United NOT Honoring Mistake Fares from This Morning

This morning, View from the Wing reported an incredible Business and First Class sale (well, a mistake fare) from the UK to the US for as little as $85 round-trip. Most of the fares were able to be booked on United.com, by selecting the currency used as the Danish Kronor. I was unable to get in on the deal, since I was doing other things during the sale period – even still, I didn’t have any current plans or need to originate from the UK, but I guess that’s another story.

Well, it looks like those mistake fares will NOT be honored.

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Via Ben Mutzabaugh at Today in the Sky, United commented:

“United is voiding the bookings of several thousand individuals who were attempting to take advantage of an error a third-party software provider made when it applied an incorrect currency exchange rate, despite United having properly filed its fares. Most of these bookings were for travel originating in the United Kingdom, and the level of bookings made with Danish Kroner as the local currency was significantly higher than normal during the limited period that customers made these bookings.”

I figured these fares would not be honored, but this just confirms it. For those that acted quick, congratulations on your short-lived win! 🙂

Was it wrong to book these fares?

No, I don’t think so. I think advantageously finding airfares and pricing them is strategic, and is part of finding incredible deals.

Does United have any obligation to honor these fares?

No. Even with Department of Transportation rules, the airline filed the fares correctly. It was the currency conversion third party software company that messed up, so I think United has a fairly strong argument to keep these low fares out of the hands of consumers.

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What if I booked a ticket on a Star Alliance partners such as Swiss or Lufthansa?

Because the ticket is issued through United ticket stock, the ticket will  ultimately be canceled per United ruling.

What if I booked a ticket on a non Star Alliance carrier such as Qantas or Emirates?

While I didn’t see a way to book these tickets online, even though they showed the reduced pricing, I have not heard any rulings on how other airlines not related to United will handle the mishap. That said, I am not aware of anyone who was successful in booking a non-United ticket, as many other websites do not allowed online currency conversion.

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