Check your Qatar Airways flight bookings for ‘mixed cabins’

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We were caught off-guard yesterday when we covered the latest Qatar Airways sale.  Qatar Airways had loaded some fares which included economy segments when you searched for “premium only” flights.

These tickets were CLEARLY marked as ‘mixed cabin’ fares but it wasn’t clear exactly what that phrase meant!

Qatar Airways Premium Sale

It was even more confusing given that you could argue that Qsuite and non-Qsuite business class flights on the same trip may constitute ‘mixed cabins’.

It seems that Qatar Airways realised that this was not a good move, as ‘mixed cabin’ fares disappeared from its website yesterday afternoon.  It is worth checking any bookings made yesterday, however, to be sure that ALL segments show ‘Business’.

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Comments

  1. Mixed cabin fares is very normal nomenclature when there’s a mix of cabins – I’m shocked you didn’t know what it means!

    While I guess, technically, it could mean different business class cabins, that interpretation wouldn’t make any sense given no airline or booking system does that (and why would they?).

    • I don’t think there is an issue with introducing a new option with mixed cabin fares.
      The issue yesterday was they were marketing “Premium” fares On their homepage at Qatar.com and HFP where the was no mention of 2 legs out of 4 were in economy . Example yesterday was the headline far LHR > BKK for £1600 . You were even making the selection of Premium only . This was not acceptable marketing now you have confirmed it was not IT error

      • Agreed

        Yesterday was a truly dark day for hfp. I think it may have been a tipping point.

        I dont recall an article ever having been removed altogether.

        I fear it was the moment that commercial interest became more important than editorial integrity.

        I pray it aint so.

        • ChrisBCN says:

          Something clearly went badly wrong, whether HFP were let down by Qatar or wether they didn’t do any checking, who knows. This and the ‘anywhere’ wording on the Qatar comp show some bad judgements being made somewhere.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          The editorial policy of the site has clearly changed over the years. This will be in due a large part to the site’s growth and the fact that more opportunities are put before it.

          In this instance however it is hard to blame HfP for accepting an advert in good faith. The sharp practice and poor decision lies primarily at Qatar’s door.

        • A bit dramatic, the sale was probably covered widely. I doubt all the places it was, subsequently pulled the information regardless of whether they were notified or not. HFP did, that is a positive reflection of feedback from the comments the site generates and a relationship with Qatar Airways which meant they were notified and requested to pull it if I understand situation correctly. So it was simply damage limitation for potential pax, not a dark day at all.

        • The UK Qatar staff were as surprised as we were to see the mixed cabin fares, and they were pulled by the afternoon. Seems like a glitch to me 🙂

        • Lady London says:

          It was an IT glitsch I am sure. Qatar hadnt realized how their systems were operating.

          I can be quite ready to call travel providers sneaky but in this case I am sure no one would have been this stupid on purpose.

          • Do you think the ‘sale’ prices being the same as the prices before the ‘sale’ was a glitch too?

          • Lady London says:

            That’s pretty normal with a number of airlines. I tend to do my own work and buy outside of sales.

            The exception is 50% miles sales where “taxes” are not prohibitive. I always take a serious look at those. Not sure about the future as avios are getting harder to earn and I’m quite hesitant about trying new ways.

      • The headline flight I refer to Above LHR > BKK has now been amended on Qatar.com homepage . New Price £2182

    • Currently in my 40th year of flying and I have never seen the phrase before.

      • RussellH says:

        That does surprise me!

        I doubt if I have even made 40 flights in my 70+ years, and I have seen it a lot over the last few years – on Kayak, particularly

        • Lady London says:

          TBH I think Amex selling “IT” type restricted fares inappropriately, according to multiple reports we’ve had for a long time, is far more serious.

          Apparently Amex is not advising customers and customers are only finding out the restrictions due to being sold this type of tickets, accidentally and when it’s too late

          IIRC the cost to a travel agent selling these fares (they are typically only supposed to be sold bundled with hotel or car) might be only, say, 30% of the cost to travel agent of a ticket with only a normally expected level of restrictions. And yet we are hearing from people who found out Amex had sold them this type of ticket at close enough to the normal full price of tickets without these unusual restrictions discovered later.

          • Had one of these last week. Reader booked BA WTP via Amex Travel and BA would not upgrade it with Avios because it was an restricted fare.

          • If that wasn’t Original Nick, he reported the same issue in the comments.

          • During the past year I have saw some great BA fares on Skyscanner provided by Opodo. On checking Opodo it was then impossible to find the fare rules so I steered clear of them. Might be similar thing going on; WTP fares in particular were very attractive compared to exact same flights on BA site. Probably a great deal for anybody who was happy to fly WTP and dud not need any flexibility.

          • RussellH says:

            I have never seen an airline IT fare contract (never having held an ATOL), so cannot comment specifically on these, but I suspect the practice dates back to the 1970s/80s when flight bucket shops sold IT tickets bundled with the cheapest grotty hostel accommodation they could book in order to get around the rules. No one ever expected travellers to actually use the accommodation.
            Everyone knew that airlines were doing this to dump unsold seats at a price that people would actually pay. At the time, APEX tickets had not arrived on the market. All air tickets were fully flexible, fully refundable and fully re-routable. A travel agent’s ticket stock was almost as attractive to potential thieves as cash.
            I did sell rail IT (RIT) and motorist IT (MIT) tickets for many years, as part of holiday packages.
            These contracts threatened serious retribution for selling such tickets without bundled accommodation, and it was always made clear that ticket inspectors on trains or at car ferry check-in had the right to demand to see the relavant accommodation voucher(s) too, with potentially serious penalties for the ticket holders as well.
            The actual deal would appear to be very different from airline IT tickets, though – on Eurostar for example there was not a lot of price advantage – what there was was massively increased flexibility.
            So, when someone booked well in advance, you could get London-Bruxelles tickets out of the cheapest fare bucket at just a slightly lower price than the public price, but it was fully refundable until a month before travel, and IIRC, 50% refundable up to 14 days before travel.
            But TOs only had access to exactly the same price buckets as the general public – there were no dedicated buckets.
            All that said, I never heard of any customer ever being asked to show accommodation vouchers to a ticket inspector!

          • We have to be careful here before accusing Amex of underhand practices. Are we sure it was an IT fare or could it have been BT? The former has to have a package, the latter is an agent net that Amex would be allowed to sell without a package – but BOTH are restricted by BA in the same way. You may not notice the difference but it’s an important distinction if you’re accusing someone of behaving dishonestly.

          • Lady London says:

            I worked for a travel agent in the 70’s that was flogging IT tickets at 10pc or more off full price as a key part of their business. Huge profit margin and ahem… discounts. We also got some tickets ticketed by a branch abroad that made them much cheaper. Delays to receive tickets this way as all were paper then had to be sent or carried.

            We all knew which bucket shop for which route or airline. Bucket shops had back door tickets from airline or did same IT cheat as us. We employed one in those days to collect tickets from airlines we couldn’t ticket or from bucket shops. We employed a full-time messenger to deliver tickets to corporate clients and to collect them. Our official ticket stocks were dropped off by a De La Rue security van. De La Rue also printed money as well as blank air tickets. Lots of fraud going on with MCO’s written on the blank ticket stocks if they could be stolen or forged.

            And then along came Ryanair and easyJet who said we won’t have any paper tickets. The legacy airlines had to follow, lots of wheezes were stopped, more were added, the internet took off, then went mobile and the game continues. There’s always something new.

          • Lady London says:

            @Nick my wording was very careful. Thank you for the clarification about the ticket types nomenclature, this is useful.

            My point was it appears from customer reports that Amex is selling ticket types with unusual restrictions given their pricing and customers were not made aware of this. Some of those tickets cost a travel agent issuing them a fraction of the price of a ticket with more normal conditions. The price they are being sold at to the customer has apparently not indicated the more severe restrictions on these tickets to the customer and at the same time it appears customers are not advised of the restrictions.

          • Lady London says:

            Having said that, @Secret Squirrel, I’ve had full price Y tickets issued on LX/Delta to the US by a client’s greedy or incompetent travel agent, that turned out not to be upgradeable when Delta saw my VS Gold status and wanted to upgrade me to J on the transatlantic overnight flight back.

            The price my client had been charged was same price as fully flexible Y. Y tickets with reasonable restrictions were widely available at the street price for the route of exactly 50% of what that travel agent charged my client.

            I had another case where a colleague needed a last minute return ticket JFK-LON. The BA counter at JFK sold him a full price First Class return ticket for £6000. All fine except they also endorsed it no refunds no changes. That cheating meant he stopped flying out on Concorde every week, which he loved, and travelled on AA for the next three months. That sneaky behaviour by the BA ticket agent probably cost BA about £50,000.

            So @SecretSquirrel it’s always worth checking the fare conditions.

          • Rightly or wrongly, there is no requirement to disclose IT/BT fares (or the restrictions these impose, e.g. upgrade potential) to customers unless they specifically ask before purchase (at which point the agent is not allowed to lie). It’s really a case of caveat emptor.

          • Lady London says:

            Still sleazy @Nick not to make the customer aware of the conditions.

          • A lot of gloomy travel facts around here so I’ll raise a cheer for the glory days of my student years when both STA and Campus Travel sold one way tickets from just about anywhere to just about anywhere at hugely affordable prices that could be changed or cancelled for £25 I think it was but it might even have been £10. In those days a trip to either of those travel agents was always accompanied by both great joy and excitement 🙂

          • I think everyone in the travel industry knows that OTA (including Amex Travel) sell those group/tour/package airfares as standalone.

            But when it comes to shove, airline act in accordance to fare rules.

        • I might have been ‘conditioned’ against noticing it. When I was in London I was flying to the USA twice monthly and with the flights largely operating through hubs I just got used to looking at aircraft and travel class directly on every booking to see what exactly I was getting. Habit continued when I moved back to Edinburgh as most flights from here obviously involve connections too. ISTR something weird about AY flight though, back in days of airline network, travelbag etc they seemed to advertise business class fares that om closer inspection turned out to be the front row of economy or premium economy, or something like that.

          • Lady London says:

            Yes. Unfortunately you ve mentioned a new trend @BJ. Forgotten which airline was introducing new ‘micro classes’ recently even dividing up the rows in Y. Which of course means the seats that are left are even $hittier.

            Another airline has also started naming and selling extra classes in J.

            Oh wait…. this may be what BA has been doing for years with its charges for seat selection….but others now starting to market microclasses.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            I was under the impression from many sources that WTP was always upgradeable?

          • Lady London says:

            On BA, now, yes.

          • Shoestring says:

            BA’s WTP is always upgradable to Business? – with Avios or cash?

          • Unless it is a non-public fare.

          • Lady London says:

            Subject to a avios seat availability in J yes – avios onto Avios or cash tik. All classes wtp eligible. In y for up to up only the most expensive classes you can do this. Can also do J to F.

            Just as Rob said we hear of cases where customer discovered Amex had not issued standard ticket and that their wtp ticket was not of an upgradeable type. Customer hadn’t been made aware of this.

      • It is a term to watch out for when booking award flights using Alaska Airlines miles.

        • Lyn, do you plan to keep Alaska miles in light of OW news? I need some flights from TYO/KIX-BKK next year ahd am dithering between buying some for JAL or just settling for AAX or Scoot on cash.

          • BJ, it is a difficult question to answer. I’m glad Alaska is joining OW because I fly on them (very) occasionally, and will now credit those to a different OW airline for tier points towards maintaining status, rather than to Alaska.

            I tend to use my SPG/Marriot points to transfer to Alaska, but only once I know the award is available through Alaska, because their award flight availability tends to be more limited. The drop in earnings rate for the SPG credit card will limit this for the future though.

            I like Alaska’s policy of including a stop-over in one-way awards, which can be very useful, and also their calendar search and customer service. One thing I don’t like is their mixed-cabin awards, since they are always priced at the number of miles for the higher class. E.g. a short-haul connection in J plus a long-haul in Y would be priced the same as the whole journey in J. It is clearly stated, but makes searching for awards harder.

          • I particularly like the 25k J within Asia opportunity and have enough Bonvoy at the monent to cover one of those. I’ll probably buy to top up my balance to 60k as thst would cover the two I need and provide enough for a backup plan from Edinburgh to Asia in J on AY. However, recent changes in the way AY is releasing award seats in addition to OW implications is making me think twice. Anyway, whatever way things work out I hope it remains a good option for you, possibly even better than now.

  2. Emirates sells fares like this and actually they aren’t a bad option / compromise on something like London-Dubai-Singapore where the first sector is a short afternoon run. BUT you need to go into advanced options, they aren’t just mixed in the business search results

  3. I wasn’t tempted to investigate this offer but if you did bite and booked flights under the premium fare sale banner that do contain mixed cabins ie economy and business what are your options?

    Can you cancel and get a refund? Or can you move your flights to ones containing only business cabins and are there any charges for doing so? Is there a time limit for doing so?

    I ask because the advice to check you should check your booking is not really that helpful.

    Presumably having booked with a UK credit card you have s75 protection if Qatar charge you fees to change.

  4. The whole this debate is such a “first world problem”. No one would die if some of you guys will have to fly one leg out of four in Economy cabin due to your own lack of attention while booking

    • Think you are victim blaming. The marketing made people believe it was an all business fare so you can’t just blame people for not noticing on checkout.

    • While you’re technically correct you’re missing the point. The sale fares were advertising Premium Cabin only deals. It’s misleading advertising.

      Also you have the option of choosing to fly direct on other airlines in business class all.the way so you are comparing against a headline fare LHR to BKK that isn’t business all the way for the additional inconvenience of stopping in DOH. It’s just wrong. Qatar knows that too otherwise the fares would still be for sale on the website.

      • Agree ,
        If this was a website error , the advertised business class fares from yesterday would be available today . As it was, the business class fares were at the same price today as there were two days ago. There was no Real business class sale

      • Russ 😷 says:

        Well his excellency is always banging on about how Qatar doesn’t need to introduce a premium economy seat as all their seats are already premium. To be fair I waddled over to Kuwait from Doha on an A320 in the back and they’re ok for an hour flight.

    • Nobody would die if you leased an iPace and were delivered a golf either but what is the point you’re trying to make?

  5. Making your own choice about mixed cabin itineraries is one thing – I once flew one way first class and one way economy with Emirates as I waned to try the first class service, but couldn’t justify the cost. Deceiving customers to waste their time going through the booking process to then find out the headline fares were not for fully premium cabins is another thing. This site is supposed to be here to help us navigate the world of premium travel to find the best deals and use of points, not to catch us out.

    • We – and indeed the UK Qatar staff – were just as surprised.

      • The mixed fare flights had been showing up under premium search for a week, it wasnt something that just happened during the sale. At least they seem to have realised how bad a decision it was and pulled it.

        • Think also been seeing Qatar appearing on Premium Economy searches to Asia for two or three weeks. It is not unusual for mixed class results to appear. It can work in your favour for pricing on Lufthansa from UK airports.

      • Were they ‘surprised’ enough to offer refunds?

  6. What’s the rationale behind the Japanese deals? Do they do this every year? Presumably with the Olympic they’d be expecting bumper loads, no?

    • I assume a carrot to encourage people to spend their money in cities outside the olympic centres!

      • Yes, it is a move to promote tourism country wide. A lot depends on how the corona virus situation develops.

  7. World of Hyatt… never used before, any catches?
    If I buy 12k for $216 (£167) I can then use those to redeem for a room that is advertised as 12k per night for my date, no extra fees/taxes/catches? Makes a small saving on the cheapest cash rate I can find at £199 if it’s as simple as that!

    • Correct. Check reward nights are bookable though as some hotels play games with what a ‘standard’ room is.

    • Obviously you forego the earnings on the award stay versus the cash stay. Beyond that can’t see a problem, although it seems a bit of a marginal saving. (I did this once at a conference and saved a bundle on the posted rate at Hyatt…)

  8. RussellH says:

    OT: Amex / Morrisons Offer(s)

    When these offers first appeared I got 5% off £40 on my Rewards card and 7% off £30 on my BA Amex, which I used a week ago.
    Since then the 5% off £40 has ALSO appeared on my BA Amex, though I have not saved it (yet). Has anyone seen this happen before? And if so, did the two versions of the offer on the one card stack?
    12% off sounds quite decent!

    • Yes, happened with Harrods at Christmas – spend £100, get £30 and spend £100, get £20 back both on one card, so it was £50 back on £100.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Usually they stack

    • They do stack, have had it in the past year with Waitrose and Morrisons.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Save it and enjoy 12% off as they will stack

    • Shoestring says:

      don’t forget to go on Virgin Shopping site, look up Morrisons and enlist your card for the 8 miles/ £1 offer, giving you another 8% off

      plus More card (Morrisons loyalty card) for another 0.5% (or 1% on giftcards because when you spend them you get another 0.5%)

  9. Andrew MS says:

    Advice please on crediting points .

    I booked an SAS fare this week and was expecting to be able to credit to VS but no opportunity to do so on the SAS website so I credited to Etihad . Last week i booked another flight on SAS website so went back into this booking but no option to credit to Etihad or Virgin . I called SAS who told me , after 22 mins of hold , to call Etihad and also SAS no longer have a miles earning relationship with Virgin . I tweeted Virgin Atlantic who insist they do still have a relationship with SAS
    Can anyone help me out ? It s all getting a bit kafka.
    Thanks

    • After you have flown on your booked flights, fill in a claim form on Virgin Atlantic’s website and enclose scanned copies of the boarding passes and a copy of the e ticket. Virgin will sort it out for you. Takes about 4-6 weeks for the miles and tier points to be credited to your VFC account.

  10. Are there any issues/is it possible to pay my wife’s plat business balance using my personal Curve card linked to Virgin? Thanks.

  11. So I got their email last week showing ‘Business Class to Seychelles for £1600’ only to find that it’s business between LHR and DOH and economy (overnight!) from DOH to SEZ. I was more than irritated – isn’t this a kind of click bait? Highly and deliberately misleading surely? Giving the impression of a business class flight when it was only half business, half economy. So I have now unsubscribed from their emails… and TBH most of their recent ‘sales’ promotions have been poor value. However, I’d add that back in 2016 I did manage to get a genuine business class deal, London to Maldives return for £1650…sadly I have never seen anything as good from London ever since….

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Sure was click bait and saw this popping up on google flights for a few days when I was looking for flights.

      I find the real gem fares don’t appear in their emails and since the ME barricade they must have had to make more money from LH as the deals aren’t as strong. AMS – BKK £1k, BHX – Dubai for £900 and LHR – HKG £1.4k a collection of my best fares.

    • Lady London says:

      @Jon Arnold in the time since 2016 the UK pound has dropped substantially against all major currencies. Therefore air fares that stayed the same in other currencies got a lot more expensive for us paying in UK pounds. The UK government’s APD tax, which is a higher tax on air travel than anywhere else in the world, has also not helped.

      I’d lay off Qatar on this and give them the benefit of the doubt. They are being targeted unfairly by other Middle East governments who are using a thin political cloak for what are basically commercial attacks on Qatar to benefit their own airlines. I want to keep QR Business Class available in the market as it is massively causing standards to raise everywhere. So lay off.

      • So people should ‘lay off’ Qatar for sending misleading and bait and switch marketing because you like them. I see.

      • Shoestring says:
        • Russ 😷 says:

          Oh well if it’s on Wiki it must be true…..

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Being naive if you don’t think the other GCC Countries aren’t all at it.

          • Being naive if you think Qatar aren’t one of the worst offenders.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            That’s ok then the rest aren’t as bad as Qatar. My point is theyre all up to it.

            The fact Oman keeps dealing with Qatar means I’m inclined to think it’s not all about funding Terrorists, but i know nothing of what’s really going on behind closed doors. That goes for USA and UK too.

        • HeadForIdiots says:

          Hey Shoestring, how about you stick to finding deals for 2p off a tub of butter or whatever it is that you excel at and leave the politics and worldwide health issues to subject matter experts?

          • Russ 😷 says:

            idiot.

          • Lady London says:

            Just cos you’re not a polymath like @Shoestring

          • Shoestring says:

            thanks lol

            managed to get 5x of the Morrisons 2x ribeye steaks plus 1.2kg chips (£5) yesterday with my 20% off making it £4

            good looking steaks as well – Sunday lunch for moi & the boys coming right up 🙂

          • Shoestring is entitled to express his opinion as much as any of us are, and I think most of us here appreciate his tips far more than cowardly, anonymous, pointless insults like this.

            Jog on.

          • Well said Cat.

          • Lady London says:

            This place gets more like a school playground the more popular it gets.

      • I don’t think Qatar’s business will be impacted by whether Jon Arnold off the internet lays off or not.

      • Callum says:

        The Qatar blockade has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with helping their own airlines… That would be rather ridiculous.

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