When 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:
Here’s the full breakdown of the various fare options on the desktop website:
Now, let’s try the same search on the mobile website…
The same outbound flights start from $596.41 in Economy…
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.
In total, you’ll pay $1,229.64 for the cheapest Economy fare on a computer…
But the lowest fare on a mobile device is only $1,154.64…
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:
But by booking on a smartphone, you’ll pay a whopping $526 less for exactly the same flights:
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.
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 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.