Smoothest tatkal booking experience

Today is the most surprising day to me. I’m generally too bad at booking tatkal quota train tickets via IRCTC. Each time I try to book a ticket I face several weird issues and ultimately I wouldn’t book a ticket.

For those who aren’t aware what a tatkal quota ticket is, it is a special quota of tickets reserved in some trains run by the Indian Railways for people who would would like to travel at very short notice. Booking opens for the tickets reserved for this quota only a day before the train starts from it’s source.

Today I had to book a tatkal ticket in the Seater class for my mom. This time I decided to use a different UPI app to complete the payment as the one I use now is known to not work during tatkal timings (seems it couldn’t handle the load). As being familiar with the booking flow is so crucial for time critical things such as tatkal ticket booking, I wanted to make myself familiar with payment flow when using the new app. As the tickets for the AC class opens an hour before the tickets for the Seater class, I decided to use that as a chance to become familiar. I thought I could go till the end of the payment and cancel it ultimately so I could both become familiar and prevent myself from booking a ticket in the AC class (as the costs are a little high when compared to the Seater class).

It was 10:08 A.M. It has has already been 8 minutes since the tatkal tickets for the AC class has been opened. I opened the IRCTC app and filled in the journey details to see the status of the tickets in tatkal quota of the AC class. There were 4 seats available. I started filling the passenger details and chose the ‘Book only if confirm tickets are available’ just to be sure I don’t book a wait listed ticket. The confirmation screen was shown. There I saw that the availability had already come down to 3.

I then went to the payment page. I then chose a UPI gateway. I entered the new UPI ID and verified it after which I hit on ‘Pay’. I got a notification from the new UPI app. I thought I could cancel the payment inside the app and tapped on the notification. It showed me a screen with payment details. I entered the PIN to cancel the payment. That’s where my assumption failed! It seems the app completes the payment immediately after I enter the PIN without any other confirmation. I was shocked!

I then went back to the IRCTC app to see what happened to the ticket booking transaction. The gateway was waiting for some time. I thought it would wait till the end and fail just like how it happened once in the past. It did not fail. The transaction was successful. Then I thought a confirm ticket wouldn’t be available so the ticket wouldn’t be booked and the money would be refunded. I was wrong again. It seems a confirm ticket was available and ultimately I booked a ticket successfully in the AC class. That’s awesome! 🎉 (despite the fact that the fare was high).

I’ve never in my life so far booked a tatkal ticket so hassle free and without and tension and most importantly without facing any weird bugs in the IRCTC app.

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