Emirates has accidentally offered airfares between Brazil and Australia for just the cost of taxes and charges, with the actual fare being zero – and the 300 people who bought them expect the airline to fly them at that rate.
An article in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph quoted a Gold Coast resident, among those who could “barely believe their luck” in seeing a return fare from Sao Paulo to Brisbane offered for AUD 214 all up, and who had “quickly booked flights for her father and stepmother”.
Other people, apparently of Brazilian heritage, did the same and received confirmation emails and e-tickets for the flights.
The paper said their jubilation “turned to despair” the next day when the airline abruptly cancelled the bookings.
The paper said that after some confusion the airline blamed a “technical error” which had lasted three hours. It said that any ticket issued in that time frame was void and would be cancelled.
Airlines to have been caught up in similar glitches in recent year include Qantas, American, Delta and Etihad.
In 2014, Etihad mistakenly sold seats on Abu Dhabi-New York flights for AUD 187 – and then honoured the bookings, even though the bungle reportedly involved thousands of tickets.
Emirates is taking a much harsher stance, according to the Telegraph, and Australian Consumer Law does not provide specific remedies for electronic airfare mistakes.
Written by Peter Needham