Good News: Qatar Airways Is Reinstating Canceled Tickets

On Sunday 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), and it was available for several hours.

It has now been about 36 hours since the cheap fares were pulled. Up until this morning it looked like Qatar Airways had taken the following approach:

  • They didn’t cancel tickets that were issued and were never held
  • They did cancel the holds for those who decided just to put itineraries on hold rather than ticketing
  • They canceled the tickets for those who issued the tickets after placing them on hold

There were some exceptions, but that was the general idea. The first two decisions aren’t surprising. That’s to say that I’m not surprised that they didn’t immediately cancel the tickets for those who were confirmed (even if airlines decide not to honor a mistake fare, it often takes them a while before they cancel tickets). I’m also not surprised they didn’t honor the tickets for those who just put tickets on hold (American did the same thing a couple of years ago for their Beijing mistake fare).

The unusual move is that they canceled the tickets of those who first held them and then ticketed them. That’s a strange move if they’re going to honor the fare, since those passengers were confirmed as well. I suspect this may not have been completely intentional. Perhaps Qatar decided they were going to cancel all tickets that were held out of Vietnam, and in the process maybe they also accidentally canceled tickets that were confirmed in the meantime but held at some point. Or who knows, maybe it was intentional.

Well, it looks like there’s some good news on that front. Many people who confirmed tickets after holding them are reporting that their tickets have been reinstated. This seems to be automatic for many. To me that suggests it’s pretty safe to assume that Qatar Airways will be honoring this fare, or else I assume they wouldn’t be reinstating these. Or at least that’s what I make of this move.

If you’re one of those people who held a ticket and then issued it, take a look at your reservation, as it may once again be intact.

Personally I’m not yet planning travel to/from Vietnam. I’m still trying to decide for sure whether or not I want to fly the whole itinerary, just half the itinerary, etc. Really I’m just waiting for Qatar Airways to officially put the Qsuites on the JFK route to decide.

Comments

  1. If qr decide to honor the ticket, is it possible to change the return date? Or should I keep silent and not calling the company?

  2. Great news. Kudos on Qatar for fully honouring this fare. I’m sure many will be impressed by their onboard product and service, too. AA: take note on how QR handled this, compared to you!

  3. @ Choo — I’d probably hold off a little longer, but at some point it’s fine to call. If you try to change the dates keep in mind you’ll be charged the change fee and fare difference, so it will be hugely expensive.

  4. @Choo don’t push your luck. You’re going to be stuck with the dates you chose and if you try to change it, they’ll charge you what it costs now.

  5. I will 100% be flying my outbound as booked, but dates for my return were almost gone by the time I reserved. Will changes after departure be possible?

  6. I have booked 3 RT from SGN-MIA. Can I just use the inbound to MIA for all 3 and Outbound to SGN for 1 person and throw the rest of the 2? will they charge me change fees\No shows fees for rest of the 2 tickets?
    BTW I got an awesome deal if they honor the fare thanks to my Amex Biz Plat 50%!!

  7. @ Dave — There should be no fees if you’re just throwing away the last part of a ticket. Subsequent segments on the same itinerary will be canceled, but that’s it.

  8. @ Rick — It’s unlikely they’ll allow changes without huge fees. You’re best off just throwing away the return if you don’t want to take it.

  9. I got in on the deal but am LAX based so I purchased SGN-DFW. After pricing out positioning flights and time, I’m going to have to cancel my ticket. Luckily, free cancellation (for me and for Qatar Airways)!

  10. @ Danielle — Right, unfortunately that’s what they’re doing. They’re not honoring holds. When there are mistake fares you always want to ticket rather than holding, since there’s no guarantee they’ll honor a mistake if you just hold it.

  11. Curious…I held (then ticketed) SGN-JNB for October. It was never cancelled (hence never reinstated) and still confirmed as we speak. I am thinking about jumping on the China Eastern $350 RT (ORD-SGN) positioning flight that’s been all the buzz today. I was going to pay $500 RT for the positioning flight from Chicago but 350 is even better. However, I don’t want to confirm positioning flight if QR may still cancel it. What would you do?

  12. @lucky sucha bummer. LAst time i paid and then they refused to refund me; had to fight with them, so this time i held. such a mistake. Any chance if i write someone they’ll honor? suggestions?

  13. I snagged to of these. One from SGN to LHR and one to CDG. I purchased immediately. I waited a couple of days and finally called today and got an agent that told me I hit the jackpot in these amazing fares. She went on to tell me how the amazing service in the air would match the amazing lounge experience in Doha. She confirmed both tickets are in tact and reaffirmed Qatar was honoring the tickets. She was amazed st the date and was very happy for me.

    I’m going to wait another week or so to secure my positioning flights.

  14. Where is the value here after you have bought positioning flights and, probably hotels as well?

    I end up buying 2 round-trips to Asia, one of which is cheap and one of which is not

  15. Mine was on a hold as I wanted to check positioning award flights and hotels, then planned to purchase the ticket the next morning. Have checked but it’s not been restored. QR has not responded to my Facebook PM I was asked to send. Remember, unlike the AA fare that was an error this was specifically displayed as a Golden Ticket and booked as such, permitting a hold. Glad to see ticketed bookings restored, but otherwise this leaves a very bad impression of the airline (particularly after its CEO made such misogynist statements a few weeks ago). Certainly takes them off my priority list even though I’ve paid to fly them in the past.

  16. I know you’re a busy man and probably wont read or reply to this comment but I just wanna say I love your blog Ben, thanks for doing it and being yourself in your reviews and im LOVING the instagram stories, keep them coming!

  17. Is it possible to get a ballpark figure of how many people have bought this cheap biz fare ticket from SGN?

    Going by the comments above It is going to cost a lot for positioning flights and hotels to SGN I am wondering does it actually make sense to buy this cheap fare and then pay through your nose to reach SGN and also fly out of it. Many are planning to throwaway one leg of the ticket. What a waste of money.

    I m thinking the people who bought this fare won’t be flying in and out of SGN in a low cost airline like Air Asia!

    Looks like penny wise pound foolish scenario for some.

    If you really want to experience Qr biz class just buy a ticket out of your home city or nearest airport where Qr flies to next time!

    Ben can manage to put to use these deals since he is a travel blogger. It’s not a cup of tea for all. Looks like many got carried away by the mouth watering fare and jumped in only to realise the mistake.

  18. @SS

    It might be a surprise to you but not everyone who books flights starts/lives in the US. Hence not everyone has a long way and subsequently not everyone made a mistake booking this 😉

    For me it is a 90 min flight to get there, and I wanted to fly to Europe anyway so this was the perfect deal at a perfect time.

  19. I missed this deal! Next time I’ll book immediately. Lesson learnt! Anyway, I was wondering why they did this particularly for SGN? Any thoughts? Could this have been an understanding between SGN airport or tourism department and QR to increase footfalls?

  20. @AG, I’d venture it’s because Vietnam’s still an “up for grabs” market.” Not just because of the bigger growth story (young professionals have more spending power than ever, heaps of multi-nationals and wealthy expats are moving in), but also the sorry state of its flag carrier. Vietnam Airlines is a Grade D carrier, and this emerging demographic would jump at the chance to not fly them. I’ve regularly seen fares ex-SGN/HAN on SQ, CX, JL, BR, etc that would have cost 3x as much in a saturated market like Jakarta or Singapore. Even in Bangkok — which was the bargain basement for flights ten years ago — you rarely see a screaming deal anymore. Just a theory, tho’

  21. My case , ticket was held and paid issued on the same day. they’ve already deducted from my credit card but today I went to check it said canceled. what will happen now?

  22. Bought 2 trips, both SGN-JFK, one early Sep and another early Dec. Purchased right away, never held. Now crossing my fingers they’ll honour them as Ive already planned everything around them.

    Id earlier bought $3600 BKK-JFK flight (as the trip is planned a long time ago—for my bf birthday and the US Open tennis tournament) and will wait at least a week or two to cancel it, or until I learn someone w/ these Golden Tickets got honoured. When is your flights, again, Ben?

    SS: like someone else mentioned earlier, not really a ‘waste of money’ or a ‘foolish scenario’ for a lot of us. I mean, w/ Qpoint x2 offer Ive registered, Im guaranteed oneworld™ Emerald until 2019. Not too shabby, considering SGN is mere 1 hr away from me 😉 I also have a feeling many of us who rushed to buy these tickets aint that unfamiliar w/ Qatar business class like you assumed. But if youre talking about the new QSuite, that is true—we “really want to experience” it, and we’ll prolly share our experience here w/ you as well 😉

  23. New update, a friend in our Wechat group with SGN-DOH-EZE itinerary had got cancelled today, which is quite strange. She had already paid the ticket after holding for 5 minutes, and her ticket had also got reinstated in Aug 2th after being removed by QR.

    As she had already got almost all the requirements for connection from China to SGN settled, she feels angry about what QR did with her.

  24. I’ve just completed a trip so I thought I’d share a lil update for those who holds these Golden Tickets.

    First of all, I was so nervous they would cancel my tickets (purchased right away, no hold) that I didn’t even dare to call them for fear of alerting the issue. I had also bought a $3600 ticket for the same route earlier, so I kept that one as my plan B. But alas, one week prior to departure, I’d given in to the stress, called the airlines office in Bangkok (my hometown) and ask them straightforward. Qatar Airways told me it was indeed an ERROR fare—I told him it was shown on QR official website w/ a golden frame on, to which he replied the IT department may not have known of such error and hence put on the graphics. I asked him specifically if I could rely on this Golden Ticket to be honoured and hence would cancel my $3600 one. He re-affirmed, and the refund was back in my credit card swiftly. Ostensibly, he also contacted QR Vietnam office to send me another confirmation e-mail to pacify my nerve. Nonetheless, I still ritually checked my QR app every night if my trip was there until departure. Such OCD.

    I tried check-in on-line to at least get a mobile boarding pass for another layer of reassurance (you can see I was very nervous, since I searched the internet and no one has confirmed of being honoured), but frighteningly it was not possible.

    So I embarked on my positioning flight (MH from BKK-KUL-SGN) and got my luggages checked though to (BKK-KUL-SGN-DOH-JFK) and upon checking in at a transfer counter in SGN, to my relief the Golden Tickets were honoured. The only reason I could not have checked-in online was I got “SSSS”, which I suspected might be QR revenge on me for the tickets lol But to be fair (fingers crossed), it was the smoothest US immigration entry I’ve ever had. No patting, no checking things in carry-on bag, no question, no nothing. I was one of the first to leave the aircraft and out of the airport onto JFK AirTrain within 10 min. I also got another SSSS on this trip and again, swiftly through in no time. Lucky.

    A note on SGN airport: their immigration is a NIGHTMARE! Both arrival and departure. If you can ask your (oneworld) positioning carrier to check your bag through for you, pls consider doing it. You’d save so much time and energy. No immigration fast track for business class/OW Emerald (only at security x-ray you can use the crew lane). MH kindly did it for me on the outbound flight which made things a lot more pleasant, QR refused on the return. Terrible.

    On top of the $676 ticket I also got 2 other benefits on this trip. One, QR offered me Qpoint x2 which all but guarantees my Emerald status through Sep 2019. Sweet 🙂 Two, I took the offer from Qatar Tourism Board “+Qatar”, which, apart from the recent visa-free waiver for 80 countries, gives you free 4* (economy class) or 5* (business and first class) hotel for one night. Since I had 19-hr layover on this Golden Ticket on the return leg, it was nice to have a place downtown to store luggages, shower, and relax by the pool. Al-Mourjan lounge is getting boring w/o Krug champagne 😉

    So it was the very first time I finally get to leave DOH. So strange. 99% headed for Transfer and you walk down Arrival w/ barely any people. Immigration was amazing though. You go through an al-Maha arrival lounge where they take your passport and clear your immigration while you sit and sip cappuccino. That beats SIN airport 🙂 I also got to explore DOH arrival lounge a bit while I waited for my Uber. Nothing special, but they were helpful, called the Uber driver for me, etc.

    One last story, upon coming back to DOH to board my final leg (DOH-SGN), my trip DISAPPEARED from Qatar Airways app 3 hours before the flight! You can imagine, I panicked! I arrived at the designated check-in counter and ask if there is any problem? She looked at her screen, silent, then called her supervisor, talked in a language I didn’t understand, and looked at me again. I was FRIGHTENED! What if they finally found out this was the ticket to be cancelled? (I already had my boarding pass printed out from JFK for DOH-SGN, in fact). Finally the supervisor looked at me, and told me: As you are our Platinum member, I am sorry we have kept you waiting for a while, but our al-Maha service agent just arrived and will now accompany you through immigration to the lounge. Gosh, that was heart-stopping XD

    So that was my update. All Im saying is, relax, they DO honour these tickets. I can’t wait to use my another one in December! (yes, I snatched 2—two!—Golden Tickets 😉

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