Any regular traveller knows that airlines like to charge additional fees wherever they can, particularly when it comes to getting seats with extra legroom, which can sometimes run to hundreds of dollars on long flights.
But Qantas seemingly took extra legroom fees to a new level on the weekend, presenting a Melbourne comedian with a charge for almost $1 billion.
Comedian Dave O'Neil, who just finished his run of shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, just wanted to get a little bit of extra room for his flight to Perth.
But after selecting the extra legroom option, the Qantas app presented him with a fee for $987,999,999.
"Hey Qantas, all I wanted was extra legroom on my flight to Perth, very happy to pay for it but this seems a bit expensive," he tweeted on Sunday. By Monday morning, the tweet had been viewed more than 200,000 times.
"I just got on the app and went for extra legroom," O'Neil said. "I'm a big man and nothing infuriates me more when I walk down the aisle and see a Grant Denyer sitting in the extra legroom seats."
O'Neil tried refreshing the page on Saturday without success, then returning to the app on Sunday. But the exorbitant charge remained.
It wasn't a great beginning for what will be the comedian's first flight since the pandemic hit Australia.
"I'd normally travel interstate every couple of weeks for gigs, but I haven't been on a plane since March last year," he said. In fact, his fear of being caught out by a border closure or lockdown had seen him performing shows he could drive to around Victoria, even going so far as to drive to Canberra, rather than fly, for one gig.
Unable to get rid of the glitch, O'Neil bravely risked going ahead with the booking. Fortunately the charge went through as just $70 - the normal fee for an extra legroom seat on the route.
O'Neil enjoyed the response the glitch received on social media.
"It was hilarious, people were asking if I was buying the airline," he said.
I'm sorry sir did you accidentally click buy the plane instead of extra leg room, oh it appears you've clicked the "buy the plane" option a few times. Will that be cash or credit? 😂😂— PJ (@Philosophical46) April 18, 2021
They always lower the price by a few bucks so you don't feel like you're spending a full billion.— Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall (@Alasdairtb) April 18, 2021
A Qantas spokesperson said the airline was investigating what caused the glitch and also demonstrated a sense of humour about the incident.
"While we know that customers really value extra leg room, the price displayed was definitely a bit of a stretch," she said.
I’m assuming this is before the half price government flight discount kicks in.— Hipstergeddon (@hipstergeddon) April 18, 2021
If you needed that much leg room, you could probably walk to Perth.— michael winter (@mickalive) April 18, 2021