Sponsored – this review is sponsored by Air India Express Airlines. All opinions below are my own.

Introduction

I’m reviewing a UAE / India based online travel agency, Cleartrip, while sampling fares within and outside of India. Specifically, I’m looking at the Air India Express online booking, site, and overall customer experience. How does it compare with US OTAs like Expedia, Kayak, and others? Is it easy to use? Customer-friendly? Let’s find out.

 

Air India Express

On Cleartrip, Air India Express (AIE) has both popular domestic and international flights, with prices and available days of weeks listed, making spontaneous getaways easy. Indeed, they even have a FAQ answering common questions, one of them asking if immediate booking are allowed (which they are, up to three hours before departure). These flights also show a minimum and maximum price. Minimum is as low as about 370 AED, or about 100 USD from Mumbai to Dubai – which a quick scan of google flights showed to be 2-4x more expensive.

Interestingly enough, AIE does not have a loyalty program or frequent flyer program, because it bills itself as a “low-cost carrier” or LCC. Other LCC’s with frequent flyer programs spring to mind, such as Southwest’s Rapid Rewards or Frontier’s Discount Den. Direct competition in India via other LCC’s is SpiceJet, which launched its loyalty programme in September of 2018.

Comparing AIE with my experience on Southwest – AIE’s policy of requiring people physically be at check-in counters to get boarding pass a bit cumbersome. It’s the 21st century, everyone has a mobile device, this shouldn’t be an issue. I was impressed however that the LCC offers both in-flight entertainment and actual meals, catering to customer’s specific dietary needs and restrictions. Those LCC’s in the US do not offer such meals and keep things no-frill, so this policy of low fares yet quality service/experience is quite intriguing.

Popular flights!

 

Cleartrip

Within Cleartrip there are a handful of customer reviews – useful for understanding customer experiences with the airline. The main screen isn’t too cluttered – in line with US OTAs, and has a coupon offering prominently displayed. That would be great to stack with the LCC price point, however when I click on the ad it simply refreshes the screen so I can’t read more about the T&C of the coupon. Not ideal.

Home Page of AIE on Cleartrip

Save up to $190 US!

 

Because I used the .ae site, currency defaults to AED, which comes to 27 cents on the dollar, or one USD equals about 3.7 AED. You can switch the currency but only after you’ve entered some sort of selection for flights. When I tried loading sample routes sometimes the loading bar would freeze. Sometimes on the main page I’d test out the “popular routes” only to see no flights of any kind. Even after switching between other dates that the home page says should be available there weren’t any. I’d recommend entering which dates you’re looking to travel on the main boxes at the top.

Their lowest price guarantee and Cleartrip reward program is interesting, and probably in line with other OTAs.

Loading screen froze.

 

Competition

I was able to test a route from Dubai to Mumbai one way on Friday, July 12th, to see the differences between Cleartrip, Expedia, and Kayak. I found that Cleartrip had the widest range of flights, however it did take longer to load. Prices were comparable for the same flights – see the $239-241 11:35pm to 5:35pm flight on Gulf Air found for 885 AED which equates to $241. However, you can see on Cleartrip several other flights at much better rates, as low as 190 US on the IndiGo flight.

Cleartrip

Kayak

Expedia

 

Conclusion

Should I be flying to/from India, I will be sure to check out booking on Cleartrip and Air India Express to see what the experience is for myself! Make your Air India Express online booking at Cleartrip for the best selection.

 

 

Sponsored – this review is sponsored by Air India Express Airlines. All opinions below are my own.

Featured Image of the view of the Boeing 737-800 flown by Air India Express Airlines from wikipedia. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which, should you click through and/or make a purchase, grant me a commission. Also, I only post in the best interest of my readers. Lastly, thank you for supporting my blog and my travels. 

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