Indian airlines has two new promotional schemes worth checking out. With the first, called Bumper Super Saver, you get 16 flight coupons that are valid for one year for around Rs. 65,000. Each coupon is good for a one-way flight, though a handful of the longest journeys, like Delhi-Trivandrum, require two coupons. It works out to a decent bargain for those who need a little flexibility but definitely plan a few journeys, if you do the math. A single APEX ticket for Delhi-Bangalore, purchased 28 days in advance, will run you more than Rs. 5000. Multiply that by 16 and you get Rs. 80,000--for non-refundable, non-changeable tickets purchased more than a month in advance. For seven day advance tickets, you're already up to Rs. 9000 a ticket, or Rs. 144,000. Even if you're making some cheaper short hops, it looks to me like this is a good deal if you make 6 roundtrips a year with less than 7 days notice, based on the average seven-day fare for some 70 routes. (It means you'll get 8 unrestricted roundtrips for the average price of 6 seven-day fares). The second scheme, Smart Super Saver, may be an even better deal. This one allows you to buy, for example, four flight coupons valid for 90 days for Rs. 26,000, which would compare favorably with ordinary full-fare tickets. There are no restrictions and the coupons act just like tickets, applicable to frequent flyer programs, etc, etc.
Nevertheless, I'd like to hear from somebody who has used the schemes--do they screw you by telling you no seats are available, etc? Or has Indian Airlines seen the light ahead of the entrance of a slew of low-cost operators this summer?