Yesterday we saw one of the most exciting deals I’ve ever seen in the mileage world – 8 miles to fly roundtrip in first class to Asia using United miles. Before long a frenzy ensued as many of us booked away with Asia on our minds.
However, this “deal” is far from over. While some people have reportedly flown on tickets issued yesterday, United may very well decide not to honor these tickets. I’ve gotten a ton of emails from readers walking through lots of hypothetical situations, so here is my advice:
1) Relax. There’s nothing you can do at this point to help ensure your ticket is honored. I’m sure lots of tickets were booked with United so I’m sure senior management is meeting as you read this post to figure out how they will handle this issue. Some airlines honor mistakes and some don’t – only time will tell. Per an old Wall Street Journal article :
“UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. JetBlue Airways Corp. and Singapore Airlines all say their policy is to not cancel tickets even when a mistake is discovered, no matter how large the error.
“That is the right thing to do,” says United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski. In 2007, United honored a business-class fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to destinations in New Zealand that was missing one zero: it was sold as $1,062 plus taxes and fees instead of $10,620 plus taxes and fees.”
A positive sign, though far from being a sure thing that United will honor these tickets.
2) Do not book any non-refundable hotels or travel plans. Don’t up the ante by relying on your ticket to be honored, because it might not. Wait to see how this will be handled before shelling out any cash.
3) Don’t get angry. Good deals come and go and some work out and some don’t. The best way to come out on top is to have a positive attitude and not get too worked up – no matter what happens.
I hope United honors these just as much as the next mileage hound, but there are many factors at play here, including just how many tickets were issued (and thus what their financial loss was) and just how much negative PR there will be.
I think United will move swiftly on this and we will know by midweek how they are going to react (if at all). Hopefully, if they do decide to cancel the tickets, they will offer some sort of parting prize, like a discount code off future flights or even some miles for our troubles.
Whatever happens, I’m not going to stress about it, but I will be updating with the latest news since I do have several of these “cheap” award tickets booked.