Mistake fares are a fickle beast. There’s always an awkward period of time waiting to see if they’ll be honored or not. Even when they are not there is often a period of time after that where folks insist that the company is mistaken and that they will actually be honored. Historically that was more of an uncertainty, particularly on revenue tickets, but recent DoT actions have cleared up that aspect of things a bit recently. Still, in the case of the United 4 mile awards to Hong Kong and following the indication last night that they will not be honored at the 4 mile rate, the response has been rather bizarre, more than I’ve seen previously.
There have been the usual collection of comments suggesting that DoT complaints or lawsuits will be coming. At least one of the future litigants has indicated that they plan to file in federal court rather than at the state or local level. It is not entirely clear why they’re going that route but they are. And I have no doubt that a few DoT complaints will come out of this, though it isn’t clear what the DoT response will be from an enforcement perspective.
That’s not the crazy, though. Things like this are:
I know the print is small there so I’ll share the excerpt that I love the most, as well as a link to the original:
I appreciate your coming forward with your decision in a somewhat timely manner. Unfortunately others have already travelled for the receipted amount of 8 miles and it would be discriminatory to allow them to travel at that rate and not me. I am a senior citizen and couldn’t make arrangements that quickly to travel yesterday.
I am in hopes you will change your mind and make an offer to those that are being shortchanged and could not travel yesterday. Compromise usually provides a much better outcome than having this dragged through the DOT and the press, particularly based on other recent UA issues that did not show UA in a favorable light with consumers.
That’s right, folks. This isn’t just a mistake fare. It is discrimination against everyone who couldn’t travel the day the mistake was announced. And that apparently applies to senior citizens who cannot get to the airport fast enough. This comment is coming from a quite well known personality, one who has made quite a bit of money providing advice to frequent flyers, trying to help them better their travel experiences. Sad, really.
Other crazy theories have also come out in the aftermath. One has the glitch set up as a purposefully malicious bit of code:
I think somebody in IT might have deliberately screwed this up with United ‘by adding a divider to the equation’, but who knows?
I do love this part of the mistake fare lifecycle. If nothing else it is great to have a bunch of non-lawyers citing contract law and stating definitively how things will be decided based on absolutely no real experience. Then again, it always makes me rather embarrassed to realize that I am associated with these communities when I see things like this. It is no wonder that the airlines have been reducing their participation over time.
- And so it goes; the 4 mile awards are to be revoked
- Closing a huge booking loophole – going nuclear
- What is the real impact of 49 CFR 41712 § 399.88(a) for travelers?
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