Qan­tas flips on grand fi­nal fares

The West Australian - - NEWS - Ge­of­frey Thomas Avi­a­tion Ed­i­tor

Qan­tas yes­ter­day cut its air­fares for next year’s grand fi­nal flights hours af­ter The Week­end West found that its prices were al­most twice as high as those of Vir­gin Aus­tralia — but said Ea­gles fans were the cause of the big gap.

At 9am yes­ter­day, the cheap­est Qan­tas flights were $629 one way to Mel­bourne on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 25 un­til Fri­day, Septem­ber 27 for a di­rect flight.

Vir­gin Aus­tralia fares were from $326 to $359.

The same lev­els ap­plied to the re­turn flights from the fol­low­ing Sun­day un­til Tues­day.

How­ever at 2.30pm yes­ter­day, af­ter a re­quest for com­ment, the one-way Qan­tas fares on all days fell to about $400.

The air­line’s ex­pla­na­tion was it had been swamped with book­ings from Ea­gles fans who think the 2018 Pre­miers can make it two in a row, and the rev­enue de­part­ment had not re­leased more lower-priced fares.

Air­line book­ing sys­tems are usu­ally di­vided into “13 fare buck­ets”, though book­ing en­gines only show a few price points.

Once one level is sold, the fare au­to­mat­i­cally de­faults to the next level and re­quires ei­ther rev­enue man­age­ment staff or a soft­ware pro­gram to ad­just the set­tings, adding more seats to the cheaper lev­els, de­pend­ing upon mar­ket con­di­tions.

“West Coast Ea­gles fans are ob­vi­ously very con­fi­dent about next year as we have al­ready sold three times more fares for the AFL grand fi­nal week­end com­pared to the same time last year,” a Qan­tas spokesman said.

“And if ei­ther West Aus­tralian club makes the grand fi­nal, Qan­tas and Jet­star will put on more flights with lower fares, as we did this year.” In June, Qan­tas of­fered a Back Your Team early-bird sale for AFL fans, with Perth-Mel­bourne fares from $399 one way over the grand fi­nal week­end, with the op­tion to re­book to any­where on the Qan­tas net­work with the stan­dard $99 change fee waived if their team did not make the fi­nals.

The air­line said it would make a de­ci­sion next year about run­ning this cam­paign again.

Qan­tas was ac­cused of fare goug­ing for this year’s grand fi­nal af­ter it had one-way busi­ness class fares at $3500 on sale.

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