Qantas says it won't introduce a no-frills 'Economy Basic' fare which would see passengers pay extra for meals and drinks, checked luggage and even inflight movies.
The airline floated the scheme in a survey sent earlier this week to members of its invitation-only Qantas Advisory Panel, calling out "Qantas flights between Australia and New Zealand" for the proposed "pay as you use" model.
However, following the proposal being revealed on Australian Business Traveller and subsequently picked up by newspapers, radio and TV outlets, Qantas moved quickly to deny it would go down the contentious 'buy on board' route.
“We often ask questions to get a sense of what the market thinks but that doesn’t mean we intend to do something,” a spokesman for the airline said. “Specifically on this question, we have no intention on unbundling our fares."
(Interestingly, this was more definite on ruling out the concept when compared to the airline's original statement to Australian Business Traveller, which merely said "we have no plans to introduce this at this stage.")
"Given we’re in the middle of rolling out free Wi-Fi, we are clearly committed to being a full service airline," the spokesman added.
Australian Business Traveller understands the same question has been repeatedly put to the Qantas Advisory Panel in recent years, but judging from Qantas' comments – influenced no doubt by strong protests against the notion of a stripped back 'seat-only' fare – this may now be off the table for good.