Saturday, December 01, 2012

irctc booking tips invalid

The new rules at the Indian Railways ticket booking site have made most of the old tips invalid. The mobile site used to be more responsive, but now booking is not allowed from the mobile site between 8 am and noon. Tatkal ticket booking is allowed only after 10 am and not at 8 am. "Quick Book" is also not allowed 8 am to noon. Also, the Tatkal ticket is available for booking only from the day before the journey date (and not two days before).

The mobile site uses user agent detection to redirect desktops to the desktop site. This detection is not so great - my HTC Wildfire with Android 2.3 has the default browser as well as Opera mobile being redirected to desktop site despite the mobile version setting being turned on. But User Agent switcher addon for firefox does the job with ease.

Edit: A couple of tips learnt from my experience this morning with Tatkal booking.
  1. Patience is a virtue - try, try, try again. On the third trial, after one hour of timeouts and service unavailable messages, got through.
  2. One timesaver would be to copy the From and To station fields in their entirety logging on to the site a few minutes before the 10 am deadline. Then, you can avoid waiting for the station pop-up, by pasting this info directly into the box. Confirmed working on Firefox.

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