Modifying a flight booking successfully can easily be the toughest process in flight reservations. But, Cleartrip
wants to be the exception to the rule.
Cleartrip, one of India's leading online travel agencies, has developed the ability for its users to modify or amend flight bookings entirely on the web and reckons it is the first OTA to do so.
Users no more have to call Cleartrips's call center or submit a flight booking modification request online and wait for confirmation.
Instead, customers will be able to perform all the various operations need for flight modification entirely on the OTA's website, without any human intervention.
Below are few of the scenarios:
- Change departure date
- Add/remove passengers to your flight
- Move a passenger from Booking 1 to Booking 2
- Rebook in a new flight. Where a user finds a better price deal by carrier B after reserving in carrier A, now users will be able to rebook instantly online in carrier B.
Cleartrip says that about 30% of its call center volume is for flight rescheduling request.
But it says modifications over the call center channel are often painful, because users have to spell out confirmation numbers, listen to alternative options for a fare or pass on the credit card information.
There are some airline websites that currently support flight booking modification online. But, the flight options are limited in this case.
Currently, Cleartrips feature is only available for domestic flights.
The OTA is also waiving off its existing "Cleartrip Amendment Fee", meaning users will only be charged the actual airline amendment tariff.
John had reserved a flight from Bangalore to Mumbai for June 20th. He modifies the reservation to fly on June 22nd. In this process, John will be charged two fees: airline amendment fee of Rs 1,500 ($30), and Cleartrip amendment fee of Rs 1,500 ($30).
Using the online, Cleartrip's fee will be zero.
Post-booking, in the "My Account" section, users will notice the option to change their flight booking.
Flight modification is a three step process. Selecting travelers and dates, selecting new flights, and finally paying the difference.
In the process of selecting a different airline, when there are cheaper prices than what the user booked for, they will be highlighted:
Payment details page:
Flight modified with instant confirmation:
"We constantly listen to passenger pain points and try to address those issues. Modifying flights is one such pain point. Another pain point was to assure that our customers have got the best flight deal possible, that's why we recently launched PriceWatch feature."
Q&A with Hrush Bhatt, founder and director and product and strategy at Cleartrip:
Is this feature going to be extended to international flights too? If not, why?
This wasn't an easy feature to implement, so we will first be evaluating its operational performance and customer adoption before making any decisions on how to expand it.
What prompted Cleartrip to implement this functionality?
We're always looking for ways to improve the customer's total experience with our brands and this is a huge and obvious pain point for customers. We love removing customer pain, so we did it.
Even the odd scenarios like - child traveling alone, special service request availed, etc can be modified completely online?
We encourage responsible parenthood, so we don't support bookings for children travelling alone. Service requests tend to stay the same across flights, so that's not much of a concern.
After this feature roll out, when customers modify flight bookings, Cleartrip will not be charging any amendment fee. This positive move is going to be welcomed by customers because it eases their modification plan. But, at the same time, airline revenue managers are going to have a tough time because of the potential modifications that's going to come on its way. How do you think airlines are going to respond to this feature?
Airlines already support this on their own web sites, so we don't think it's going to create any additional burden for them.