Online booking of airline tickets in India have started to take off. Arzoo, Makemytrip, Travelguru, Air Deccan being a few of the competitors. Not to mention, Yahoo’s farechase is also in the game. The start-ups companies in this space have raised boatloads of Venture Capital. (wonder why, for a technology that is so common place in the US). These sites are very much in a state of infancy and there is plenty of scope for improvement.
Here are a few observations/tips in case you plan to use these services.
1. These sites are very much in a state of infancy. All the sites uniformly have very poorly designed interfaces. Combined with the slow connectivity (which is common place in India) the user experience is outrageously frustrating to say the least.
2. All the sites are equally buggy. One of the sites gave me an error when I tried to confirm my registration! Another gave me a blank screen after I submitted the registration form. Then, I tried to register again and I was told that that login was taken. Thinking that this was a sign that my registration actually went through I tried logging in. The login/passwd combination did not match. I tried to reset password but was unsuccessful. Argghhh!!!
2. Prices are similar, though I found Arzoo providing lower fare results on quite a few occasions. Farechase rates are in $ and completely out of whack. In other words, Farechase is not worth using for flight deals within India.
3. Performing a credit card transaction online is scary. Thankfully, most of the India based sites provide toll free support numbers. These work well. You are best off exploring the various options online, narrowing down on your choice, and then calling the support line to purchase your ticket. The e-ticket gets emailed out to you after the transaction has been processed.
4. Only Arzoo appears to be Firefox ready. All the other sites went crazy at some point with content on the screen shifting around in bizarre fashion.
5. The good news is that all these sites returned better rates than the travel agents.