Several comments in my earlier post on Qatar’s cheap ex-SGN business class fare dismiss the possibility that a $672 r/t business class fare can be characterized as anything other than a mistake. I’m not so sure. Here’s why.
Yesterday afternoon we were teased with this–
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
Hours later, just after midnight in Doha, the incredible fare popped up. Note the promo specifically mentions “World’s Best Business Class”.
Let’s face it: Qatar Airways could use some good publicity right now. The CEO has been lambasted for sexist remarks and Qatar finds itself blockaded by many of its Arab neighbors. The carrier lost money last year and is struggling even with the introduction of QSuites and frankly one of the best, if not the best, overall business class products in the world.
It seems to me the public hype these tickets will generate may have been part of a calculated gamble.
$0 Base Fare Means Nothing
I point out first that these fares were filed under a special “Business Promo” column, and coded as “Golden Tickets”. Note, this is not the first time that Qatar has offered “Golden Tickets” with a $0 base fare. It is (or would be) the first time that Qatar has done so for a premium cabin.
And what does a $0 base fare really mean? There are not $672 in government taxes and fees on a round-trip ticket from Vietnam to the United Sates. The majority of that $672 is a “carrier-imposed fee”, once known as a “fuel surcharge” that is indisputably part of the ticket price. This was not a $0 fare. This was a $672 fare. Base fares are illusory.
But Perhaps Qatar Overestimated the Power of the Internet…
My own guess is that Qatar did intend to offer an attractive fare sale in business class. Something may have went wrong in terms of the number of cities the sale was extended to, but perhaps what really compounded the situation was the power of the internet.
One Mile at a Time quickly picked up the fare and Twitter and Facebook helped to quickly spread it. What may have been intended as a two-hour flash sale turned into a sale many magnitudes more severe thanks to the unique nature of the fare and the internet. Just a guess.
Or it Could Just Be A Mistake
I’m not burying my head in the sand here. This fare could simply have been a mistake. The fact that Qatar seems to be cancelling fares today may just be seller’s remorse but it could very well be a sign that they never intended to offer in the first place.
My ticket has not been cancelled…yet. Others have reported their ticketed reservations have been, so I will wait and see.