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United Asia Award Ticket Update: No Go

by on July 17, 2012 · 72 comments

in United

Late yesterday afternoon,  United’s posted their initial response on Flyertalk in regards to their 4 mile award sale I posted about on Sunday. I’m not really shocked and don’t plan on fighting this, but my reservations do still show “This reservation has been ticketed and confirmed”, so I hope to hear from them directly soon.

Hi Everyone, over the weekend, we discovered a united.com programming error that allowed customers to obtain Mileage Plus travel awards to and from Hong Kong for as little as four miles roundtrip per person, substantially below published levels, which we disclose to customers. We have since corrected the error and will be in contact with customers who have tickets issued at the incorrect award amounts. Customers will be given the choice to redeem at the correct mileage amount or re-deposit their award with all fees waived. We regret any inconvenience this has caused you, and appreciate your understanding.
Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines

 

I know several commenters likened getting in on this mistake/deal/whatever-you-want-to-call-it as theft. So…

Do you you think taking advantage of mistakes or "too-good-to-be-true" deals is unethical?

View Results

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  • Mooper

    It’s not unethical because the airline/retailer still has full control of the inventory and can retract the mistake (less the rare situation where someone departs immediately), just as a customer can retract their mistake free within a reasonable amount of time when they make one. Taking advantage of these mistakes can actually help pressure companies to be more diligent about details in the future and is not akin to running off with merchandise that accidentally had a “free” sign placed in front of it, as the company isn’t actually losing the merchandise/service if they just reverse the transactions.

  • Ericlipkind

    Here is my thought — I am flying on United next week to Vegas and the fare is more than double what it had been for years (nearly $700). I guess my choice was not to buy it. In the case of this deal, again my choice was not to buy it but I did. On my purchase, I was given 24 hours to cancel if I wanted to with no penalty, I guess one could say United should have the same right, however they didn’t necessarily exercise that across the board within 24 hours and make cancellations. That doesn’t seem right. Also, legally, isn’t there offer and acceptance? An offer was made, and I paid for tickets as my credit card was charged for the fees.

    Granted, this was most likely an error, but too many by United in recent weeks. This is on top of the 15,000 miles that was deducted from my account last week due to some audit of a promotion they are running and they said the miles would be back in my account by July 31 if they were proper.

    As well as the inability to redeem their business Reward One points online before the program terminated on Jun 30th.

    United should have proper controls in place before they roll things out. If they offer a deal and someone grabs it, it should be honored. They are ultimately responsible for their systems working properly. Otherwise, how do I know that their system priced my $700 fare to Vegas correctly? Can I say to them it really should have been $350 like it always has been?

    A touchy situation and I could see their point, but they should see the counterpoint as well.

  • Guest

    while I know many are focused on the ‘I didn’t create the mistake, so I’m not at fault for getting in on it’, are correct, you have to think of the bigger picture with a mistake like this. At 4 miles for the flight, this could cost United major money to make good on and also cost one or multiple employees in the technical department their jobs. So while people think, let a company take a hit for good will sometimes, they company might be smiling to it’s customers, but might be having termination talks with some employees for the costly mistake.

    And for all those that say that hate blogs for talking about this mistakes, the fact that United posted the response on flyertalk should be their first clue that even talking about it there brings it to the attention of the airlines. So stop with the bloggers ruin all the fun talk.

  • Josh_brooks

    I don’t think it’s unethical to take advantage of deals like this, but when the deal goes south, I think threatening lawsuits and being outraged is a little extreme. And anybody that made non refundable purchases based on this ticket is just stupid. I do hope that situations like this help advance passenger rights though.

  • Josh_brooks

    The $500 BA airfares to india last year should have been honored as that was believable. Or the Palau first class for $3000. But nobody thought this deal was the least bit legit.

  • Adams

    If we are looking at “deals too good to be true” as unethical, then what constitues a “deal too good to be true”? What if United says next week that a fare I bought for $136 is a mistake and it should really be $453? To me, the $136 seemed like a good deal, but not too good of a deal. But for United the $136 seems like too good of a deal. If you go around barking about deals being unethical, then should I just have ignored the $136 price and thought “that’s just too darn cheap. I’ll wait for a more reasonable price before I purchase”?

  • markus

    “But nobody thought this deal was the least bit legit.”

    My confirmation numbers and etickets sure look legit. The charge on my credit card sure looks legit. The receipt showing two tickets for 8 miles and charges look legit.

  • Mitch Cumstein

    I am scheduled to fly out this afternoon on United flight 117 on the 4 mile mistake award. I have never flown in first class before. My itinerary has not been canceled but after reading this I am getting a little nervous. Should I proceed to the airport if United does not contact me in the next few hours? Can they let me fly outbound and cancel my return? Serious advice only please.

  • Smiths

    Yeah, and the follow-up emails I got from United asking if I wanted help in finding a hotel in Hong Kong looked legit :)

  • well_hung_jury

    To anyone upset that the HKG party is over, remember the Frugal Travel Guy’s sage advice: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

    Forget about this one and move on to the next deal. That’s what Rick would do.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JNFSXN4ANC7RH5VQCOEJGFUJZQ Nick

    I certainly don’t think it’s unethical to get in on these “deals” or mistake fares or whatever you want to call them. However, I thought Brian’s post yesterday was spot on. When you see something like this that is obviously a mistake, you have to expect the airline to cancel those tickets, and if they choose to honor them to prevent loss of goodwill, that’s just gravy. My limited understanding of contract law leads me to believe that to truly dispute this and try to force United to honor it (even though there was an offer and an acceptance), you’d need to show “justifiable reliance” on the fare as accurate. Let’s be honest…4 miles for a TPAC flight in first class is definitely not something that you could honestly say, “I thought it was legit!”

    (However, I’d love to have a real lawyer weigh in, as I may be TOTALLY off-base.)

    The bigger gray areas are the low fares that are much closer to “sales” than “mistakes.” If you find a business class TATL flight for $600, is that a deal or a computer error?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JNFSXN4ANC7RH5VQCOEJGFUJZQ Nick

    I would be STUNNED if United canceled your return after letting you fly today. I’d wager a lot of money that stranding a customer on a mistake fare because they let them fly the outbound would be absolutely against the DOT’s regulations. I’d also bet that United will be contacting you soon, as they’d probably try to prioritize those with impending departures (and recognize that those who already flew the outbound are sunk costs).

  • Zheng87

    Keep us posted…

  • HC

    The same Rick who took to FlyerTalk last night to respond to United by claiming age discrimination?

  • Josh_brooks

    Yeah. And I’m sure you thought a $10,000 first class ticket for less miles than an iTune was a normal promotion.

  • Ken

    Brian,
    I feel your poll question, “Do you you think taking advantage of mistakes or “too-good-to-be-true” deals is unethical?” is too broadly scoped. I think you should have asked if people felt that expecting United to honor this 4 mile first class transpacific flight would be unethical.

    I also feel that paid flight errors and award redemption errors are two different beasts. I can’t wholy justify my feeling as to why I view the two as such, but I do feel that revenue flights are earned, whereas frequent flyer points are a bonus or privledge. I will not focus on revenue flights but rather frequent flyer programs.

    Frequent flyer programs have wonderful perks: great partnerships (codeshare or transfer partners), free credit card sign up bonuses and an ability to buy miles with bonuses that make miles both easy to accumulate and make miles rather flexible. This also means so many people have earned miles without ever taking a revenue earning flight. (Yes I realize that these miles generate immediate cash for airline companies and improve their balance sheets so there is a positive for the consumer as well as the airline companies.) I would hate to see a rapid deceleration in devaluation to these perks if an egergious error as the 4mile + tax award booking were forced to stand.

    It would have been wonderful “goodwill” if United allowed 1 trip to be honored per account at the discounted rate (couples would have flown for 1/2 price, a wonderful value).
    Since we know some people booked multiple flights, if United’s hands were tied and forced to honor an exponentially higher number of flights there could be serious backlash and repercussions to reduce the potential future impact of corporate errors such as:
    reduce codeshare flexabilty
    eliminate the ability to buy miles in fewer than 25,000 mile increments (I could have purchased 1,000 miles and had enough miles for 250 round trip flights)
    put a “x” week hold on redeeming purchased miles
    do away with large credit card sign up bonuses
    (the scariest thought) only allow redemptions for the account holder or account holder and minors at the same address.

    Frequent flyer bonuses and the frequent flyer community are both great, as others have mentioned we win some and we lose some, please just don’t feel overly entitled to things.

  • Antignos

    Mitch-

    WE all want to know if you make it. Can you keep us posted?

    Paul

  • Ilipschitz

    Can someone identify how this deal was located in the first place? Did everyone who purchased these tickets log onto the deals section and see an offer for first class tickets for 4 miles, or did they come upon it accidentally where they were trying to purchase a legit ticket for 160,000 miles only to find out at the last second that they were only being charged 4?

  • Mooper

    It won’t cost United much, as it was a clearly invalid fare they can retract. Had it not become widely known, it could have persisted for much longer “under the radar”, allowing more people to depart before it was discovered.

  • Dan

    Who cares what Rick would do?

  • http://twitter.com/Geraldent Gerald Lim

    I am already here in hong kong ! opps ! it worked fine for me ! lets wait and see what happens next, especially during the return.

  • arcticbull

    This is quite surprising — as I mentioned on the first post I was quite confident this would be honored. Canceling or raising the price of flights after ticketing is against the DoT regulations, no matter what currency was used. Not to mention they previously agreed to honor mistake fares. This does remind me of what KE did with the last mistake, however KE was forced to revise it’s position by the DoT and re-instate cancelled tickets. This should be interesting!

  • cane

    I get it too, it was a mistake, but none the less their mistake, not our, we didn’t rig the system, nor broke any law, so do you think that their way of admitting of an “error” is the right one?
    do you think that a “Corporation” like United should “talk” to their customers thought a post on a “forum”, and saying “Hi Everyone”. ?

    They have our emails, they could (still haven’t in my case) talk to us directly, you “appreciate [our] understanding” they say but I’ll appreciate if they, at least say sorry, in my business if I make a mistake the first words coming out of my mouth are “I’m sorry”.
    And if make a mistake pricing an item, and next morning my employee sells some of those items, and after a while he realizes that something’s wrong and calls me to let me know of my mistake, what do i do?
    do i put a post on a blog or try to contact those costumers and see if they understand my position?
    Botton line’s the costumers paid what they were asked to paid? mistake or no mistake? aware or nor aware of the error?

    It’s not the customer responsibility to act as the company’s watch dog.
    Those customers went thought the right channels, they booked the flight, they asked “how much for that ticket?”
    “4 miles”
    “really? ok… here they are.”
    “thanks for choosing United have a nice flight”

    I don’t know, to me it comes don’t your “values” as a person, and in many ways in this country corporations are consider humans. I just demand a treatment as such.

  • thepointsguy

    Agree- if you fly on the outbound, I’d be surprised if they stranded you in Asia. Keep us updated!

  • Jason

    My own personal qualms about the ethics of trying to take advantage of this deal is what kept me from booking tickets. Even if they had been fully honored, I would have felt horrible knowing I booked first class tickets for less miles then I currently get buying ANYTHING on my Chase Freedom card. There is just something I felt wrong about taking advantage of a glitched award flight. Had it been a dollar error, and my first class tickets were $1000 instead of $10,000; that I wouldn’t feel as wrong about, especially since the order of magnitude of the error wouldn’t be nearly as much. (this error was so out of line it was ridiculous; award tickets for literally 0.005% of what they are normally. They would have to price out $20,000 round trip tickets for $1 to make such a drastic error) but also because ANY real dollar revenue earned from a ticket is at least defraying the costs of the flight being operated. Either way, this was an expected reaction imo.
    Also, I don’t think the DOT regulations apply to award tickets, only to a paid ticket. While we view miles and points as a form of currency, its doubtful the DOT does. I believe that is what UA is saying as well.

  • guest

    Again, I think we all agree, that we recognized that that was a mistake, (error as “they” called it) but their error non the less, as a corporation, if they recognize the possibility of a “human error” happening now and then, I’m sure they have a safe net (insurance coverage) in place for situations like the one witness on Sunday.
    And if don’t have a safe net in place, well they should, and in the mean time hire some robots to write their codes, human make mistakes.
    And for the “termination talks”for that error, “technically” and sarcastically, if don’t honor the tickets there are no losses, no problems, nothing to see here kind of situation.
    But again, this can go all they way to the “responsable” for this is the person who hire those IT.
    and the sad part is that even if they don’t honor some people will loose their jobs.

  • http://twitter.com/skyvan Fielding

    We only get 24 hours, why should they get more?

  • Mahbubur Khan

    I was not able to login to my mileage plus account this morning. Tried several times. Anyone with similar situation?

  • Mooper

    A customer who *accidentally* enters the wrong data, time, airport is easy to straighten out quickly. Hundreds of customers who *purposefully* try to take advantage of what they know to be an error and illegitimate offer could reasonably take a bit more time, especially as United is being good in wanting to contact each customer individually instead of cancelling wholesale, and they posted their stance publicly in the channels where the exploit first spread (online blogs, forums) just over a day after the incident. Reasonable, don’t you think?

  • Mitch Cumstein

    I decided to go for it. I’m at the airport with 2 hours to go. Boarding pass in hand and bags checked. My whole body is shaking, partially from excitement and partially from nervousness. Now I know what it must feel like to be a body packer. I keep looking over my shoulder for a couple of goons to tackle me to the ground and arrest me for abuse of an amazing deal. Will keep everyone updated.

  • Mooper

    It has nothing to do with the DOT regs. Once he’s gone outbound, he will be relying to his financial detriment on the original offer of 4 miles to get him home. This trumps the fact he knew that it was an illegitimate fare when he purchased. For someone who hasn’t yet relied on the offer to their detriment, it is quite difference. United can make such a person whole by simply refunding.

  • Eddie

    I think everyone is jumping the gun here. I find it very strange that United’s first announcement or comments on the subject would be on flyer talk. It would seem to me we all assume that the post is authentic and coming from United management. I have yet to get an email from United, a call, or any direct contact via any official channels. In addition, people are flying. My reservation still shows ticketed and active. You would think they would be able to just void out all of these in the system at once if that was the plan of action. I do not think it is as simple as everyone thinks. There are many issues here and I for one plan to just wait for any real contact regarding my reservation. I have not heard about ONE person being cancelled or denied boarding since the event. Once we hear about people being denied boarding, maybe that changes things. I also think this could be a trial balloon and also seeing if people react and cancel on their own. That is what they want. I for one do not know how this will play out but until notified directly by United, I will continue to assume my ticket is valid. I suggest everyone do the same and wait until we hear something official and real, not a blog post. You would also think United could mass email all Mileage Plus members regarding the mistake or even segregate those who were ticketed. So, this is not over yet. I would wait for something more real than a flyer talk post.

  • http://twitter.com/mgalicki Mike Galicki

    I find it completely entertaining to read the flyer talk forums and see the people who think they are entitled to their 4 mile first class flight.

  • Smiths

    Completely agree. I wonder how many people booked the deal and have no idea of the “official announcement” on FT? I’d expect more than a blurb on a blog at 7p.m. to explain that I’m not heading to China.

    But, the entire United.com site is down now – in the middle of a work day, no less – so we’ll see how this shakes out.

  • UnitedCrewman

    you are so full of it.

  • Eddie

    United site is back up and my itinerary is still there, seats still assigned and still says ticketed with same 8 miles and 72 dollars for fare on the 2 tix. Again, I would wait until we hear direct from United not some post on FT

  • Dan

    If you’re that nervous, have fun when you get to immigration on the other end… and I’m only half kidding. There’s a very real reason body packers get caught, and a lot of it has to do with how nervous they appear to immigration agents.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JNFSXN4ANC7RH5VQCOEJGFUJZQ Nick

    So based on the time of your post, it looks like you may be on board or even in the air? If so, hope you enjoy the trip!

  • Antignos

    Mitch have a great trip! Make sure to check back and let us know how it went!

  • Mitch Cumstein

    Haven’t made it on the plane yet. They announced we’re being delayed for almost 6 hours due to weather. Unless heat delays planes, it can’t be the weather here because it’s nice and sunny. I am waiting in the United Lounge right outside the gate. Going to have a dram or two of whiskey to help steady the nerves.

  • StockShooterSoBe

    “Mitch Cumstein”

    = Caddy Shack character

  • Sathish

    hmm… the comments are great, so do the DEAL. But wait a minute. Is that really a DEAL or an ERROR ? I would say ERROR since the search displays 140000 miles and then it priced as 4 miles. Then it is clearly an ERROR.

    Should United honor this? Though i was not on the deal, I would say YES (my personal opinion). If the fares are standard for all destinations like TRAINS and BUSES why would you end up with these kinds of issues? United or Delta or any major airline… the FUEL is purchased in advance for a fixed fee. So why can’t you set the fares flat.

    Anyway as a frequent flyer, i would strongly support my fellow flyers and urge united to honor these tickets atleast the folks who had taken the flight already should get back home without any issues.

    Thank you all
    Sathish

  • FourN6Doc

    This was obviously a computer glitch and everyone that took advantage of this “deal” was aware of that at the time. Jason had previously posted about how large this magnitude of error was — it was like ~50,000 : 1. One of the examples showed a 225K mile ticket costing only 4 miles.

    Think about it another way, if I went to the car dealer and purchased a new 50K Mercedes on an AMEX black card but the dealer accidentally only charged me $1 am I entitled to the “deal” when the sticker price clearly showed the price as $50k? Or will they be able to charge my card for the additional full amount?

    If my checking account has an error in a direct deposit (which has happened by the way) and shows that instead of a $100 deposit I got $5,000,000, can I argue that the computer error should be resolved in my favor and I get to keep the 5 million dollars?

    Or how about this, If I am transferring some money between my bank accounts and converting from Euros to Dollars and the receiving bank makes an error in converting my $100 transfer and I see that they converted it to 5 million Euros — Do I get to keep it all? Hey it wasn’t my mistake and it was the bank’s computer that screwed up the conversion factor, right. The balance was showing as a valid “available amount” in my account. What if I went and spent some of this money, would the bank be able to claim this money back from me? Of course…

    In this award ticket case, the United computer glitch had to be discovered by clicking through the booking process. In the screen shots taken by Brian, I can clearly see that the correct price is originally listed (160K or 225K miles) but then there appears to be some computer error when the booking is made that changes the amount of miles to 4. Everyone that booked this deal clearly knew there was an error causing the booking system to miscalculate the amount of miles required during the final step. I agree with viewing these type of mistakes as a lottery ticket type deal. You can’t expect the airlines, or any company for that matter, to honor this type of deal when it clearly was a computer glitch. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon one of these “deals”, once it is announced/broadcasted among all these different blogs you can virtually guarantee it will not stand.

    Hey suppose I found out some glitch in my bank’s mortgage system where it showed me that my balance was only $10 (instead of 500K) and I then make the $10 payment and the system now shows that my mortgage has been paid in full. I should be ecstatic, right?
    1.) I would never expect this to be ultimately honored by my mortgage company
    2.) I definitely wouldn’t be broadcasting this mistake so hundreds of other people would also take advantage and then definitely bring this to the bank’s attention.

  • Pete M

    Not unethical to try, but also not unethical for such mistakes not to be honored by the airline, so long as it is done promptly.

  • MIKE

    I did not get in on this which I figured would not be honored but kinda wish I did.

    I think they should have to honor just one booking per person. If I wanted after 24 hours I have to pay for the right to change a ticket, maybe they can buy my ticket back from me for 2 K each and call it a day cause thats my fee for when you want me off a flight

    Good luck to all I am eating popcorn.

  • http://twitter.com/Geraldent Gerald Lim

    Just so everyone knows ! Air China had the same problem last week offering tickets for free ( better than 4 miles ) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-07/13/content_15577414.htm . Problem was resolved quickly but maybe United should ask them for help :)

  • http://twitter.com/Geraldent Gerald Lim

    I was on UA117 one day before you. Same method. Im in HKG but i got delayed really bad cause of “heat” issues too. Something about the tailwinds and the heat fengshui were not in sync. Took us 2 hours

  • http://twitter.com/skyvan Fielding

    What if the error was in their favor, would they rescind it or even give the option. The answer is no. That is the core reason why this is wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/skyvan Fielding

    Actually no. If the error had been in their favor they would’ve been “Tough luck” but when it is in the favor of the customer, those very same customers who keep them in business, they suddenly care about errors. It’s egregious.

  • Antignos

    Still holding?

  • Zheng87

    Would United take miles out .. if you have enough miles to cover or better yet put your account into negative?

  • Kbagel
  • Jimbo

    Legally speaking with the offer and acceptance/contract law though, I believe that had the ticket gone through, it would have been unjust enrichment, and you don’t want to pay restitution on a First Class ticket.

  • Adams

    That is crazy! If China Air is honoring their similar mistake…

  • Josh_brooks

    Their slowness to address this issue definitely bodes well for you lottery ticket holders….I’m sure they are making their moves carefully.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=546949923 Terry Hall

    Ethics? Was it against ethics last week when I booked RT on SATA, BOS to LIS for $226? I’ll be in Lisbon on the 24th of September, toasting my good luck with a glass of Port. What is the cutoff on the ethic thing here?

    Personally, and this is my opinion, I have no problem booking a RT to HKG from NYC for 4 miles and $35. Should those of you ethically challenge people hate me, so be it. If this goes through, I’ll be watching New Year’s Eve fireworks at Victoria Bay. If not, I gave it a heck of a try and will do it again in an instant.

  • FourN6Doc

    So you’re saying if the airline system accidentally charged someone say 200,000 miles for a redemption that was only supposed to cost 140,000 miles, then they wouldn’t refund the extra 60,000 miles? I believe they would if it was an error. The difference here is that we’re talking about award travel. I seriously doubt anyone would overpay much for a paid fare, especially with all the airfare comparison sites (kayak, orbitz, etc…) out there. Remember we’re talking about an error on the scale of many thousands to 1, i.e., only 4 miles being charged for a trip that everyone clearly knows is at least 140,000 miles.

  • FourN6Doc

    I definitely wouldn’t fault anyone for trying. Survival of the fittest in action… However, the airline’s computer programmers have to evolve to keep up with this.

    The main problem, as I see it, would be the significant devaluing of United points (ala Delta SkyPesos) if these type of problems weren’t quickly resolved. Right now you can find pretty decent awardsaver availability with United and this could quickly disappear if the airline was occasionally handing out first class tickets for 4 miles. Airline points are quite similar to a currency in this way — they can become significantly devalued (which is bad for everyone else) if these type of computer glitches were not properly policed.

  • Michael

    No the question is: Would they return the miles if you said nothing?

  • Lovecrusing

    No one broke any law that I know of. My question is why did the Points Guy even post this as it was so over the top and wrong. He only hurts his blog and I hope he has learned something from this. As I am a big fan.

  • Kabobbledog

    I’m new to this points game and I also want to know where people find these tickets. Where does a newbie look to find point deals?

  • GlobeTrotScott
  • Tea4twosie

    Mileage Plus has specific program rules that we agree to in order to participate and it is quite clear there is no way that DOT would apply.

  • Tea4twosie

    They sure can. You need to read the Mileage Plus Program Rules.

  • Sandy
  • arcticbull

    Sorry that’s not true. The DoT rules apply when you have an eTicket. They govern the sale and execution of air transportation that touches the United States – period. Doesn’t matter if it’s an award ticket, doesn’t matter if it’s a cash ticket. If it touches the USA DoT rules apply.

    As for the specific agreement, I’m surprised you don’t know this, but just because a company foists an agreement on you (such as the contract of carriage which governs your ticket, your Mileage Plus agreement, or hell even your cell phone contract) doesn’t mean that everything in there is legal. And if it’s not legal, then that part of the agreement cannot be enforced.

    From the DoT FAQ:
    A contract of carriage provision that reserves the right to cancel such ticketed purchases or reserves the right to raise the fare CANNOT LEGALIZE the practice described above. The Enforcement Office would consider any contract of carriage provision that attempts to relieve a carrier of the prohibition against post-purchase price increase to be an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41712.

    Remember this in the future! These types of blanket agreements often contain sections which are illegal and therefore not binding. This is one of them :)

  • Tea4twosie

    They aren’t raising the fare. People actually agreed to the published price when they submitted the reservation. The fare was never published for 4 miles. The error came up in the processing. The Transportation Dept. specifically commented on fares ‘when there is money involved” and the cash portion paid was not for fares but taxes which will not be changed. Furthermore, everyone KNEW it was incorrect.

    Seriously, anyone that expects the airline to honor these tickets is very short sighted as they will have to make up for this loss one way or another and eventually everyone pays.

    It is bad enough that people knowingly promoted and pursued this knowing full well it was wrong but now that they are crying to the transportation dept. just takes the cake! Getting bargains is one thing but expecting something for nothing is appalling and to waste taxpayer money trying to get the government to intervene is off the charts. This goes way beyond unethical.

  • arcticbull

    Whether the fare was published is irrelevant. The confirmation screen showed a price in combination of cash and miles. In this case it was low.

    I don’t think it will cost as much to honor these fares as you do. They were award tickets meaning inventory they weren’t planning on selling for 10K but for miles. Miles are generally carried on the books at ~0.6cpm. So they didn’t take 1K off the books. Actual cost to carry these people — since they were planning on not selling these in the first place (have you ever been into a UA F cabin? nobody there pays…) the actual cost of this per ticket is the *incremental* cost to carry someone — probably $1 in fuel, $100 in catering. Not to mention most people booked these for the hell of it and weren’t going to pay to fly anyways, so it’s not even a lost sale.

    I refer you back to the DoT:
    A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer. Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a “mistake

    In this case the full amount agreed upon was 4mi + $50. Any attempt to increase the mileage is an increase in that price. Any attempt to cancel the tickets, per the excerpt above is an attempt to raise the price. And both are forbidden by the DoT.

    Your first argument made the least sense — really, do you think DoT rules don’t apply to award tickets? You know the rules that govern your safety aboard a flight? Come on. You didn’t get in on this fare and neither did I but I still think they should honor the tickets.

  • Tea4twosie

    We shall see how it plays out. As far as DOT rules not applying to this snafu, I said nothing about the safety rules. It is the FAA that sets the rules governing safety issues.

    As far as the amount agreed upon, one could argue the correct price was shown when the screen was shown that they clicked on to confirm the ticket. The incorrect mileage was not part of the agreement but an error on the final confirmation.

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  • Dgb3rd

    For those of you that are being good sports and not whining about the correction – good for you. For those of you that expect something for nothing and are tying up customer service (while others with legitimate gripes get delayed further) – shame on you. You are the types of morally bankrupt ethically challenged babies that would keep a found wallet. Must be a bunch of democrats (who always seem to expect something for nothing)

  • as

    I think it is unethical but airlines do a lot of unethical practices to customer every day so it is pay back time go for it. if we buy a not refundable ticket and by accident enter the wrong date and two day later find out and call the airline to fix the mistake for sure the airline will charge you a 200 penalty, you make a mistake you pay for It they make a mistake they pay for it.

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