Air India launches ‘business lite’ bidding system for business class upgrades

    Air India‘s chairman and MD Pradeep Singh Kharola reported the airline launched “business lite”, a new system permitting economy class passengers to place bids to upgrade to business class by paying an additional fare, in late Dec-2018 (Economic Times/Financial Express/Deccan Herald/Money Control/New Indian Express, 09-Jan-2019). The bidding system is available for international passengers travelling on services to the US, Europe, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong and domestic passengers travelling between six major cities in India. Mr Kharola said “There is a cap we have put on the minimum bid one can make” and noted passengers who place losing bids will receive refunds for the amount they bid. He added that Air India’s business class load factor typically ranges from 50% to 60% so business lite “is a good opportunity for me to use the vacant business class seats and make some money”.