Great News: ANA Honoring $700 Business Class Tickets To Sydney!

This past Saturday ANA had a really good fare for business class tickets from Vancouver to Sydney in which you could fly round-trip for right around $700. The deal only lasted for a few hours, so we didn’t have a chance to cover it here on OMAAT. I was out with the kids at the time, but my wife did manage to find five seats for our family, which was quite a feat — yes, she’s really that awesome. We later decided that the dates wouldn’t work for us though, and ended up cancelling the tickets within the 24-hour cancellation window.

The big question with this fare was whether the airline would honor the tickets. That became even more relevant when it was leaked that someone at ANA had basically left a 0 off the end of the fare, meaning that it was indeed a mistake fare, not an intentionally crazy flash sale. As a result, everyone who booked — and probably plenty of folks with no skin in the game — have been waiting anxiously to see what happens.

Well, it turns out that ANA is quietly honoring the tickets, which is great news. A few people have reported having conversations with ANA phone agents — long after the deal was dead of course — in which the agent said that anyone with a ticketed itinerary will get to fly, subject to the rules of the fare. So those with an e-ticket number should be set to go.


Sydney Opera House

Why I expected this fare to be honored

I expected that this mistake fare would be honored for two key reasons. First, it was bookable directly on the ANA website (as well as on United’s, their joint venture and Star Alliance partner) and didn’t require any shenanigans to do so. That’s in contrast with other mistake fares that are essentially glitches with online travel agencies. In this case, it was a classic fat-finger mistake where you mean to type one number, but hit another, or in this case no key at all.

Not only was bookable through the airlines’ direct channels, it also wasn’t free. Spending $700 for a ticket, while a fraction of the correct price, still isn’t chump change for most of us. I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that paying something helps to establish a contract between two parties. That’s why the Rangers traded sold Ernesto Frieri to the Seattle Mariners for $1 yesterday rather than giving him away.

ANA collected money from their customers, and issued an e-ticket. Claiming it was a mistake may not have looked so great in the court of public opinion, even if the DOT has since stopped caring so much. So if you have the choice between paying something for a ticket, and getting it for free, you should always want to pay.


Mileage earning for my ANA ticket to Sydney booked on United

But not everyone’s booking was honored

While ANA is honoring those bookings that were fully ticketed, they have cancelled many of those that were merely booked, confirmed, or on-hold. So if you don’t have an e-ticket, you might be out of luck. The tickets my wife booked on the United website ticketed within minutes. The same was true for those who went direct to ANA. But many of the bookings that went through online travel agencies ended up getting put in a queue to ticket later, thus giving ANA time to cancel them.

A similar thing happened with the Qatar business class mistake for tickets out of Vietnam. Folks who ticketed them immediately will get to fly, while those who put them on hold had them cancelled.

The key is that you should always want to get an e-ticket as quickly as you can. That doesn’t guarantee that your tickets will be honored, but it puts you on a lot firmer ground.

What is ANA business class like?

Overall, I would expect a fantastic experience as ANA is really one of the best airlines in Star Alliance.

That said, my experience with ANA has mostly been in economy, including Tokyo to Manila and Taipei to Tokyo. I think my only flight in ANA business class was Shanghai to Tokyo, which was their regional product, and it was years ago anyway. But as a longtime United Premier 1K, I’ve certainly spent a lot of time in their Narita lounges over the years. In fact, the ANA lounge closest to the United gates was the foreign airline lounge that my wife and I ever visited — so it always feels a bit like going home. (And hasn’t changed a bit in the last ten years, for better or worse.)

Ben, on the other hand, flew ANA business from Hanoi to Haneda last fall in a 787. I believe his configuration should mirror what you can expect on these fares.


ANA 787 business class

Bottom line

It’s great to see ANA honoring this fare. I believe that it’s really the right thing to do, and sets an excellent precedent for other airlines to follow. At this point, I would say that’s safe to book positioning flights, as well as hotels or activities in Australia. I’m a bit disappointed that my family won’t get to join you, but that’s mostly because we have a bunch of other travel coming up, so I can’t really complain.

And if you missed it, don’t worry, another will come along soon enough.

Did you book the ANA business class mistake from Vancouver to Sydney? 

Comments

  1. Not exactly. We were booked but not ticketed Saturday and an ANA agent said “No” to me Monday. Tuesday morning we were marked as canceled on the ANA site.

    Something happened at head office Tuesday and we are two of several for whom ANA reinstated the deal Tuesday afternoon.

    There’s an active FT thread going.

    Bravo to ANA!

  2. Hi Travis, thanks for the info. How did you and/or Mrs. Travis hear of the fare in the first place?

  3. I tried to find a good flight for my parents but there were too many airport switches. Would have been awesome to send them on this trip.

  4. For me the flight was purchased not ticketed, and got called by an agent on Tuesday, and they completely ticketed it with original fare rules.

  5. Theonlywaytofly — As I mentioned in my previous post on the topic, I first saw it pop up in my feed from Secret Flying. So I forwarded it to my wife, and said “honey, do your best!”.

  6. @Travis – If your kids go to school, how can you afford to constantly travel? Considering kids in the US only really get Winter holiday, Spring break and summer holiday for long distance travel.

  7. I’m glad that at least some people are getting their confirmed-but-not-ticketed reservations honored. That’s awesome. It did seem like a few folks were getting denied, however, and that’s typically how these things go.

  8. Have fun.

    Dont worry about the airline, catering is purchased in mass, and FA or non-rev eat a lot of it. Most of J, F food ends up burnt upon arrival.

    So $700.00 is fine.

  9. But unless I wanted to go to Sydney anyway, it’s still $700 for getting something cheap that I didn’t need.

    You also need to take the time to do this, so there is an opportunity cost.

    Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost you.

  10. The regional biz class configuration is very different than the long-haul one. The pic is longhaul.

  11. This isn’t something to cry over if you missed it but don’t live in Vancouver or Seattle. That is a lot of segments just to reach Sydney and if positioning from any other US cities would be even worse. Unless you’re planning a grand tour of Star Alliance lounges, keep on the lookout for awards and fly direct from LAX/SFO/DFW instead.

  12. I saw this via Gary Leff, couldn’t book it, switched to Secret Flyer & found tons of availability. In the end we decided that we would be spending more time in the air than on land, and passed on it.

  13. Saw SecretFlying and jumped on laptop right away. Already had award tickets booked for Nov and managed to get exact same dates for $575/person. So now to either cancel or change award tickets for other dates.

  14. The key element that my favorite travel bloggers apparently overlooked or discounted is the fact that ANA changed its stance within a period of a few hours and actively informed would-be customers they would honor the mistake fare, even for those who hadn’t been ticketed.

    Until I learn that there was some legal imperative incentivizing ANA to do that, I continue to applaud them for their decision.

  15. Flew their business HND-Syd a few months back. Was disappointed in product. Couldn’t sleep as temps were way too hot, space was tight, only 1 meal despite overnight flight and 9 a.m. arrival, and their intl business lounge in HND is poor.

    Still a great deal for the price.

  16. I’m livid beyond livid because my OTA (FlightNetwork) did not give me an eticket number – waited two hours to actually process the sale.

    Trying so hard to fight with FlightNetwork but I don’t think I will have any success. I’ve learned to take video recordings of me purchasing the ticket for proof but I’m not even sure having that as proof will work.

    I booked very early on when the fare was first published and before it showed up on the main sites. So I know many say book direct on ANA, but it wasn’t there when the fare first pushed out. If I would have known this in advance or they told me there was an error, I could have then gone on ANA. FlightNetwork says the fare is not valid, but through the GDS system the minute I put in my request, it was valid, since other people booked tickets afterwards. I even explained that the airline is honoring the fare, so the statement that the fare is not valid in invalid.

    My blood boils, and I literally had a nightmare about it waking up at 4:15 in the morning. Anger still and it’s been a week. One of the biggest reasons I got into churning was to go business class to SYD. And on a teacher salary, you don’t get there that way easily. I was already going to cancel my winter Iceland trip (I’ve been twice already, but not in winter) in exchange for this trip.

    I doubt I have any recourse, but I really wish, I really hope, because anyone else on any other OTA will get it, but I done (insert word here) up. I booked early, before any major place had it, and now I reap the rewards. Sigh.

    (Sorry for the vent, this is therapeutic for the OTA induced anger)

  17. Yes I got it. And like some comments about the long way there as I’m in Denver you can’t beat that fare for two weeks. It’s the only way I travel nowadays

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