Railofy Guaranteed Travel-Flight tickets for train WL/RAC

Railofy is a new startup in town promising guaranteed travel even if your train ticket is not confirmed. For a nominal fee, you can get a flight ticket to your destination.

What does Railofy's Guaranteed Travel scheme cost you?
  • Your regular train fare, which will be refunded if PNR remains in WL till chart preparation (not if it moves to RAC)
  • Travel Guarantee Fee for Railofy - this is a non refundable amount- like an insurance premium- if your train ticket is confirmed, this money is lost. Starts at INR 50, was INR 828 for Mumbai-Ahmedabad.
  • Discounted Flight Charge- This is the additional amount you've to pay, if your train ticket is not confirmed and you'd prefer to fly. Supposed to be lot cheaper than booking a flight ticket directly with airlines last minute. The exact amount is not specified and will probably vary depending on multiple factors. But Railofy website says for infants a fixed fee of INR 1500 will be charged, so my guess is adults will have to pay more.
How does Railofy Guaranteed Travel work?
When you book a train ticket, if it is WL or RAC and you don't think it will get confirmed, you can login to Raiofy, enter your PNR and purchase your travel guarantee. This amount could be as high as INR 800-900

Indian Railways prepares chart 4 hours prior to scheduled departure. Once chart is made you will know if your PNR is confirmed or RAC or still in WL.
  • Possibility 1: Ticket is confirmed: You have to travel on trail, amount paid to Railofy for Guaranteed travel is lost.
  • Possibility 2: Your ticket is RAC. If you have purchased RAC Guaranteed travel, you can pay for flight amount and get a flight or forget it and travel in train RAC
  • Possibility 3: Your ticket is still in Wait List. Railways will refund your ticket fare automatically. Now you've to decide in 30 minutes if you'd like to take the flight. If you prefer to take a flight you have to immediately pay the predefined amount. Railofy promises to put you on a flight within 24 hours of train departure time. Don't think you will have choice of airline or timing, but you can reach your destination for lot less than what a last minute flight ticket would have cost you.
Points to note: 
  • Service is available for AC tickets only. Not for sleeper, second sitting or general category tickets. If 1000s of sleeper class passengers apply, there is not enough airline seats to offer. With a small number of AC passengers it is easier to find them a flight.
  • Only tickets purchased minimum 2 calendar days prior to date of departure qualify.
  • Railofy's Guaranteed Travel is available in select sectors only- particularly the popular sectors having multiple direct flights and high probability of some seats remaining empty.
  • You can't head direct to airport- RailoFy's promise is they will offer a flight within a reasonable time frame (max 24 hours from train departure time). 
  • You have to pay the flight charges amount in a short span of time- just about 30 mins of railway chart preparation. If you take more time, no cheap flight for you and travel guarantee becomes null and void.
What do I think of Railofy's service?
In theory it is a good service- airlines get their empty seats filled, train passengers can travel for sure and Railofy gets to make money on every PNR irrespective of flight ticket had to be given or not.

But there are some limitations:
1. Airlines sell initial few seats on each flight for a discounted price, hopping there is some load and loss is compensated by last minute travelers who pay a premium.  If railofy's model really really succeeds, everyone will head to book train tickets instead of flight tickets, hoping to get cheaper than normal flight tickets last moment. This will be bad for airline industry. 

2. Service is restricted to AC sleeper passengers only, which is probably 20-25% of train passengers. For example, if you see below details of Kaveri Express that runs between Chennai and Mysuru, it has only 5 AC coaches, 14 sleeper class coaches and few general class coaches. That is, less than 300 people travel in AC coaches while about 1000 people travel in sleeper class and may be another 200-300 people are stuffed in General class. This means Railofy's service caters to about 300/1300 = less than 25% of train travelers. Of course there are some all AC trains like Shatabdi or Double Decker, but Railofy's website doesn't say AC Chair car passengers qualify.
3. The amounts are kept secret- Unless you spend and book a train ticket, you can't see how much is Travel Guarantee Fee and how much is the flight charge. If the net savings are not significant, one might as well spend a few hundred more and book a flight ticket.  Will be good if they can make public an approximate pricing for major sectors.

May be today the travel guarantee fee and flight fare are low. But will they sustain it or like most startups offer discounted rates in the beginning and later start increasing the prices.

4. Short window: Once chart is prepared and your PNR doesn't get confirmed, you have about 30 minutes to decide if you want to take the flight with Railofy. Not enough time to research alternate options, particularly you are not free exactly when chart is prepared. If you don't pay for flight ticket within this short span, you lose your travel guarantee. I feel 90 to 120 minutes is the reasonable time passengers should be given to decide if they want to take the flight from Railofy or not.

5. 24 hour flight guarantee- Railofy promises your flight will take off within 24 hours of original train departure time. For short overnight journeys, this would still disrupt your plan by a day.

A price comparison for reference: 
For first class passengers, the difference is not very huge- they might get a flight ticket for the same price of a 1st AC ticket- particularly if one can plan a week in advance. For 3rd AC passengers if they can get flight for same price as 3rd AC, then there will be good savings.
1st AC fare
3rd AC fare
Flight fare 4 days prior
Last minute flight fare
(previous day booking)
Railofy Travel Guarantee
(no refund)
Railofy discounted flight fare
Railofy Total





Railofy Sample screenshot- Thanks to Rishab Shah for the input.
If your ticket gets confirmed you lose INR 828, else you can reach Ahmendabad for about INR 2400, which is a good deal. Still, it is a good option- there will be some people who may find Railofy's service valuable. They are offering a new solution, let us wait and see how traveling passengers respond. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts and feedback if you have used Railofy's service.

Travel guarantee was NOT available for Bengaluru-Chennai, Mumbai-Delhi (was strange), Pune-Bhuj, NED-SBC, Rameshwaram sectors my friends tried. Thanks to my friends Karthik Kannan, Alka Kaushik, Sharath Babu, Travel MG, Deepak Majipatil, Umashree Raghunath and Rishab Shah for assisting in research.

How does Railofy make money?
Travel guarantee fee is a guaranteed income to Railofy irrespective of customer's train gets confirmed or not.

My feedback on Railofy:
  • Please make Travel Guarantee Fee and Railofy Discounted fares public for more transparency
  • Increase payment window from 30 mins to 90 or 120 minutes
  • Extend service to NON AC sleeper passengers, may be charge them a bit more for flight tickets
  • Indian Railway is huge. Be very clear which sector you are supporting. People will try for their ticket, see that it is not supported and may not return. If available only for say ex-Mumbai, call it out. Saves time for everyone else.
Best wishes to the new venture. Visit https://www.railofy.com/

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