Caveat Emptor, Why Insisting on Aadhar by IRCTC is a bad idea

Recently I happen to purchase a overseas travel ticket via They could arguably be awarded the ‘Most diligent scammer’ award. It is a cunning use of psychology hacks and common online user behaviour patterns to cheat/harass. First they will hide the actual charge you are going to pay:

Did you notice the fine print in whiteish font in white background? It reads “ charges a non-refundable convenience fee of Rs 350 per passenger per segment”

I happen to book for 4 passengers and that was Rs 2800 extra hidden charge.

Convenience fee are indeed reality in the travel market, but the way it is charged in a opaque way using fine print below the ‘Pay Now’ button is slimy to say the least.

You thought once you shell out the convenience fee, you are all set to go on your trip? You will see that this is just the beginning of a long winding series of surprises and harassment by

First be ready for your itinerary to be messed up a little bit due to a ‘technical error’. Like you would have booked a day flight for return, but they will book a mid-night flight that will land you in an ungodly hour.

If you go to the portal you will find there is indeed a ‘Reschedule’ option. But if you click it,

you will get a pop-up that says the ticket is cancelled. And you will get a email stating that the rescheduling mode is ‘Normal Cancellation’.

Then you will beg the customer service that you don’t really need any kind of rescheduling.

You will explore the option of cancelling the ticket and cut the losses. You will get a reply that will eat up 95% of the payment you have made so far. So you will go for not cancelling the ticket. Now you are stuck with When you pay the remaining amount, they will not acknowledge the payment. You may have to involve the payment gateway customer support to make them acknowledge the payment.

Like that it goes on an on. Essentially, they got your money and put you in a asymmetric situation. You will be stuck with them till the ticket is utilised. [ What if shenanigans decide to cancel your return flight when you are overseas? Are you ready to pay last minute prices in a foreign currency?]

Their self service invoice ( the default invoice you get in the self service portal) is the biggest joke. It will have very partial information( implying that the charges are for the onward flight segment) and the numbers will be inaccurate. [The invoice amount will be slightly more than what you paid for. I guess their logic is, you will think ‘Hey I got cheated, But I got this invoice with higher amount, let me cheat my Office/Workplace while claiming travel reimbursement!’ — So pass on the cheating, let us form a cheating network! ] You need to spend considerable time with their customer support to get the right invoice with the right description and right amount.

Now that brings us to the point of this post, ‘Why IRCTC’s plans to insist on Aadhar details is flawed’:

If IRCTC is insisting on Aadhar card details, the online ticketing agents will naturally ask for Aadhar details for fulfilling the bookings through them. Thus unscrupulous operators like will have your Aadhar details and use it to create asymmetric situations like above on poor travellers to cheat them, harass them. More sinister — form a network to profile scam ‘victim’ information, share with other scam partners to trigger a systematic scam throughout the travel-life cycle. [ Scammer Ticket booking site alerting the Scammer hotel and Scammer taxi guy: ‘Yet another nice fat victim coming up your way! Milk to your satisfaction’ ]

It is very sad that IRCTC choose concession seekers to rollout Aadhar — they will become the first victims of unscrupulous harassment happy travel agents like