Using Cleartrip

One of my friends was returning from the US recently, and he needed to book a few tickets for domestic flights which he asked me to do.

The way I book my tickets usually is this: Go to Travelguru and Cleartrip, search for flights, pick the best one (in my experience no one site gives a complete list) and then book directly from the airline’s website.

However, the flight I had to book was on Indian which has a slightly cumbersome booking process plus there was a discount on Cleartrip so I decided to give them a try. Here’s my review.

The first half: Booking and Ticket Delivery
In one word: Brilliant.
1. The online process is very clean, straight from showing you the best flights to the booking process – the latter is especially well done in terms of user interface.
2. You don’t need to sign up for the first booking (but if you do another booking from the same email address you need to create an account).
3. The paper ticket was delivered the next day – very prompt.

The second half: Cancellation and Refund
This is where things get murky.
1. I discovered one of the key revenue sources for these travel portals : ticket cancellation. They charge a fixed Rs. 250 for each cancellation over and above the airline cancellation charges (though I must add in all fairness that they do state it on their booking receipt), plus take 30 days (!) to refund your money. Last I remember credit card refunds were quite prompt (Air Deccan refunds your money within 4-5 business days.)
2. If you are cancelling a ticket with less than 24 hours remaining for the flight, you have to cancel directly from the airline. Which is fine, but in this case the entire process needs some cleaning up. I had an e-ticket for Air Sahara. First off what Air Sahara calls PNR and what Cleartrip calls PNR are two different things (while in the case of Air Deccan it isn’t). Anyway after the Sahara customer service executive located the ticket through a passenger name search, he needed the ticket number to cancel the ticket. This was nowhere to be found. Not on my Cleartrip account, not on the Booking confirmation page they ask you to print out. Not even in the email link they sent me (which redirects to an itinerary page on virtuallythere.com)

Anyway after a lot of searching, I found this number on the eTicket receipt on the itinerary page, but you will never know that until you have clicked on multiple links on the left, which I wonder how many will do.

Further the airline gives you a cancellation reference which you then have to give back to Cleartrip before they cancel your ticket at their end and you can get your refund (after 30 days!).

So, verdict: Back to the basics. For airline bookings, I will use these sites as meta search engines to locate the best flight, but book directly from the airline – at least for a low frequency traveller like myself.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Using Cleartrip

  1. Rana says:

    Indiatimes travel with Indian airlines refunded my money in 4 months!!! After visitin their offices

  2. Well guys you should try us at Travelmartindia.com, we do not levy any cancellation charges and we process the refund within a week.
    Cheers
    Manoj Gursahani
    Travelmartindia.com

  3. Saju says:

    I have initiated a cancelation in Cleartrip. Lets see how long it takes.
    Saju

  4. Hrush says:

    Guys,

    Thank you for using Cleartrip, and please keep me posted via the Cleartrip blog. about your experiences.

    I promise you we will use your feedback to get better.

    And, I must admit, Travelmartindia.com has done a phenomenal job of imitating Cleartrip’s user interface. Well done to Manoj and team.

    cheers
    Hrush

  5. Ashish says:

    @Manoj: Thanks Manoj, will give it a shot.
    @Saju: Yeah, let’s see when mine arrives
    @Hrush: Great to see you tracking user feedback to Cleartrip in the blogosphere. Good luck. Also, TravelmartIndia seems more Travelguru than Cleartrip to me, but if what Manoj is saying is true, it definitely seems like a better deal.

  6. Hrush says:

    Ashish – unfortunately refunds and cancellation policies are set by the airlines and the banks, Cleartrip doesn’t have much control over them.

    Having said that, we are putting a process in place that guarantees your refund will take place within 7 days.

    Try a roundtrip search on Cleartrip and Travelmartindia, you’ll see what I mean by phenomenal imitation. Travelmartindia even picked up the airline icons directly from Cleartrip’s site.

    We’ll take it as a compliment. Someone much wiser than I once said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

  7. Ashish says:

    Hi Hrush. It’s great that you are putting in place a faster refund process. Anyway, I was referring to the 250 bucks Cleartrip charges as “Processing Fee” over and above the airline charges upon cancellation. But you do state that on the ticket receipt and your FAQs, so its really upto the user to exercise his discretion. Given the ease of booking you provide, perhaps you are entitled to charge something on cancellation.

    About Travelmart. Well, agreed the site’s a bit tacky, buggy (I had a rather quick session timeout), I still think you are overreacting.
    They have borrowed quite liberally from Travelguru and their result organisation is similar to Cleartrip, but Airline icons? C’mon – wont they be more or less the same across all travel sites?

  8. Hrush says:

    Agreed, most of the airline icons are similar. Take a quick look around all the sites and you’ll see that most sites provide a fuller rectangular logo for each airline.

    Cleartrip’s unique results layout forced us to use squarish icons for each airline. Even these are mostly common and look similar across sites. The giveaway, however, is in the Kingfisher icon — we were sort of forced to “customise” it due to Kingfisher’s unique logo.

    With respect to the cancellation fee, again, it’s something we’re looking at, but I can’t comment on whether it will be revoked or revised.

  9. Ashish says:

    Sure Hrush. Appreciate your efforts. Good Luck.

    As an aside, I decided to look at the Cleartrip blog and your personal blog. Great Ad. Your personal blog also makes for interesting reading.

    Another observation (couldn’t help stating this one) : The icon next to the author/commenter’s name on the Cleartrip blog looks suspiciously like the Digg logo (except the spade of course).

  10. Hrush says:

    Our blog is a third party hosted service – Squarespace.

    We use the default icons provided by them.

  11. Hi!
    That was useful. I have a site of my own, on discounted airfares, that is related to your blog, so I hope this is of use too.

  12. Renuka Sharma says:

    Hi Hursh,

    I was booking a round trip bangalore – delhi, 3 tickets from cleartrip.com site.

    After inputing all the details, in the fourth step i got the message saying due to some internal error, my request could not be processed further and the amount charged will be refunded and released.

    Case Ref: 1-64733

    Amount : Rs.17910

    I am stuck with a panic when i see the review of many people experienced the same.

    And also happened to read about the help you have provided them.

    Please let me know how long will it take for my money to get refunded.

    Please do help.
    Waiting for your positive and earliest reply.

    Thanks & Regards
    Renuka Sharma.

  13. Renuka Sharma says:

    In case anybody can help, pls mail me at hairenuka@gmail.com.

  14. Ashish says:

    Hi Renuka,

    I did get my refund from Cleartrip about a month after I had cancelled my ticket.

    So don’t worry, your money will be back, it’s only a question of when. I think you should call their customer service number (Customer support: +91 22 30014999) with that case reference ID. They are quite responsive and should definitely be able to help.

    Have also emailed you the above. Also, I think there is a greater likelihood of Hrush responding if you post this on the Cleartrip blog. I think it is blog.cleartrip.com

  15. Renuka Sharma says:

    Hi… I received my refund…. Thanks to Hursh & the support team…

    Thanks for the reply Ashish.

  16. The traveler would certainly enjoy his stay in Fortune amidst all the facilities and would not look in for any other option in future. The starting price of the rooms in Pune is Rs 8000/-, Navi Mumbai is Rs 8500/-, and Kolkata is Rs 6000/-, visit http://www.fortunehotels.in/spl_offers.aspx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: