Guest

United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 3:53 am

This is an interesting article:

$25 to Paris? Forget It, United Says

CHICAGO (AP) - Want to fly round-trip to Paris for less than $25?

United Airlines inadvertently listed such eye-popping fares on its Web site for nearly an hour last month - then disappointed customers who snatched them up by saying it wouldn't honor them.

A United spokesman blames a technical error for the misleading offerings at www.ual.com that lasted 55 minutes on the evening of Jan. 31. The result: International fares such as San Francisco to Paris for $24.98, with similar deals for flights to Hong Kong and other cities.

A total of 143 tickets were sold at the near-giveaway prices, United spokesman Chris Brathwaite confirmed Thursday.

United later informed the ticket-holders that the fares that looked too good to be true were just that.

``We certainly apologize for any misunderstanding and inconvenience it may have caused to customers,'' Brathwaite said. ``But ... it was a glitch. We fixed it and we advised the customers, and we gave them some options.''

United has offered to find the lowest possible fares for the customers. But that's not sitting well with customers like Eric Bescher, who snapped up a $27.98 ticket from San Jose to Paris and expects United to honor it.

``If they don't come through with a goodwill gesture, I'm going to dispute it,'' he told WSJ.com, The Wall Street Journal's Web site.

United's spokesman said customers should have realized ``you don't get something for nothing.''

``We expect reasonable people to realize it was a mistake,'' Brathwaite said.
--------

My opinion is that United should just eat their mistake and fly the passengers to Paris or wherever. What gives the airlines the right to charge us $100 change fees for our mistakes and get off scot free for theirs? Any opinions?
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 4:48 am

The mistake was so quick in duration, not that many people could have taken advantage of it, so I think UA should honor those tickets.
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 4:55 am

I agree, UA should have quietly honored these tickets.

It's bad PR for them and they'll regret the negative publicity that will come with the lawsuit(s).
 
goboeing
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 5:31 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 5:26 am

United should have given the 140 some people the flights for what they paid for. It's not their fault that United made a computer glitch. Besides, at about $30 a person which seems like the average from the article, 143 people would cost under $6,000. What that to United? One first class seat? Probably. That's my opinion.
Nick
 
imkeww
Posts: 676
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2001 1:48 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 5:43 am

It's clear that United does not want to set a precedent here. Invariably, there will always be web-associated glitches with online booking. Thus, the most prudent decision to would be do eat the bad PR and deny the tickets. Besides, the 99% of all air industry related PR is bad and bash-happy anyway, so this too shall pass within a matter of milliseconds. =P

$6,000 for 143 is *a lot* of lost United revenue. If those people had just paid even regular discounted coach fares of around $300-400 each, we're talking a ballpark of 60K-80K. That is certainly a large sum, even for a multi-billion dollar corp. such as UAL.

Overall, I think the press release could have been handled more tactfully, as in UA could have used a less "consumer is the bad guy" tone, but spokesman Brathwaite gave one salient statement: "Everyone knew that the fares were unreasonable."

Think of a Mom-n-Pop shop (rare nowadays)... would you cry bloody murder if 'Mom' accidentally wrote $1.00 as the price for a $10.00 shoe sole? I think not. You know it is a mistake. Although you may refuse to see the UA situation vs. this as similar (because UA is an 'evil' mega corporation), the same principles (ETHICAL BUSINESS principles) still apply.

-imk
 
DCA-ROCguy
Posts: 3894
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 6:09 am

Ditto to Imkeww's entire post. Honoring web-glitch fare mistakes would set a very bad precedent. Customers who clicked onto such fares should have figured that something was wrong. They should have called the airline's web customer service phone# for confirmation before buying tickets and expecting that they were off to Paris for $25. Good grief, $25 is less than a WN or JetBlue introductory fare on a short-haul flight.

But United should indeed have been more gracious in their press release announcing their refusal to honor the bookings. Big Air has an amazing talent for coming across as arrogant and insensitive.

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 6:24 am

While I agree to some extent with Imkeww, I would argue that "Mom" of Mom&Pop fame would not charge you a $100 exchange fee if you decided to exchange the shoes you bought for another pair. I think you reap what you sow. If we, as passengers, make the "mistake" of buying a fare that later drops 50%, and we want to get the lower fare, we're forced to pay fees and jump through hoops. Now United is in the position of having made the mistake of selling a fare that is too low, and wants to make you pay a higher fare. I think in principle they should be forced to swallow the fare difference and give you a $100 change fee for your inconvenience. A ticket is a contract between you and the airline. Why should passengers be bound by the contract, and the airline not?

And I disagree with the revenue calculation -- most of these tickets are for people who probably wouldn't have decided to go if the fare were $300 or whatever. So unless the plane is completely full and these passengers start bumping other farepaying pax off flights, the impact on revenue is probably minimal. And since these 140 pax are split among many different flights on many different days, I think the probability of them being on totally full flights is probably very small.
 
ctbarnes
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Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 2:20 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 6:46 am

If UAL were more careful about such glitches, there would not have been a problem. They should have caught the glitch before it got released on the itnernet. The company's response I thought was arrogant and tactless. It smacks to me of "Not guilty by reason of insanity"

Frankly, I think they should swallow the mistake and honor the tickets-if nothing else for good PR. Perhaps one of the disgruntled lot will complain to the DOT or better yet the FTC.

Charles, SJ
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
zrs70
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Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2000 4:08 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 6:55 am

I disagree with the majority.

It's obvious that UA made a mistake. While they should make ammends, we, too, should be adult enough not to take advantage. I would hope that if I were the seller, my loyal customers would give me a break on my mistakes.
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:01 am

Imkeww, no, I would not cry bloody murder if my mom put $1 as the price of a $10 shoe- unless she sold it as such. In that case, the deal is done, and it has to be honored (and I have to "fire" my mom).

Unless UA wants some *really* bad publicity, they'd best honor the binding contracts they entered into with those 143 people and give them their flights. Then they need to fire their webmaster.

I say that if those people don't get their flights, they should sue. UA entered into a contract with them to provide travel when they bought those tickets, regardless of computer glitches. Unless UA wants to lost the $60-80K *and* legal fees, they should get their butts skyward and swallow the loss.
 
BostonBeau
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:55 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:05 am

Geez....what a great opportunity United is missing for a promotion. They could get on all the news and talk shows with this. It would be such great publicity to honor the fares and make a big media deal out of it.
 
Superfly
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Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:08 am

I am sure that was a publicity stunt.
Nice try United but I will be flying Air France to Paris.
I know it's still a part of Star Alliance
Bring back the Concorde
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8101
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 8:28 am

United are assholes. If people thought they might get a ticket to Paris for $25 the site would permanently be inundated with hits - what a great way to create traffic! It barely costs the airline anything during off peak months when planes are half empty anyway. It's quite lawful to charge all the taxes on top of the silly fare, so the cost to the airline to carry these pax is virtually nothing. They should do this on purpose every few months - keep up the pretence of it being inadvertant, what a great publicity scam. Pretend to be an honourable and moral organisation by always honouring these "accidental" fares. Brilliant!

Instead, what could have been a publicity bonanza has instead turned into yet another catastrophe for this awful corporation. I wouldn't fly with them for all the tea in China, they can make their money without my help.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
gmonney
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2001 2:59 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 12:26 pm

Up here in Canada the law maybe different but basically the Canadian Business law says something like this:
The Price tag is only a reference, when the customer bringing the product to the counter (ie. internet user clicking on the $25 flight) it's ONLY AN OFFER. The person at the counter (sales person) has the right to accept this offer or not. The example in school was a book put on the the sale table, when it was not on sale. By the customer bringing it to the counter the salesperson can identify if its the right price or not. So if this was in Canada, there would be no legal obligation for the airline to award the customers the tickets. If I were United I would cut the person a deal somehow, split the difference, give two half price tickets, this ticket is half price then the next time that the customer takes a flight its half price. The customer is getting a free flight, United is still getting money, and who's to say the person will never fly again with that carrier if they give this flight for basically free... Mistakes will cost major companies a lot of money.

G
Drive it like you stole it!
 
PVDtoGO
Posts: 14
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RE: GMonney

Fri Feb 16, 2001 12:45 pm

I can understand that point of view GMonney, but what happens if the cashier accepts the price, charges the credit card, and gives a receipt for that amount; as the Untied site has done. Several people have statements showing the low fare charged, and have e-tickets.

If the cashier has made that much of a mistake, what happens then in Canada? It just seems to me, that if we have made a mistake in buying a flight, lets say for the wrong day; we can't refuse to honor the charge, we have to abide by the rules of contract. If that means paying the penalty to change, so be it.

I believe the airline should be held to the same standard as the consumer. Up until the credit card is charged, yes, correct the problem, but after that...a sale has been made....no? Sorry about the bad grammar!! Thanks for listening.

G'nite all!
 
gmonney
Posts: 2076
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RE: GMonney

Fri Feb 16, 2001 12:52 pm

Not too sure about how the e-tickets work, but it seem like its automatic and the credit card is automatically charged, how safe is this? I know that the internet is getting better, but I would prefer to conduct business with a person, thats personal, but soon I may have to start. What if the computer screws up...like this situation, doesn't United have any measures to prevent these type of screw ups?

Well, if the person has a receipt for the purchase, its a done deal, not open for discussion, they are flying for the $25 or so dollars, smooooooth United real smoooooooth!!!!

Thanks all,

G
Drive it like you stole it!
 
Golfhaus
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2000 2:18 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:11 pm

Not necessarily... an airline has a right to deny boarding to any passenger for any reason. Including not paying enough for a ticket.

Imagine for a moment that this wasn't just a 55-minute glitch where some wires got crossed. Imagine, instead, that it was an 18-hour hacker attack. Word spreads that, not United... say, America West, or Frontier, or JetBlue, is the victim of the assualt. Word spreads, and before the airline can figure out how to combat the problem while still maintaining a web presence, they have issued hundreds, maybe thousands of tickets at tremendous losses. Are they still liable? Do they still have a duty to honor those tickets because their security wasn't up to snuff? What if accepting those tickets at that loss is substantial enough to cause a financial crunch that cripples the airline?
 
ctbarnes
Posts: 3269
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 2:20 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:23 pm

Golfhaus:

If the posting could be traced to a hacker or deliberate act of sabotage for which UAL was not directly responsible, then I think the company could reneg on the purchased tickets; if the mistake was something beyond their direct control, it would not be their fault. The yardstick is whether company was acting in good faith.

From the sound of the original post, the mistake was their own fault, although admittedly we don't know for sure. In addition, the tenor of their response, however, makes me want to side with the passengers even more.

Charles, SJ
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
Golfhaus
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2000 2:18 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:49 pm

Charles,

The problem with such an arrangement is that there are some people who will NEVER believe an airline, whatever it says. You know the type. There's no such thing as a weather delay, they're crew problems that we're SAYING are weather delays so we don't have to give them anything. I once took a bag claim for a woman who was absolutely convinced that her bag didn't arrive, not because she had EIGHT MINUTES to connect because her inbound was delayed, but because someone pulled her bag to steal stuff out of it. And an airline's website security is ALWAYS fine, but when someone screws up, they like to blame it on hackers. I'm complaining to the FAA on you, and I'm NEVER flying your airline again.

Similar question: Today's my last day working at Some Cheap Airline. I'm getting laid off at 5:00 this afternoon. So I take our ticket stock and plate about 300 tickets for my friends, family, random people ("Hey buddy, want a free ticket? It's my last day.") Is SCA obligated to honor those? Of course not. Accidents happen, and an airline is not obligated to honor anything forged as a result of an accident.
 
Alpha 1
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Raddog2

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:59 pm

Why do people like you talk about everything as "rights"? UA, like any company, has every "right" to run their business as they see fit-in this case charging a change fee, like you mentioned. And they have every "right" as a business to correct an error that was honestly made. I hope UA doesn't honor those fares.
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:02 pm

I think there's a big difference between a situation caused by criminal activity on the part of a third party, and a situation caused by the airline's own poor management of its website. For instance, I shouldn't be liable for contracts on which some guy forges my signature. However, I should be liable for contracts which I sign, but which I just hadn't read. And I think this case is more similar to the latter than to the former. United admits that it made a mistake. Now it's too cheap to pay the consequences. Tough cheese. United never cuts passengers any slack. They almost never waive any penalties. They never offer hotel room when stranded in Chicago when cancellations are due to "force majeure" events and therefore not subject to Rule 240. If they want to live by the contract, they need to die by the contract. They shouldn't expect passengers to be happy when they try to weasel out of their contractual obligations.
 
Alpha 1
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Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:12 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:04 pm

I'm reading here and on other message boads that thse people should sue if it isn't honoered? Think of how stupid that sounds!! Suing over a $25.00 fare? You're lawyers fees for one day will be 50 times that amount. If one of these people sue over this, their idiots.
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:14 pm

Alpha1, sorry I didn't see your post when I posted mine. I don't begrudge the airline for making people pay penalties and enforcing the rules. If they want to do business by not cutting anyone any slack, fine. But then they shouldn't expect the rules to only apply one way. Selling someone a ticket IS signing a contract. They made a mistake, but they signed the contract anyway. It shouldn't be the customer's duty to happily allow the airline to unilaterally cancel the contract in order to save the airline from the consequences of its own stupid mistakes.

I actually looked this up -- in certain states, if a store clearly posts the price of a product, it must sell you the product at that price. For instance, if a box of chocolates has $10 posted on it, the store must sell it to you for $10 -- it cannot do a bait and switch and tell you that the price is incorrect and you have to pay $12. It would be a violation of state law. And that's even before you pay for it! So I'm not so sure that United has too much of a legal leg to stand on.

Like I said, everyone knows it's a mistake. But when United starts waiving my penalties and offering to be flexible with rules, maybe then we should show them a little flexibility and let them cancel the tickets.

And I'm not going to ask what you were implying by saying "people like you."
 
Golfhaus
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2000 2:18 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:18 pm

"United never cuts passengers any slack. They almost never waive any penalties. They never offer hotel room when stranded in Chicago when cancellations are due to "force majeure" events and therefore not subject to Rule 240."

You say that like it's a bad thing.
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:28 pm

It might be a bad thing, it might not. Don't get me wrong -- I'm certainly not expecting such treatment. Nor am I saying that the airlines necessarily should waive my penalties and give me hotel rooms. I don't go around demanding such things every time I'm stuck, and I do sympathize with CSAs who have to deal with argumentative passengers who DO demand such luxuries. But I AM saying that if United wants to play by the rules, fine. Fly these people to Paris. United shouldn't be able to declare that the contract of carriage only works one way because they need to cover their ass on a stupid mistake.
 
747firstclass
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 2:45 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:30 pm

Just a few more thoughts that came to mind. Its my understanding that this web fare sale was for a time when the flights from SFO-CDG were for a period of time when the advance bookings were inded quite light. So what is UA out by not doing the honorable thing and honoring the tickets? I have bee told that if the credit card has been charged then that opens a whole new set of laws. UA could indeed be in trouble with the credit cards cos.Also in light of the pending merger with US, one would think that UA would want to put the best foot forward for the govt. to get approval for the merger. UA has emphasized that it will benefit the consumer. What better time to try and prove your point? UA has a lemon on their hands so why dont they try and make lemonade?
 
Golfhaus
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2000 2:18 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:38 pm

747firstclass,

Because it sets a dangerous precedent. They accept the $25 fare during a time when bookings are light; fine. What happens when the same thing happens again during the Thanksgiving season? Planes full of people flying LAX-ORD for $25, during the time the airline is expecting to make most of its revenue for the year? I can see the accountants shivering now... oops! There goes those millions you were counting on to assimilate US Airways.
 
Guest

GMonney

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:51 pm

We here in Australia also have the same Act....the Trade Practices Act.

Yes, a price tag is only an offer to sell. BUT....Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act here stops what you say from happening. It covers deceptive and misleading conduct.

Now whether United want to admit it was their mistake or not, here in Australia they would be guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct.

They have entered into a legally binding contract with a number of people. United Airlines had at the time the opportunity to deny the person to finalise that contract, but thru their own fault, they managed to finalise those contracts.

This is a simple case of contract law, which does not differ from Australia, UK, Canada and America, because the basic principles are all the same.

What United are hoping for is that a number of people who managed to sign this legally binding contract will not realise that they have rights as a consumer, and will accept what United says, and book a higher price ticket.

The guy who is threatening to take them to court, obviously knows what his rights as a consumer are, and good luck to him....because he is right.

United can cry all they want about a computer glitch...but let this be an expensive lesson for them. They will be in future, more careful when posting their fares to the net, so that consumers can not sign legally-binding contracts which will only cost the company more money.
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 3:16 pm

I would also say that letting United get away with not honoring the tickets also sets a very dangerous precedent. Let's suppose one day United finds that it hadn't predicted so much demand for one of its flights. It sold too many cheap seats, and now the plane is full and there are gads of people willing to pay full fare to get on the plane. United now goes to the pax who paid the lowest fares, and says that their yield management software failed to predict high demand and therefore the low $200 fares were a "computer glitch." It says that it will not honor the tickets as a result, but "will find the lowest possible fares" for the cancelled pax. "Ooh," coos the United agent, "sorry, the lowest possible fare for the selected flight is a full fare $2000." Perhaps United will waive the $100 reticketing fee, perhaps not. What do we do then?
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 3:46 pm

Raddog2...you're right.

BTW, where have you guys been? This is not the first time an airline has goofed on a fare quotes. And its not just limited to airlines. Maytag was in a similar situation several years ago just as every department store whose ever placed a newspaper advertisement has probably had to honor mistakes.

Ultimately, each company honors the mistake as a good will gesture. I would be surprised if United choose to do anything less than honor these ticket purchases.
 
BostonBeau
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:55 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 9:07 pm

Well, the bad publicity for United is about to start: the TODAY show teaser at 7:00 was "A $25 fare from SFO to CDG?? Don't count on it!". I still think United could have gotten such a big publicity bang out of this that they were foolish not to take advantage of it.
 
BostonBeau
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:55 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Fri Feb 16, 2001 9:38 pm

Well the spot on TODAY was just on. United declined to have a spokesperson appear. One funny thing though, United has agreed to waive the $100 change fee when rebooking people at the correct price...LOLOL
 
AA@DFW
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:06 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Sat Feb 17, 2001 1:22 am

United really screwed the pooch on this one.

I can't believe they are making such an ass of themselves! They should just HONOR the tickets and accept their mistakes!

Instead, no, they're making ridiculous statements like "we won't charge the $100 change of ticket fee"... UAL could have easily got some good publicity out of this, but they make themselves look like such asses sometimes!

UAL needs some new public relations people!

AA@DFW
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Sat Feb 17, 2001 1:28 am

I think that they messed up and should honor thoes tickets. The people didn't do anything wrong. The airline did and they should pay for it.
 
airsicknessbag
Posts: 4626
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:15 am

If anyone cares, here´s how German law would treat that case (which might happen if one of the would be pax was German):

1) United put fares offers on the web - that´s just a not legally binding invitatio ad offerendum.

2) People book - they accept the "inviation to make an offer" and make a legally binding offer.

3) United accepts that offer by debiting the credit card or sending a confirmation or whatever.

4) United realises "uh oh, we´ve made a "mistake of expression" (i.e. you didn´t express what you want to express); they have the right to contest the contract on those grounds.

5) The contract is null and void ab initio.

6) The pax has to return the ticket, United has to return the money.

7) The pax is entitled to damages; but only for the so called "negative interest" or "damage through relying on the validity of the declaration" i.e. if the pax has booked a hotel at the destination or arranged for transportation to and from the airport OR has to book a higher fare when a lower one was available at the earlier time (example: you book that 25$ fare when you could have got a 300$ fare; one day prior to departure UA says "no no" so you have to book the full fare 2000$ -> you can claim 1700$ damages) and so on.
7a) One exception: if UA can prove the pax recognised the mistake or would have had to recognise it, he gets no damages. But this is next to impossible, I´d say. It´s perfectly imaginable this was a promotional offer like BA´s 10 GBP Concorde LHR-JFK-LHR flights.


So from my German point of view UA did the right thing, legally speaking. It´s a PR disaster anyway and seems to be handled in a very unprofessional way.

Daniel Smile
 
BostonBeau
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:55 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:49 am

Well, I prefer the policy of my local supermarket. If the price on the scanner is different from the price on the shelf or item....I get the item for free. If a company is going to use technology to sell, then they had better get it right or be willing to pay the consequences. These potential passengers saw what they thought was a promotional or sale fare and purchased it. One of the people on the TODAY show this morning said he had been in touch with his credit card company about it. The credit card company said that if United insisted on more money for the ticket at check-in, then to pay for it...and the CREDIT CARD company would then contest the change in price. We're not talking about millions of people here...only 143. If United were smart, they would have given these peoples free trips to Chicago and have a gala event to present them with their cheap tickets on national TV. The airline spends millions of dollars to advertize a little more leg room in coach or a new nonstop to Peoria, and blows the PR opportunity of a lifetime! Some people see sour lemons...others see the chance to make lemonade.
 
747firstclass
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 2:45 pm

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Sat Feb 17, 2001 4:44 am

United has been chasing me down for months to try their new jet service to Peoira from ORD. They have sent me coupons etc. Why if they cant honor fares on the internet, even if it is their own mistake, why should i trust them to honor my damn coupons or anything else they say? Years ago something similar to this happened to me. I had called TWA to make a reservation from JFK-Barcelona. What i didnt know at the time was that there was a special being advertised in the Washington Post and New York Times. The ad in the papers for one day quoted the wrong price. It should have been higher. However TWA volunteered the advertised price without me knowing the ad existed. Seems that there was a mix up when the papers were printed etc.It wa an example of TWA not being at fault but yet they honored the ad. Hope all this current problem wakes up the US govt. before the merger with US is approved.
 
nwa747-400
Posts: 1325
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 2:54 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Sat Feb 17, 2001 5:30 am

If I was United I would have:

called each of the 143 passengers and said:

"Goodevening Mr. Smith, this is "Sue" from United Airline calling. I just wanted to let you know that there was a glitch in our reservation system on the day you booked you ticket to Paris. Don't worry though, we are going to honor your fare. You got a great deal, have a wonderful trip, and thanks again for choosing United."

BUT instead United did this:
"customers should have realized you don't get something for nothing'' (read "it's your fault." My take on it "No you get NOTHING for SOMETHING when you fly United."

"We expect reasonable people to realize it was a mistake" (read, "at United we believe our customers are unreasonable." My take on it: "Reminds me of the United Flight Attendant on Dave Letterman who said "our passengers are the enemy"

Finally:
`But ... it was a glitch. We fixed it and we advised the customers" (read, we made a mistake and you're going to pay for it. My take on it: "I had a glitch with airline travel that I fixed when I stopped flying United."  Wink/being sarcastic






 
akelley728
Posts: 1965
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 1999 12:35 pm

United To Honor $25 Europe Tickets

Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:06 am

Well, it looks like United changed their minds....

United To Honor $25 Europe Tickets

CHICAGO (AP) -- Fantasy fares of as little as $25 round-trip to Europe turned out to be a dream come true, after all, for dozens of customers of United Airlines.

Reversing course, United said Monday it would honor the 143 tickets sold on its Web site during a 55-minute period on Jan. 31 when flights for international destinations were offered for next to nothing.

The world's largest carrier blamed a computer error and said last week that anyone who spotted the near-giveaway fares at www.ual.com should have known that the prices -- $24.98 for San Francisco to Paris, for example, with similar deals for flights to Hong Kong and other cities -- were too good to be true.

That angered ticket-buyers, who argued that listed fares should be binding even if they were unintended.

United spokesman Chris Brathwaite said Monday that while the airline thought it was on solid legal ground with its cancellations, "We've chosen not to make this issue a point of dissatisfaction with our customers.''

"We say to them, 'Bon voyage,' and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,'' he said.

Nearly 100 people snapped up the low-low fares, with some purchasing multiple tickets -- including a man who bought 17, Brathwaite said. Some accepted United's offer of future travel credit or accommodation in exchange for their paying the lowest available standard fare, he said.
 
Guest

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:24 am

Truly a story to rival the US Airways first-class pig! To those of you who staunchly defended United Airlines, may I only give a simple "ha ha"?

Sorry, I can't stand UA, and if I can get a crack at them, I say let's do it!
 
Guest

RE: United To Honor $25 Europe Tickets

Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:57 am

the airline thought it was on solid legal ground with its cancellations

Sometimes it's not always what is legal, but what is right.

"We've chosen not to make this issue a point of dissatisfaction with our customers.''

The cow was already out of the barn...

Intel found this out with its Pentium chip...when will they ever learn. Big grin
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Tue Feb 20, 2001 11:22 am

Just goes to show...don't believe everything you see on the internet.
 
vngd4me
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2000 7:25 am

RE: United Reneges On $25 Fare

Tue Feb 20, 2001 1:40 pm

Could it have been a publicity stunt?

Low fares may have been keyed in wrong or a mistake but did UA let the bad PR get out just to change their mind & honor it. Chances are if UA would have honored these tickets in the first place only 1/10th as many people would have heard a thing about it, the media doesn't cover good news as much, and by UA being the bad corporate giant for a few days, then turning the story around to say, "we care about our customers so we'll honor the fare," they got lots more press than if they'd honored them in the first place.

Who knows, it could cause more people to browse their site more often just to see if there happen to be any "mistakes" they'll honor...

Yeah, I know its a stretch but could it be true?