Muscat return airfare for Dh340? Read the fine print first

Local airline’s latest flight promotion has many guest members reaching for their credit cards, but the terms and conditions can give momentary pause

A promotional email by a local airline has guest members in a tizzy of excitement with return airfares that start as low as Dh340, inclusive of taxes.

But before you reach for that credit card just yet, the fine print that pads up the killer deal sheds light once again on the debate that, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

Bogged down with conditional discounts for VIP members, blackout periods, minimum and maximum stay durations, travel deadline by a certain date and additional surcharges as booking commission, the end result can turn into an 'experience' for those eager to avail such a promotion.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Dubai resident and avid traveller Roshan Talwar said: “Airlines come out with regular promotions, which sound great on paper, but turn into a futile exercise when attempting to book them.

“I visit at least two new countries every year, so I am always on the lookout for a new deal and a good bargain. However, my cub years taught me the importance of the fine print when booking anything.”

Talwar said that European airlines are notorious for such hidden charges and conditions to travel, “especially budget carriers.”

He added: “Once, booking a flight from Malaga to Ibiza, the airfare started out at €65 and ended up hitting €130 – double the initial price – with higher fare for weekend travel, extra for luggage, taxes, service fees, the list was endless.”

This reporter called the Abu Dhabi carrier offering the slashed airfares with Johannesburg, South Africa available at a 40 per cent discounted rate of Dh2,490.

Ringing the call centre saw the rep clueless about the email offer.
After being requested to contact two different numbers, we were informed the following: “The airfare quoted on the email is limited to exclusive clients, with a minimum stay of three days and return must be completed by September 30.

“Travel has to commence before September 25, with blackout dates during the Eid Al Fitr period on outbound from August 15 until 25 and inbound from August 26 until September 8.

“Above this a Dh50 booking charge is also added.”

Abu Dhabi resident Aditi Bhosle said: “I don’t understand what the big deal is? Naturally, airlines will not sell tickets for bargain prices during peak travel dates. At the end of the day, it’s a profit-based setup and they will do their best to sell seats on flights that are not full.

“Those who are seasoned travellers know fine print is always a must before any booking.”

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