QATAR Airways has “relaxed” conditions in its three-tier fare structure which came into effect on November 1, sparing some “no-show” passengers from total money loss.
The national carrier’s fare rule relaxation came into effect yesterday.
Industry sources said no-show passengers in Qatar Airways would lose only between QR550 (economy class) and QR750 in premium (first and business classes) under the new fare rules.
Under the revamped fare structure introduced in November last year, Qatar Airways’ ticket holders in the super value category in economy class would have lost money entirely if they did not turn up at the airport in time.
There were two other categories of tickets in the revamped fare structure – flexi value and standard value.
The airline has also relaxed the “advance purchase” requirements under the revamped fare structure. Passengers were asked to purchase tickets 14 days and 21 days in advance depending on their category in the airline’s fare structure.
“That has now come down to seven and 14 days. For certain categories such as standard and flexi value ticket holders there is no advance purchase requirement,” the general manager of a travel agency said.
He said Qatar Airways passengers would be eligible for refund if they had to call off their journey for some reason. The refund charge would be QR350 for standard value and QR500 super value economy tickets.
In the premium class, the refund charge would be QR350 for standard value and QR500 for super value ticket holders.
Flexi-value ticket holders in any class of travel are eligible for full fare refund.
Passengers who change reservation date will pay QR500 for super value tickets in premium class and QR350 in economy, every time they do it.
The revised structure would also provide for “combination fares” which meant a Washington passenger could return to Doha from New York by paying exact fare applicable to these sectors.
While Qatar Airways said the revamped fare structure gave passengers “more choice, flexibility and greater value for money”, many airline customers were upset about the three-tier fare structure.
An industry source said, “Clearly, the airline was trying to avoid blocking seats for low fares. This is how air tickets are structured in many Western countries. But the ground realities in the West and our region are completely different. The revamped fare structure had made travel exorbitantly costlier for many Qatar Airways passengers, especially if they made last minute booking.”
The source said many passengers were forced to opt for indirect carriers because of the fare structure revamp done by Qatar Airways in November last year.
“Qatar Airways is a quality airline. And for many passengers it is the first choice because of the airline’s premium service, on-time performance and convenience of non-stop flying. But the three-tier fare structure by the national carrier had taken air travel clearly beyond the reach of many people,” the source added.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has introduced special introductory fares to Kozhikode in India, its latest destination, it is learnt. The national carrier launches Kozhikode flights on June 15.
One-way fare starts from QR750 and return fare from QR1,450 (without taxes), sources said. But travel validity is up to August 31.
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