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Fares on the web site not available over the phone?

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RooFlyer

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The other day I went to redeem a voucher and due to some prior issues that aren't relevant here, I had to call (the Plat line) to redeem for the flights I wanted.

I looked at the flights and fares I wanted on the Qantas web site (was more than the voucher so I would top up by cc) so was surprised when the fares quoted back to me by the phone agent were quite a bit higher than what I could see on the web site (Red-e-deal fare going the usual booking route on line). Talking only about the fare component, including taxes, here, not the phone booking fee etc.

I queried the fare being quoted, asking if the agent was able to offer the same fares as I could see on line. The agent regrettably didn't answer that query directly but just kept saying that the fare she was quoting was the lowest and seemed to be peeved that I was trying to get a lower fare. If she had said that they couldn't match the web fares, I would have stopped the process, booked via the web and used the voucher another time. But she didn't. After a bit of polite back and forth on both sides, she abruptly said that she was ending the conversation, she wasn't going to talk to me any more and she would 'see if a supervisor would talk to me'. (I then presumed that if said supervisor declined to talk to me I'd simply get hung up on.) I was a bit shocked at what she said, and can assure readers that there was absolutely no aggro on my part - just querying why the fare I could see on the web was different to that being offered (by quite a bit).

Anyway, supervisor came on the line, looked up Qantas.com and agreed that the web was actually offering the fare I was talking about (she seemed quite surprised) and after putting me on hold so she could 'ry to understand what's going on, came back and booked it for me. I asked again whether the phone agents could usually see the same fares as on line and the reply was along the lines of 'usually, but not always'.

That's a long way of asking ... in people's experiences, can the phone agents always or usually offer a fare that's on the web site, when the web fares are displayed as 'regular' ones (ie not some special section which might be titled 'web only special' or the like) ? I can't see anything under the Red-e-deal T&Cs that say its a web only price and the supervisor didn't mention anything like that.
 

markis10

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What sort of voucher, a credit from a cancellation or a normal gift voucher?
 

RooFlyer

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What sort of voucher, a credit from a cancellation or a normal gift voucher?
Ah, that was the earlier complication I alluded to .. but I don't see how its relevant to the base question of web fares vs phone fares; but I'm here to learn.

It was a gift voucher originally, and used for flights, but I had to cancel those flights, so the $$ went into credit. That's why I had to phone to make the re-booking. Again, I'm just talking about comparing the actual flight fares, not any re-booking, re-issue or phone booking fees, as we dealt with those separately (all waived).
 
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markis10

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Ah, that was the earlier complication I alluded to .. but I don't see how its relevant to the base question of web fares vs phone fares; but I'm here to learn.

It was a gift voucher originally, and used for flights, but I had to cancel those flights, so the $$ went into credit. That's why I had to phone to make the re-booking. Again, I'm just talking about comparing the actual flight fares, not any re-booking, re-issue or phone booking fees, as we dealt with those separately (all waived).
Its relevant because of the conditions of the voucher when cancelling, that often require the voucher to be used for a fare thats higher than the original one, let me explain:

1. You buy SYD-MEL rededeal for $89 and cancel it.
2. When cancelling it you will note a condition requiring the new fare to be equal or higher.
3. When looking for a new fare to use with the voucher, only fares will show that are $89 or higher. An ordinary booking will show the lower fares.

What you see online is irrelevant to what the call centre can see for the above reasons I suspect, had you been able to rebook the voucher online you would see what the call centre can see in terms of options.

http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/credit-vouchers/global/en

Qantas Credit Vouchers can only be redeemed on bookings: Where the new fare amount (which excludes carrier charges, fees and taxes) is equal to or higher than the original fare and the conditions of the new fare are met;
 
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RooFlyer

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OK, I see that, thanks that's useful. Had either the original phone agent or the supervisor mentioned that issue/rule, the process may have been a bit clearer and I would have booked these flights with cash and used the voucher another time.

They both went off to consult for lengthy periods during the discussions so I'm surprised the issue you raise wasn't brought up. (But wouldn't be the first time that AFFers know more than phone agents :) )

I say may because whereas the first booking (using the gift voucher) was one way, the second (using the 'credit voucher') was return and the second overall fare I saw on the web site was substantially higher than the first one. I suspect the rule you are quoting is there so in the event of a cancellation, then a re-booking, there is no remaining credit left when the re-booking was made, as it would just get too messy (the credit after cancellation has components of the original gift voucher and some top-up customer cash). In my case I was going to pay more than the credit in question, so maybe that's why they didn't invoke the rule you are quoting.

But going back to the general scenario, it sounds like phone agents should be able to match web fares where its not a cancelled voucher re-book?
 

medhead

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An excellent learning point is that it is often better to use cancelled flight vouchers when there isn't a sale. I've found between ADL and SYD, as an example, that the standard Y fare is $159, with sale price points at $129, $119 and $109. If I have a $119 fare voucher to rebook during a $109 sale it would usually offer me fares at $189. Wait until the sale ends and the same fare goes back to $159. Perhaps counter initiative but I recommend only trying to rebook cancelled flights when there isn't a sale happening.
 

travellerqff

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It's happened to me twice now, where I've used a gift voucher to pay for a flight on qantas.com by searching for the flight through the 'manage my booking' then 'find flights' option and has had a higher fare than what the normal qantas.com flight search is showing. A quick call to qantas has gotten my the cheaper fare.
 
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