Hundreds of Australians who bought bargain A$336 round-trip tickets between Sydney and Berlin didn't immediately realize what was going on when Etihad Airways informed ticket holders on Sunday evening that they were canceling travel documents issued at the 'erroneous fare'.< /p>
Reports of heavily discounted fares offered by Etihad quickly spread across the internet on Thursday as passengers noticed that tickets sold through a third-party flight search engine cost about a tenth of the normal price.
Aussies hunting for cheap deals rushed to book tickets on one of the Chinese online services. Hundreds of them managed to redeem tickets before Etihad's revenue management team could block direct bookings on this website.
On Sunday evening, the Abu Dhabi-based airline finally wrote to passengers that nullifies all “wrong” tickets. Etihad said the tariffs were caused by “a failure in a data transmission system owned by a third party.”
In an email to affected customers, the airline wrote: “During the pre-selection process, the correct price was indicated, but at the time of payment, you were asked to pay only taxes and fees — only it was charged to your credit card.
Passengers have repeatedly complained in the past that airfare between Australia and Europe has become so high that they can't afford to visit friends and family they haven't seen since the start of the pandemic .
Some travelers have filed complaints with the Australian Consumer Commission in the hope that it will force Etihad to comply with the fares.
Etihad has made it clear that its conditions of carriage allow for unilateral cancellation tickets if an incorrect ticket price has been entered. In past years, such cases of cost confusion occurred, but in ours they have practically disappeared.
An Etihad spokesman said that it was “inappropriate for the airline to operate these flights under such conditions.”