Yesterday I posted about some insanely low business class fares that Qatar Airways published. For travel originating in Vietnam, Qatar Airways had $500-750 business class fares to all over the world. For example, I booked a ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to New York for $676 roundtrip. I know a lot of people booked this fare (and even more were interested), so I figured I’d provide some quick updates.
The fare is dead
The deal was alive for hours and hours, but the fares are no longer available. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. But as far as super cheap fares go, this one was around for a while.
Are tickets being canceled?
Based on the reports I’ve seen, it looks like the only thing Qatar Airways has done so far is cancel reservations that are on hold — as far as I can tell, ticketed reservations remain intact. If you see a fare that’s too good to be true, never ever hold it. If it turns out to be a mistake, airlines don’t typically honor held reservations, and they don’t have any obligation to do so (since it’s not a ticketed reservation). It’s no surprise that they’ve gone ahead and canceled these tickets. The same thing happened a couple of years back when American had super cheap business class tickets between Washington and Beijing.
If this is a mistake fare, it’s one of the most confusing ever
I’m really not sure what to make of this fare in terms of whether or not it’s a mistake. Based on the fact that they allowed holds but are now canceling them, I suspect it was a mistake, at least in some form.
Sometimes we see mistake fares and it’s fairly obvious — the airline left off a zero, the airline accidentally miscoded a fare as business class rather than economy, etc.
However, this fare is a bit different, and if it was a mistake, they screwed up one too many things to make that a defense and cancel the tickets, in my opinion.
Just hours before this sale they teased there was a “small surprise” for anyone who wants to experience their business class.
Want to experience the World’s Best Business Class? We’ve got a small surprise for you tomorrow. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/dD1OayyHHy
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) July 30, 2017
More importantly, the tickets were marketed as “Golden Tickets” on the booking page.
Qatar Airways has specifically had surprise “Golden Ticket” promotions in the past, where you pay just the taxes and carrier imposed surcharges, and there’s a zero dollar base fare. Admittedly they’ve been for travel in economy in the past, but if this was a mistake, they screwed up multiple things, in the sense that they both published these fares and then also coded them as “Golden Tickets” (well, unless their IT is set up so that anything with a $0 base fare is coded as a “Golden Ticket,” in which case that’s just on them).
I’m curious to see what comes of this fare. Based on the fact that they’re canceling held reservations I suspect this fare wasn’t fully intended to be published in this way, but it was done in such a confusing way with so many screw ups on their part that I don’t think they have much of a defense.
I plan on waiting a few days before making any non-refundable bookings around this itinerary, just to be on the safe side.