On Tuesday night, there was an incredible deal to India on Emirates. How incredible? $450 roundtrip from Los Angeles to Mumbai. There were even better deals, including $258 roundtrip from Los Angeles to Hyderabad. Deals were available from most North American cities served by Emirates. However, they could only be booked on Vayama, who has a fairly unusual procedure for issuing tickets.This ultimately torpedoed my trip, along with everyone else who booked these low fares.
Last night, I received email from Vayama backing out of the deal:
We recently received your online booking request. Quality control has determined that your booking could not be processed at the fare that was originally quoted. Unfortunately, the airline was unable to accept the fare that was quoted earlier and as a result, the fare is increased now. This was an issue from Emirates Airline due to fuel surcharge was not updated on the ticket price. Hence we would suggest you to either cancel this reservation or accept the below fare. We are doing this to avoid any kind of problem at the airport.
The total fare now is $992.74 USD
please respond to the email or call us on 1.877.628.6452 at the earliest convenience if you agree to pay the new fare, so that we will go ahead and issue your ticket. If you have any questions please feel free to respond to this email and we will get back to you generally within 24 hours.
***Please note: fares are not guaranteed until the final processing is complete***
We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Customer Care Team
What was the root cause here? You have to have both a reservation and a ticket number in order for the contract to be complete. Vayama, for whatever reason, makes a reservation immediately upon booking, but manually processes ticketing. They likely do this to avoid fraudulent credit card charges. If an airline decides that a low fare was a mistake, it’s very easy for them to back out of the deal in this scenario. No ticket was actually issued at the time of purchase, hence there was no Contract of Carriage. So, Emirates didn’t legally have to honor the deal–and they didn’t. I will have to visit India another time.
UPDATE: I just received a phone call from Vayama indicating that Emirates will honor the fare after all. However, the ticket that was issued was a very heavily restricted ticket which is the same category issued for frequent flier tickets. This means that it likely will not earn mileage with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. However, at a 50% discount from the usual lowest fare, it’s still a very good deal to visit India.