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Yesterday, thousands of people booked an amazing mistake fare on the United Airlines website. Folks got Business and First Class tickets from Europe to the US for incredibly cheap prices, often under $50 1-way.
United Airlines caught wind of the glitch mid-morning and promptly shut down the pricing error (which occurred when folks set Denmark and Danish kroner as the country and currency of purchase).
Now, United Airlines says they will NOT honor the tickets, and that all reservations made with the mistake fare will be voided.
I warned that tickets booked through this deal might be cancelled, but it’s always worth a try because sometimes mistake fares ARE honored. For example, the Christmas Day error fares to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia were honored by Etihad.
What To Do Now?
It would have been great if United Airlines had let folks keep their bookings, but sometimes this happens. I count myself lucky if I’m able to book a mistake fare that sticks!
This situation was a little more disappointing because many of us were actually ticketed and confirmed before the deal was pulled off the website! Talk about getting your hopes up! 🙁
If you did book a flight (and were ticketed and had your credit card charged), you probably won’t be able to see your reservation anymore when you check United Airlines’ website.
I’m NOT sure how long it will take to refund your credit card. But most folks should still have the transaction in pending status so I suspect it will be removed within a few days.
That said, there are plenty of frustrated folks on Flyertalk who are filing complaints with the Department of Transportation.
Because their rules say that any ticket booked to or from the US can’t be changed in price after someone has paid for it in full (and many of us were ticketed and had our credit cards charged today).
My view is that this is all part of the ride in our miles and points hobby. It’s nice when these fares are honored, but we shouldn’t expect them to be. And there will always be more mistake and low fares to find and (try to) book!
It’s disappointing (but not unexpected). Mistake fares aren’t always honored.
If you were ticketed, keep an eye on your credit card bill and the charge should be reversed or disappear in the next few days. Some might consider filing a DOT complaint (but I won’t).