TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Oops! United Airlines owns up to error, lets free tickets fly

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Bloomberg News
Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 11:14 p.m.
 

United Airlines said passengers who bought tickets that were accidentally sold for free because of faulty reservations data will be able to use them for travel.

“United has reviewed the error that occurred yesterday and decided that, based on these specific circumstances, we will honor the tickets,” Mary Clark, a spokeswoman for the unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc., wrote Friday in an email. The company is not disclosing how many of the tickets were sold.

The $0 fares were only on the United.com website for “a couple hours” at midday Thursday and were not distributed via channels such as travel agencies, said Megan McCarthy, another spokeswoman. United's Shares reservation system did not cause the fault, McCarthy said without giving further details.

The carrier had to close the booking engine on its United.com website “so we could correct the error,” McCarthy said. The website was back to normal about 2:30 p.m. Chicago time Thursday, she said.

Many of the tickets cost $5 or $10 in total, suggesting that United was collecting only a mandatory 9/11 security fee, said Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare.com, a ticket research firm based in Dallas. Taxes and fees typically add up to $22 or more per ticket, he said.

Robert Stokas, 35, an attorney in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn, said he was on United's website when the erroneous data was loaded and bought six tickets for a trip to Los Angeles next June for $60 total.

“I assumed it was a promotion or something,” said Stokas. He said he is pleased that United will honor the tickets.

“They took the high road, said, ‘We made a mistake,' ” he said. “It may cost them some money on the front end, but it saves them potential litigation and bad press.”

A similar pricing mistake occurred in May 2002 when a fare sale accidentally appeared as a $5 round-trip ticket for about 45 minutes, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Comeau’s hat trick leads Penguins; Crosby reaches career points
  2. Pitt routs Kansas State to finish 3rd at Maui Invitational
  3. Fewer adults smoking, U.S. survey finds
  4. Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
  5. PIT wants non-passengers allowed past security to shop
  6. Pregnant woman struck by van in North Side dies; doctors save baby
  7. Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
  8. Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
  9. Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
  10. Trib kicks off annual effort to help feed families for Christmas
  11. Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has stent placed in heart artery
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.