Great PR: Qatar Airways turns a fare mistake into an opportunity

In a year full of amazing, low-cost, international, premium airfare sales, Qatar Airways may have taken the cake last week with a special fare that it launched for flights out of Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. For just over $700, travelers could fly round trip from the former capital of South Vietnam through Doha and onward to the United States in business class, a price that would be a steal in economy, let alone in Qatar’s award-winning premium cabin.

News of the sale fare went viral. Within hours, thousands had booked tickets from Saigon to Chicago, New York, and San Francisco — with supplemental “positioning” flights to and from Vietnam just to take the journey on Qatar Airways. The only problem was that the pricing was a mistake. Overnight, Qatar pulled the erroneous fares and in a flash, the deal of the year was gone.

At this point, Qatar could have taken the route that many carriers choose when an error fare is published: cancel all of the booked and on-hold tickets, issue an apology, and deal with the ire of a few, angry customers. Instead, the airline chose to honor the fares, going so far as to reinstate any bookings that were on hold and automatically canceled overnight.

Impressed by the generosity, many took to public forums to laud Qatar. “Great news,” said one commenter on the blog One Mile at a Time. “Kudos on Qatar for fully honoring this fare. I’m sure many will be impressed by their onboard product and service, too. [American Airlines]: take note on how [Qatar Airways] handled this, compared to you!”

Source Credit: Skift
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