Qatar Airways Price Discrimination by DeviceWhen booking flights on the Qatar Airways website, did you know that you could be paying more if you’re using a computer? That’s because Qatar Airways may offer significantly lower fares to customers that book flights on a mobile device.

We compared Qatar Airways airfares on a computer, versus booking on the airline’s mobile website or App. In many cases, the fares were lower on mobile devices!

In one example, we compared the cost of return Qatar Airways flights from Perth to London. On a computer, the cheapest Economy fare was $1,276.64. But exactly the same flights on a mobile device cost $1,234.64.

In another example, the lowest available price on a computer for a return Business class booking from Canberra to Nairobi was $7,529.38. But by booking on a smartphone, you could get identical flights for $7,088.38 – a saving of $441.

Price discrimination in action

Let’s use a Qatar Airways booking from Perth to Malta as an example. On a computer, the outbound flights for a random date on the airline’s website start at $633.41 in Economy class:

Qatar Airways website screenshot

Here’s the full breakdown of the various fare options on the desktop website:

Qatar Airways website screenshot

Now, let’s try the same search on the mobile website…

Qatar Airways mobile website screenshot

The same outbound flights start from $596.41 in Economy…

Qatar Airways mobile website screenshot

And as you can see, a lower price is available on mobile devices in the Economy Promo, Economy Saver and Economy Value fare categories. (Note that to earn Qantas points and status credits on Qatar Airways, you need to book an Economy Value fare as a minimum.) However, the mobile booking discount does not apply to Economy Flexi fares.

Qatar Airways mobile website screenshot

In total, you’ll pay $1,229.64 for the cheapest Economy fare on a computer…

Qatar Airways website screenshot

But the lowest fare on a mobile device is only $1,154.64…

Qatar Airways mobile website screenshot

The price difference is even more extreme in Business class. On a desktop computer, a round-trip ticket from Perth to Malta would cost $6,467.64:

Qatar Airways website screenshot

But by booking on a smartphone, you’ll pay a whopping $526 less for exactly the same flights:

Qatar Airways mobile website screenshot

Why are Qatar Airways flights cheaper on mobile devices?

Qatar does say in the fine print on certain pages of its website that you can get a 10% discount by booking on a mobile and using the promo code MOBILE2020. This discount seems to be applied to the base fare, but not taxes and carrier charges.

Qatar Airways website screenshot

Conveniently, this promo code seems to be applied automatically when you search for flights on the Qatar Airways mobile website or App. In case you’re wondering, this promo code does not work if you try to apply it on a desktop computer.

The mobile booking discount does not apply to all routes and booking classes. For example, you could book the below Business class sale fare from Manila to Rome (which is currently available) on Qatar Airways’ desktop website for exactly the same price as on mobile devices.

Qatar Airways website screenshot

Qatar Airways has been offering this mobile booking discount on and off for several years. We’re not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it is a good thing to be made aware of. If you’re planning to book flights with Qatar Airways, make sure you also check the prices on the Qatar Airways mobile website as you could save a small fortune!

In this case, the routine discount for booking Qatar Airways flights on a mobile device is at least fairly transparent. But as personalised airfare pricing becomes more commonplace, it’s already quite possible for other airlines to charge you a higher price based on where you live, your previous flight search history or even the type of device you’re using – without you realising.

________________________

Related Articles

Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer

Control your existing appliances with your smartphone! Using the S26 Wi-Fi Smart Plug you can easily convert your existing appliances into smart devices to be controlled remotely with your phone. Takes just minutes to setup! www.littlegadgets.com.au
Enhanced Internet Access and Security for Travellers Trying to access your favourite Australian websites when overseas only to discover they have been geo-blocked? Concerned about your internet privacy especially when using unsecured wifi? NordVPN will solve both these common problems. www.nordvpn.com

AFF Supporters can Login Now to remove all advertisements


Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

15
Comments

  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Human

I don’t think Qatar is the only airline that does this. I booked an Air France flight last year EDI-CDG. It cost well over EUR100 on its website and through other OTAs. I was on the verge of booking an EasyJet flight instead when I noticed the same flight was EUR77 via the AF mobile app, meals & luggage included.

Amanda

Expedia are the same, their prices are cheaper through the app on your phone than booking through the computer

Flying Mermaid

I discovered this in 2018 when booking J fares to New York. Couldn’t understand why fares kept changing depending which device I was using, Didn’t need to use a code. still think it is bizarre….

Melissa Campbell

I found this last year when booking 2 x BC seats Melb-Edi-Rome-Melb – saved a whopping $600pp compared to the best price a TA could get me (was booking through Qatar website on an ipad)

latitude

Unrelated to travel, but Ebay was showing me some cheaper items on a mobile device than it did on my computer. I didn’t compare prices of the same item but there were certainly cheaper items displayed on the mobile device. I guess it’s worth checking for all online transactions..

Renato

Makes sort of sense, if one assumes older folks are generally likely to be richer and less likely to use a mobile phone than youngsters.

Peter

Um, there are a lot of pensioners out there .. and they are hardly loaded.. Lot of retrenched workers over 45 not loaded either. Chances are these youngsters do not know what these apps steal or do. Hint. Do not by a pizza or airfare naked. The camera and mic are hot.

Timothy

Noticed this myself when looking at their prices this past year.

Oberonboss

That’s definitely something for both the ACCC same HREOOC to investigate.

Craig

It’s harder and less efficient to use a web site on a tiny screen, so it’s leverage to encourage you to use their app. Once you download their app, they hope you’ll keep using it and not look as diligently at other options. Apps are also full of tracking/spyware that isn’t possible on a browser, so they get to harvest way more information about you.

Peter

AirAsia does this too. Many people over 50 cannot use a teeny device,(and allow the app to slurp the contact list or more) so I choose to shun companies that openly discriminate. Malaysian Airlines seems to return poor deals and needs promo codes, so they have lost me for now. Airlines are missing a market segment by not targeting savvy purchasers with no bullship sales. In this digital ages, emails for type A,B,C and D category buyers is easy – but not done. Type A buyers never haggle – where type D buyers will only buy if they get lowest… Read more »

Daniel Djakovic

Its not just them. The other month I went to book a flight back to adelaide from Bali via VA website and the app gave me a much cheaper option by far…

Sumnerned

With rental cars there is a similar discrimination, though by phone brand. My son is an iphone user, I am android. When we do the same search, we get different results on occasion. His is usually better.

Person

Thats all well and good until their mobile app shows no fares and their mobile webpage does not let you book 😩 (although they show a lot more availablilty of different flights)

Matt

The information on the Qatar Airways site says the MOBILE2020 discount was only valid from 1-22 January 2020. So, does QR still offer lower prices when booking via mobile devices?