The phone rang a little while back ... J was stuck at Bombay airport. Apparently, some wise-a** check-in counter person at Kingfisher airlines demanded to see a copy of the credit card used for the purchase of her ticket to Kochi. The person from the travel agency who was with her got on the horn and a flurry of calls were made, and, apparently, they got a hold of the person who actually made her reservation, and she got her boarding pass.
And, to pour salt on the wound, another foreign person, seemingly also with a travel agency, checked in just behind J and got his boarding pass in a jiff.
I also took the opportunity to let the travel agency person have a piece of my mind. I wish I could have talked with the check-in lady! Now I need to figure out who I know who knows someone in Kingfisher, so a proper complaint (i.e. one that is actually heard) can be made.
Yes, there is this rather ludicrous policy that airlines in India have, that if an online purchase is made by a non-traveler, a photocopy of the credit card used might be needed for verification at the time of check-in. This is in order to prevent credit card fraud (which is reaching abominable proportions in India. So much so that, since the beginning of 2007, any credit card issued by a non-Indian bank cannot be used for online transactions). Now, I've traveled a lot in India, and almost every time, I used my dad's credit card for purchases. I was never asked a question. The travel agent dude also said that in his years of worki, he'd never come across a case like this. Who knows why J got picked on. But, like so much other regulation in India, it's simply an opportunity for harassment. (If it weren't the airport -- where such things just aren't done -- I'd have suggested slipping a Rs. 100 note to the recalcitrant official.)
Kingfisher, way to go. Nice way to treat tourists in India. Perhaps we should create an Incredible India poster around this experience?
(Hey, rental agencies in the US have similar policies. Read the fine print on any rental reservation or contract. It says that renters may be required to show not just proof of proper insurance, but a driving record. 'Cause, you know, we carry a copy of these with us all the time.)