent flier benefits either.



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