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On Thursday, the frequent flyer community was abuzz with word that Delta’s website was generating extremely low mistake fares that included such gems as $47 for a roundtrip between JFK and LAX, and $98 from the east coast to Hawaii. The glitch was up for about two hours, and there was a veritable feeding frenzy on FlyerTalk before Delta discovered the error and corrected it.

While a lot of people were able to purchase these fares, the question, as always in cases like this, was: would Delta honor the mistake fares after pricing had been corrected?

Delta 757-200
People reported snagging coast-to-coast tickets for as low as $27!

Well, it seems like Delta is following the lead United set back in September when its website only charged customers the September 11 fee on many flights for a period of about 15 minutes, and will honor these fares.

Shortly after the error was corrected, Delta released a statement saying, “For a portion of the morning today, some prices on delta.com and other booking channels were incorrectly displayed, resulting in lower than usual fares for customers. The situation has been resolved, and the correct prices are being displayed. Delta will honor any fares purchased at the incorrect price.”

Pretty cut and dried, and I applaud the airline for responding quickly and, as I see it, fairly to honor the purchased tickets. Although Delta’s contract of carriage reserves the right to cancel tickets booked at erroneous prices and refund the passenger or reissue them at the correct fare, the DOT requires an airline to honor a purchased airfare, whether it was a mistake fare or not, so it seems like Delta might not have had much choice in this instance since these were actually airfares and not just fees or taxes on tickets.

I am glad to see an increasingly rare customer-friendly move on the part of US airlines, what with award devaluations, elite status changes, and other detrimental changes to frequent flyer programs, and I hope Delta takes note of the goodwill generated and considers future moves in this light.

Congratulations to all who managed to snag one of these fares – once you fly, tell us about your experience and where you travel.

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