Are Qatar Airways promotions useless when you need them?

I really want to know if Qatar Airways is an airline that’s trying to mess with customers…. Perhaps it’s just that they’re an airline with a perpetual ‘asterisk’; meaning that there is always a catch with them. I really love Qatar Airways. When things go right, they go great. Love the new planes. Love the fact that they are representing Qatar to the world. iLoveQatar also applauded the fact that they won a best airline award on our social networks. I try to help them so much that I point out mistakes to them on Twitter so that I can help them improve but this time…. I’m just disappointed. I’m going to talk about two situations.

The extra condition of exclusion

They’ve been advertising a great promotion that they have going on for customers. Sending out newsletters, announcing it in the papers, and even adding it to their website’s homepage.

Buy a ticket to certain destinations in a certain time frame and travel within a certain date, and you qualify. (Already sounds a bit messy with the requirements, but I hope that I’m intelligent enough to figure it out.)

According to the special offers page, if I travel from DOHA to LONDON as an Economy passenger, and I BUY the ticket between 3-31 July 2012 and I travel between 10 July and 17 October, then the price of the ticket is 3,130 QR.

Here’s a screenshot.

So I decide to click on ‘BOOK’. I chose the dates 16 August to 25th of August. (I picked those dates since it’s near the end of Ramadan and I figure that I might as well take some days off and make the most of this great offer). Now my flight is BEFORE 17 October and AFTER 10 July. Today is the 16th of July so I’ve tried to make the booking before 21st of July.  However, I’m greeted with the following screen…

The price of the ticket is almost 5,000 QR. That’s a big difference from the special price mentioned right?

So I check out their Terms & Conditions. Besides being a mess to read (there’s something called bullet points you know), I’m disappointed by point 5.
“Promotional fares are not valid during the following period: To all destinations from 16-25 august and inbound flights from 25 August to 10 September”

Another lovely condition applied. This time within the Terms & Conditions themselves. So sadly, I’m unable to make use of this promotion during the end of Ramadan. Of course they know that people will want to be traveling during this period, so they’ve put out a special offer that excludes the travel peak in Qatar itself. *sighs*

 

The one where ‘Up to’ starts from 0%

So this one is pretty much straight forward. In April, Qatar Airways said that if you book between the 17th and 19th of April, you can save up to 25%.

Their rules? Travel between 20th of April and 6th of June (going and coming). So you’ve literally got 3 days to make a decision for a flight, and you got to go and come back within 2 weeks. It’s tight, but fine.

Now on the 16th of April, I was just playing around on Qatar Airways website and was toying with the idea of visiting Korea. (I’ve always wanted to go there). At the time I had plugged in random dates. I chose 25th to 30th of April. Price of the ticket? 5,760QR. I took a screenshot so that I could remember it  for later. (Yes I always take screenshots. I’m a screenshotaholic).

Two days later, the fantastic Qatar Airways promotion is announced. So I  think, “hmm, I wonder… if I could save up to 25% off, how much would a ticket be to Korea now”. So I search… Here’s a screenshot of what I find.

On the left we see that the price of the ticket is 5,760QR DURING the promotion. On the right we see the screenshot I took BEFORE the promotion, also at 5,760QR.

So I take a look at the Terms & Conditions just in case. There’s NOTHING that indicates WHY I wouldn’t be elegible. Take a look for yourself, perhaps I’ve missed something.

Long story short… I’m really starting to have my doubts about Qatar Airways promotions… it’s like they’re created just to get you excited and then disappoint you in the end.  Comments?

  • Adam]

    if I am not wrong, promotions are licensed by the ministry of trade, so that customers are not ripped off by companies that offer fake discounts or no discounts at all. Its a good thing that you took a screenshot before and after the promotion. So, I guess if this is considered enough proof that they are not really offering any discounts and are just deceiving us into believing that they are offering discounted prices, maybe you should report them to consumer protection (thats if they do anything at all).

  • Guest

    Hello. I agree, the HTML could be formatted better (those conditions are ugly and hope Qatar will fix those). But, in both promotions you referenced in your post, the conditions seem to indicate that not all seats are available at the advertised price. It must be their yield management system doing this, like at all other airlines. Finding deals on any airline can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but as long as the terms are stated clearly, it is their legal right. Though, it remains frustrating for me as a consumer, but you can say that about all airlines worldwide.

  • amnesia

    Hi there
    I should mention that I checked up to a week forward and a week back and the prices were the same. I also checked destinations to London and Kuwait and they were the same. I had tweeted about it at the time and 4 people also mentioned they saw no change in price.

    They really could have terms that protect them, that’s true. But theyre only playing with customers and disappointing them at the end of the day.
    Misleading advertising, whether protected by terms, are still misleading.

    It could be happening with many companies in the world but in this case my focus is on Qatar Airways since I’m a Qatari, in Qatar and it being the national airline. It’s like that expression, just because everybody’s doing it, it doesn’t make it right.

  • theresalways1

    If you really want to get upset, try this:

     

    Pick any route starting outside of Doha,
    e.g. London- Doha return.

    I just tried it for the 28 Jul – 4 August.
    roundtrip is 751.39 GBP

    Then, using the same dates, add Dubai.

    Using the same flight that costs you 751.39
    ending in Doha, and then adding a flight to Dubai, will now reduce your overall
    costs from 751.39 to  433.19.  Now you might be thinking that its the taxes,
    right?  Wrong.  In the price breakdown London-Doh – THe fare
    is 500 GBP, taxes are 251.39.  If instead
    you were doing the trip Lon-Doh-Dubai 
    return, your fare drops to 175 GBP, taxes steady at 258.19.  I really would like to stress that that fare now includes a flight to dubai but somehow lost 325 GBP. Put another way, that is 65% cheaper, or, we are paying at least 285% more.

     

    Either we are being ripped off, or they are
    heavily undercutting Emirates.  But somehow,
    someone is paying for it.
     

  • Kathy

    Too funny I found this too when they said you get a discount in a certain club but the price was even more than their regular price!  Its like a joke, but people are getting cheated.  

  • Mr Truth

    In your screen shot if you travelled on the 13th outbound and returned on the 22nd you would have got the price in the special offer.

  • amnesia

    I think you missed the point of the post…. The first ‘story’ is referring to the fact that there are a lot of conditions.

    (Ironic that your email negates your alias since it doesn’t exist :P)

  • PD

    Absolutely spot on article – I also think QA are great, but the special offers (about which I receive a constant barrage of emails) are completely rubbish as they are just too complicated to understand, and have way to many conditions applied. QA really need to simplify things. Either offer something “special” or save us all a lot of time and bother. 

  • DickDePilot

    Sounds like you have found the ‘secret tax’ on airfares for those of us who have a final destination of Doha. I looked at a return flight from Manchester to Doha next February for my wife and the price was £680. Considered using my current location to explore further East so looked at Manchester to Colombo (change planes in Doha) for same dates and the price dropped to £520!

  • DickDePilot

    Like a lot of things here there are headline grabbing statements and nothing of any substance to back it up :-(

  • amnesia

    How is my blog post containing no substance? I gave clear examples… That explain why the offer is useless when you need it…

  • DickDePilot

    My apologies, I was not suggesting your blog lacked substance. I was actually referring to Qatar Airways (and lots of other headline grabbing announcements in this country). I shall consider quantifying/qualifying such statements in future posts

  • amnesia

    Got it! Thanks for explaining :)

  • DickDePilot

    You are most welcome my friend :-)

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