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Air India offers the following kind of tickets in order of increasing price (top to bottom)

  1. Super Value Economy
  2. Flexi-Saver Economy
  3. Flexible Economy

What is the difference between them?

The Airline UI does not explain it clearly.

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  • Ah indeed they do offer a comparison in the booking engine but it says everywhere "as per fare rule", that's not very useful... :-/
    – jcaron
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 12:21
  • Check on the airline website (e.v. try a fake booking in a different date, which would make easier to see the differences). It has to do with baggage (yes or no), whenether you can choose the seat, hand baggage allowance, and if you can change the travel data (but often with fees). One airline wrote that they need such system to be on the upper part on the search engines Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 12:33
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi that’s what most airline websites do. Not the Air India website: on the random search I tried it gave me two different fares with exactly the same info for both: “as per fare rule”!
    – jcaron
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 13:29
  • @jcaron: airindia.com/in/en/travel-information/baggage-guidelines/… -- ops: they use different names.... India is India (so not just government with the visa) Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 13:44
  • I just check one random flight, and I get the fares (international flight) and what it is included. A part from "Earn Point" (at much higher cost), it seems that the only relevant difference is in "change/cance/refund/no show may be different" (baggage, meals, seat selection, preferable seat selection are all the same) Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 13:54

1 Answer 1

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The somewhat cynical answer here is "because the airlines try to trick passengers into paying a lot more money for little or not benefit". To quote PT Barnum: "There is a sucker born every minute" and the airlines love these as customers.

Air India seems to be a case in point. They aggressively market the upgrade but the fare comparison table looks like this

enter image description here

They all look identical referring to the "Fare Rules". If you bother to click through all the way to the rules, you find them quite hard to read. Baggage allowance is exactly the same for all fares and the only meaningful difference that I could see was in the change/refund fees. For a change it was ₹15000, ₹13000, and ₹9000, respectively. So you can pay ₹36000 extra to potentially save ₹6000 in change fees. That's off course completely idiotic and hence the airlines love it. Differences for refunds were similarly small and I didn't see anything about points.

So as far as I can tell, there is only very little value in buying the higher fare classes and absolutely nothing that warrants the considerable price difference.

Unfortunately this type deceptive marketing is part of today's airline culture. It boggles the mind that some airlines that have officially have waived change fees, still sell so-called flex tickets at exorbitant prices (that offer no extra value whatsoever). Here is a simple rule

Never buy a flex ticket if the difference in change fees is less than difference in ticket price.

If you bother to plow through the fine print (which is complicated and often intentionally hard to read), you will find that a flex ticket almost never makes sense for the customer even if there is a high chance of a change happening.

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    It makes sense if you expect more than one change. My personal best is 29 changes to one ticket. Without a flexible ticket, that would've been mildly expensive.
    – vidarlo
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 22:28

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