On Wednesday evening I wrote that United partner and Star Alliance member TAP Air Portugal was selling roundtrip business class tickets between several major U.S. cities and much of Europe from $245. That was an amazing fare, even if it required travel by end of September and the duration of European travel restrictions remain uncertain at this point.
Considering American Airlines intentionally sold $479 roundtrip business class tickets to Brazil recently, and the TAP Air Portugal fare was filed as a ‘special fare’ that had to be booked by today, it seemed reasonable to think this was just a cheap fare and not a mistake.
In other words once TAP had decided to operate their flights, and with current restrictions they knew those flights would be mostly empty, they’d take whatever revenue they could get rather than taking off with no passengers. That’s because the revenue they’d earn exceeded marginal cost.
And TAP Air Portugal intentionally sold $590 business class roundtrips to Europe recently and was known for cheap business class fares even before the pandemic.
Still, when I wrote about the fare on Wednesday, I offered that “I would not make non-refundable travel plans around this for a few days, just in case the airline gets a case of seller’s remorse.”
That’s exactly what has happened. TAP Air Portugal is cancelling tickets and refunding purchases.
While unfortunate, they acted in a timely manner, so I view this one as no harm, no foul on their part.