Airlines sweeten deal for students going abroad
It is the time of the year when students take wings to join a new academic term in foreign universities. But the fear of excess baggage always haunts. To reassure students that they can carry more without worrying about having to pay more, many airlines have offered excess baggage allowance exclusively for the students.
British Airways, which operates 49 flights a week from Heathrow in London to five cities in India, has agreed to allow an additional bag weighing 23 kg free of cost, apart from the usual 23 kg, to destinations in UK, Europe, US and Canada. Jet Airways is doubling this to two bags each weighing 23 kg (46 kg extra baggage) to several destinations, adding up to a whopping 69 kg as check-in baggage in addition to the cabin bag.
Students travelling with Virgin Atlantic are allowed to avail the special check-in baggage allowance of up to 69 kg in Economy (three bags of 23kg each) in addition to 10 kg of hand baggage and one piece of sports equipment at no extra charge.
The airline is also allowing students one date change free of charge.
While Jet Airways runs double daily flights from Mumbai and Delhi to London and direct flights to Amsterdam, Virgin Atlantic operates a daily flight between Delhi and Heathrow and provides connectivity for onward flights to the U.S.
A recent survey by Virgin Atlantic has revealed that students from India prefer to carry essential items like home-made food, and fashion items like clothing and shoes.
“The study reveals that when students are allowed extra baggage, 35 per cent pack more food items while 32 per cent said they would take all their shoes. Apart from food, apparel and shoes, students also love to carry sports equipment and music instruments when they shift base,” according to a Virgin Atlantic officer.
Additionally, as per the findings, 40 per cent of the students who book their tickets in advance usually end up changing their date of travel.
Nick Parker, Head of India and Middle East, Virgin Atlantic Airways said, “We are pleased to offer students flying to the U.K. and U.S. a generous baggage allowance and free date change to ensure they can carry their home comforts while studying abroad.’’
As per a survey conducted last year many students opted to carry home-made food like ladoos, pickles, desi ghee, and items like spices, mangoes and instant noodles while flying to study abroad.
“Students can now carry their world along with them. This allowance is valid on one way as well as return flights between India and the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Canada,” Jet Airways said.
With the number of Indian students travelling each year exceeding 500,000, they make for a sizeable market for airlines and travel firms.
Ravi Menon, Senior Vice-President (Student Travel), Cox & Kings, said major destinations that attract Indian students include the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. They also travel to Switzerland and Singapore for short-term courses.
“We see student travel increasing by at least 25 per cent year-on-year as universities and colleges visit India and explain to students the benefits of obtaining a foreign degree or diploma,” Mr. Menon said.
Airlines are allowing students to carry excess baggage without charging them extra