A frequent flyer was quoted what might be a record-breaking price for an extra legroom seat on a domestic flight between Melbourne to Perth after Qantas asked customer Dave O’Neil for $987,999,999 for the privilege of being able to stretch his legs on the near four-hour flight.
The Melbourne-based stand-up comedian posted a screenshot of the quote that appeared in the ‘manage my booking’ section of the Qantas website confirming the airline wanted to charge O’Neil nearly one billion Australian dollars for the upgraded seating option.
In response, a Qantas rep on the airline’s official Twitter channel responded somewhat calmly: “Hmmm…does look slightly over the normal price,” before offering to look into the matter in a private message.
The quote may have been a computer glitch but the joke wasn’t lost on Dave or other Twitter users who have taken the opportunity to poke fun at Qantas.
“The Qantas computer has just accidentally showed you either how much Qantas scammed out of JobKeeper, or is already in the red for,” one user joked about the tough year the entire aviation industry has faced.
“I’m sorry sir did you accidentally click buy the plane instead of extra leg room, oh it appears you’ve clicked the “buy the plane” option a few times. Will that be cash or credit?,” another Twitter user wrote in response.
“For that you’re you’d have to buy it 10-20 times,” another pointed out.
A Qantas spokesperson has since clarified that O’Neil was only charged a mere $70 per flight for the extra legroom seat.
“While we know that customers really value extra legroom, the price displayed was definitely a bit of a stretch,” a spokesperson for the airline said in an emailed statement. “We’re investigating what caused the incorrect amount to be displayed.”
The incident occurred on the same day that a long-awaited trans-Tasman ‘travel bubble’ opened between Australia and New Zealand – allowing people to travel quarantine free between the two countries.
In the run-up to the travel bubble opening up, one online booking site reported a 1,570 per cent surge in searches for flights to New Zealand.
More than 630 Qantas and Jetstar employees have returned to work on the back of the travel bubble and the airline says tens of thousands of bookings have been for flights between Australia and New Zealand in just the first few days.
“Quarantine-free travel has been almost 400 days in the making,” commented Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce on Monday. “Reopening these flights across the Tasman is a very important milestone in the recovery from the pandemic for Australia and New Zealand but also aviation and tourism.”
“New Zealand was Australia’s second biggest source of international visitors before the pandemic. Today, it’s about to go straight to number one.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.