By Praveena Sharma

Bangalore: While the Western carriers continue to remain grounded due to Iceland’s volcanic ash problem, airlines in Asia are doling out freebies and out-of-this-world travel offerings to boost their profits.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

They are trying to draw air passengers by giving free tickets to kids, open bus tours, plush cabin interiors, view from Burj Khalifa, complimentary stay at Dubai’s Armani Hotel, online visa and a host of other value-adds that don’t come during the off-seasons.

The UAE carrier Emirates, for instance, has come out with Kids Go Free, where children up to 16 years can not only travel free, but even their cost of tourists visa, stay at three orfive star hotel, meals, rides on Dubai Metro and airport transfers would be waived when accompanied by two paying adults. This package of three nights and four days is priced at just Rs32,105.

The West Asian airline has something for the first and business class Passengers too.

It is offering first class fliers to Dubai, and those going via Dubai, two complimentary night stays at Armani Hotel with priority ticket to At-the-Top viewing deck at the Burj Khalifa.

Orhan Abbas, vice president—India and Nepal—Emirates, says his airline was extending service and offerings because people in India were spending. The airline, which operates 184 flights per week across the country, has 20 weekly flights out of Bangalore.

Abbas said despite global air fares hardening 5-10% in the last few months, load factors on Indian routes were as high as 75-80%.

Teo Joo Leng, manager—Karnataka—of Singapore Airlines (SIA), says his carrier has come out with a new product offering with refurbished cabin interiors to entice Indian fliers. “We will be unveiling it on May 28,” he said.