Well, it’s official. The Department of Transportation is officially investigating the United “mistake fare” that occurred a few days ago, resulting in thousands of consumers purchasing sub $100 round-trip First Class airfares from London to the United States and beyond.
Here’s my take on this whole thing, for whatever it’s worth.
Should United honor the fare?
Yes, in reality they should. But, do I think thousands of frequent flyers complaining to the Department of Transportation will help anything? No. I think, if anything, this could kill future such deals, especially because this deal was a bit shady in that it required users to identify their billing address in Denmark, which most cannot prove to be true.
What can the DOT do?
Well, upon their investigation, they can force United to honor the fare. If this happens, many will rejoice as they would have spent a mere fraction of what such a ticket should really cost. Actually, the price of a First Class ticket during this sale was 1/10th of what an average economy class ticket costs, which is shocking.
Should I complain to the DOT?
That’s your call. I’d advise against it, simply because sending masses of people to complain to the official ruling agency that a $75 mistake fare should be honored, when most users reported their billing address in Denmark is not going to help future “real” mistake fares.
So, what should I do then if I shouldn’t complain to the DOT?
Suck it up. I mean that in all honesty. You win some, you lose some, and while it was fun trying to participate in this fare sale, there are some you’ll win, and some you’ll end up losing on, this being one of them. You can’t press every issue, especially if you plan on being in this hobby for an extended period of time. Plus, I can probably bet your time would be better valuable somewhere else, and not on the phone with the government. 🙂
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