Australians who thought they had secured flights to Europe at an extraordinary discount have been left devastated after their airfares were cancelled.
Etihad Airways blamed a “glitch in a data system” for the cheap fares between Sydney and Berlin, which were priced at $336 compared with the normal price of at least $2600.
“A number of tickets on Etihad flights were sold incorrectly due to a glitch in a data system supplied by a third party,” an email to customers who bought tickets said.
“We are working through bookings made and will be cancelling tickets issued and refund the amount you actually paid for the taxes back to your credit card.”
Customers caught up in the glitch and flight cancellations have said they feel “gutted” over Etihad’s decision not to honour the airfares.
“Having not seen my family since 2019, missed three funerals and three births in the family – this was finally my chance to go home,” one customer said.
“Flights have been so unaffordable recently so this was a dream come true … which now unfortunately due to Etihad’s decision to not honour these flights is not going to happen.”
The dirt cheap flights were accessed through Skyscanner, a site that allows travellers to compare fares from different airlines.
“Whilst the correct price was shown in the initial booking process at the time of payment, you were only asked to pay the taxes which was charged to your credit card,” Etihad told affected customers.
“We welcome you to make a new booking at the correct fare that should have been collected at the time of booking.”
The flights attracted media attention at the time due to how cheap they were, leaving customers “surprised they actually pulled the pin on them all”.
“I thought the good press would have been enough to incentivise honouring them,” one customer said.
It’s not yet clear when customers will be given refunds.
NCA NewsWire has contacted Etihad for comment.