MONTREAL — Hopper’s Secret Fares stirred up intense backlash from the travel agent community. Now Hopper has announced that it has ceased offering Secret Fares in its app, effective immediately.
The Montreal-based app developer announced in May that both Air Canada and WestJet were among the airlines ready to start using its airfare prediction app to unload some of their seats via ‘secret fares’ at discounts of up to 35%.
But just one day later, both airlines released statements to dispute the claim that they were offering these fares, seen by many as a slight to travel agents. Air Canada confirmed that it would no longer provide tactical fares to Hopper, while WestJet said it was “severing ties” with the company “due to the confusion this has created in the marketplace”.
Hopper has now come forward to clarify that Secret Fares was a “Hopper-specific marketing strategy and not a unique class of airfare”. It went on to say that airlines offer distinct fares to specific types of agencies, “in our case online travel agencies”, and that they are marketed under a range of different brand names.
Travellers will still be able to purchase published fares through the Hopper app.
“At Hopper, we truly value our airline partners and sincerely apologize for any confusion caused by the way the Secret Fares initiative was marketed,” said Hopper CEO, Frederic Lalonde. “In order to eliminate any further confusion around the program, we have removed all Secret Fares from the app and will not restart the initiative at any time in the future.”