I’m sure all of you heard about United’s mistake fares today whereby if you chose Denmark as the country on the website you were presented with ~$70 USD First Class fares from several European cities to the United States (and other countries as well). I for one did not blog about the mistake fare this morning because A.) by the time I woke up, the fares were gone and B.) just about every other miles&points blogger wrote about it.
In my opinion the deal would still be alive (or would’ve been alive much longer than it was) if everyone didn’t make it public. The mistake was discovered very early U.S. time and by the time I was able to check all of my social media around 07:30 in the morning Seattle time, the fare was no longer bookable and United removed the ability to change your location to Denmark. I personally believe the blogs killed the offer mainly because once one bloggers wrote about it, just about everyone else did and then the media began to pick up on the situation and everything went public.
Yes, I realise I am also a miles&points blogger, but I try to write about more meaningful things like how to actually use your points efficiently and make sure they take you far. Yes, I LOVE mistake fares, don’t get me wrong… but the more attention people bring to something, the quicker it will be pulled and no longer valid. I strongly believe mistake fares and other good deals shouldn’t be over-publicised and most of them (like this one) should stay in the appropriate place on the web, FlyerTalk. There is a section specifically dedicated to Mileage Runs and good deals and I have that forum page set to my homepage that way I can always check it multiple times per day if something valuable comes up.
Throughout the day there was tons of speculation about whether United will honour the fares or if they will simply cancel and refund them. Some people who booked their flights earlier in the morning were able to get them confirmed and ticketed, meanwhile others waited the whole day and were never issued a ticket.
Around 15:00 Pacific Time, United published the following statement:
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 stand 100% by United and agree with them entirely. They have every single right to cancel tickets that were booked in First or Business class for ~$70 USD, a ticket that normally costs $4k+ USD. Think about how much revenue they would lose if they were going to honour all of the tickets booked? Mistakes happen. Period. And not only that, the airline had their fares calculated correctly, the only party here at fault is United’s third-party currency conversion company that was somehow converting 7.000 GBP to 500 DKK.
It gets interesting… After reading the forum on FlyerTalk, virtually all of the people who booked the mistake fare are filing DOT (United States Department of Transportation) Complaints. Let me make my opinion known clearly: Filing a DOT Complaint in this case is beyond ridiculous. I mean seriously? People knew this was a mistake fare and that it probably wouldn’t be honoured. Now when United cancels their reservations they are madly submitting DOT Complaints because they didn’t get their $70 USD First Class ticket. I mean seriously people, you aren’t five years old to be acting this way! Life happens, mistakes happen, it is how the world works, nothing is perfect.
Leave DOT Complaints for legitimate issues. I would completely understand if you paid a ‘normal’ price for the ticket and then it got cancelled without a reason.. then, yes, file a complaint. Not in the case where you will be refunded your $70 USD. What’s funnier is some people were also charged an additional $80 USD or so for the ticketing fee and they still complain that now they were charged 70 + 80 USD and claim it isn’t ‘fair’. OMG Grow up! IT’S A MISTAKE FARE, mistakes are bound to happen!
Currently I’m just enjoying reading the thread and seeing how people are posting ‘DOT complaint filed’ and complaining how #UnitedSucks. Oh people, grow up!