There has been some weird maths on display on the Qantas.com booking screen for more than a few years  where it also shows Jetstar fares.

It has never been lucidly explained by either airline, despite being raised with them from time to time, and it was apparent again this morning as members of the extended tribe embarked on some comparative shopping.

For flights on Wednesday, 10 October, Qantas.com was offering an excellent range of $119 single fares between Sydney-Melbourne, versus an excellent range of Virgin Australia $99 fares on the same day and similar times.

However Qantas.com also purports to display Jetstar fares. For the same day, it was offering an early morning $89 fare on JQ501.

Qantas version of fares on Jetstar flight JQ501

But as illustrated below, Jetstar was offering the same flight for $65 , and making a best price of the day offer of $35 if the customer was OK with flying to Avalon instead of Melbourne’s main airport at Tullamarine, or wanted a good head start on a holiday drive along the Great Ocean Road and hitting the guest houses and discovering some good food secrets along the way.

Jetstar version of Jetstar flight JQ501, and others

The cheapest fare on offer for the day to Tullamarine was on Tiger, for $54.95.

Out of curiosity, we then checked Perth-Melbourne on the same day, Perth flights being of frequent interest to other branches of the tribe.

Qantas was offering the one way full service economy fare at $332, and a well timed daylight flight on Jetstar (JQ969) for $249.  Which also came with a so called Jetstar Max fare at $609, for nearly double the best Qantas fare, but without food, or entertainment.

Qantas version of Jetstar flight Perth-Melbourne

But on Jetstar.com.au, below, the same cheapest flight option was being offered for $219.

Jetstar version of Jetstar Perth-Melbourne fare, spot the time error too!

However Virgin Australia was offering $215, which even though it was for its cheapest fare level,  now comes with complimentary refreshments on its transcontinental Perth services, making it an excellent competitive offer compared to both Qantas and Jetstar regardless of whether your paid the Qantas Jetstar price, or the Jetstar Jetstar price.

Tiger however had the best deal of the day, at $134.95, making the misery of bone pain and loss of circulation almost tempting.

But what are customers to make of the difference between the Qantas version of Jetstar fares, and the Jetstar version? Even if Qantas was trying to include a checked bag fee, of $17, that doesn’t explain the difference.

On two occasions Jetstar has said that the anomalies were a result of the different booking systems they used. No really, they did. Which is the same as saying we have a booking system that will overcharge you, because it is ‘different’. However Jetstar has also said that the actual fare paid by a customer who books on Qantas.com will be adjusted to reflect the real Jetstar fare when the transaction occurs.

Which is, over time, like saying ‘we can’t even get our booking processes to work properly, but don’t worry, we won’t charge you the wrong fare.’

Jetstar has been contacted about this, again. Why does it persist in allowing its product to be advertised at two different values to the same buyers, and why this is good for the company and its shareholders as well as its customers?

The explanation will be displayed here when it is available, or perhaps in a new post.

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