Vistara has parted company with the online upgrade platform OptionTown, with no prior notice to passengers.

What is OptionTown?

OptionTown is an online technology platform that allows passengers to enhance their journeys. For Vistara, it sold cabin upgrades, as well as excess baggage, lounge access and priority handling at the airport.

Aside from Vistara, OptionTown has worked with SpiceJet, Adria Airways, Air India, AirAsia X, Biman Bangladesh, Cambodia Angkor Air, EgyptAir, Israel Air, SAS and Vietnam Airlines.

OptionTown also sells flight passes - bundles of flights offered at a discounted price.

Via OptionTown, Vistara passengers could pay a reduced fee to upgrade their cabin. You could either accept a fixed price, Confirmed upgrade, or agree to a Standby upgrade for a lower amount - though you wouldn’t find out whether you’d receive your upgrade until 1-48 hours of departure.

OptionTown worked well when Guru used it to upgrade a recent Hyderabad-Mumbai flight from premium economy to business class at a cost of INR 6,100 (though we would have appreciated a lower rate for such a short flight!):

Now, Vistara has decided to end its relationship with OptionTown.

What happens now?

Passengers will still be able to enhance their journeys by buying these extra services, though they will now have to get in touch with the airline directly.

Accordingly, Vistara has posted a notice on their website and now sells extra services on this page. According to Vistara, its partnership with OptionTown ended on April 26.

Interestingly, the OptionTown website hasn’t yet been updated, and currently still shows Vistara as a partner.

How does coronavirus affect Club Vistara?

Vistara has published a series of advisories for its Club Vistara frequent flyers.

First up, passengers’ CV tier status will remain the same until September 30. Any member whose tier status was due to be reviewed between March 18 and September 30 will now be reviewed on October 1.

CV points expiring during the lockdown period (March 25 onwards) will be re-credited to your CV account. The points will be issued and you’ll be advised, once Vistara restarts operations. They will be valid for a period of four months from the date of issue.

In addition, any One Class Upgrade vouchers (issued as part of your tier benefit) or complimentary ticket vouchers through Axis Bank/ SBI Vistara-branded credit cards that expire during the lockdown will be reissued with a four-month validity once flight operations resume.

Summing Up

OptionTown worked well when Guru used it to upgrade a recent flight from premium economy to business class.

Hopefully Vistara’s new arrangements will be just as simple, as it was very convenient to receive an email offering an upgrade prior to each flight. It will also be interesting to see whether there is any change to the upgrade pricing model.

How did you find the Vistara-OptionTown tie-up?