If you’ve used the Bengaluru international airport after 16 Jan 2009, chances are that you would’ve come across what the airport authorities call the user development fee. (Scroll down to #17 et al on the Bengaluru Airport FAQ page.)
(An aside here to comment on the name, which you may safely ignore. What on earth does it mean? A fee for developing users? A fee for doing some developments that will help users? And so on. Why not simply call it “Passing on Airport Costs to You” (PACY) Fee?)
You could argue about whether this fee is needed or not but that’s a different matter. I’m concentrating on another issue — how this fee is collected. Right now, when you go to the airport, you are asked to pay the fee at one of the counters that has been specially set up for collecting said fees. Without a receipt, you won’t be allowed inside the terminal.
The problem is that the airport has added an extra layer of complexity to the process. Instead of going towards the entrance and showing your ticket, you have to take your luggage, stand in line, and then fork out the amount. In the mornings, the queue wasn’t that bad but I can imagine there being a bit of a queue during peak times. So, people who are already stressed about catching their flight have to worry about another detail.
The solution is simple — ask the airlines to collect the fees when the tickets are booked and “reimburse” those fees to the airport. Yes, it may need some adjustment on the part of the airlines and the airports, but better they adjust than every single passenger.
For the airlines, if flight originates from Bangalore, add x amount for domestic travel and y amount for international travel. For the airport, just count the number of passengers every day and reconcile that with the numbers from each airline. The airlines are masters at adding those additional surcharges anyway, so for them it’s no big deal.
This is a solution that can be implemented and it would save passengers flying out of Bangalore time and unnecessary stress. People know that they have to pay the fees–there’s no escaping that. Why not make the process a bit easier on them?
This is one development I think users may actually like.