United to make good on super-cheap tickets sold in error
Updated 11:38 pm, Friday, September 13, 2013
Some United Airlines customers will be flying high after paying incredibly low prices for flights around the country.
The airline announced Friday it would honor the deals, for as little as $5, even though the fares were mistakenly offered on its website Thursday afternoon after incorrect data were entered into its computer system.
During a two-hour window before the goof was corrected, travelers scooped up unbelievable deals, including $10 roundtrip tickets to Hawaii, New York City and Los Angeles.
Damon Wilson of Houston thought the $5 price tag for the tickets he was buying Thursday to Atlanta must be a promotion on United.com. He bought tickets for himself and his wife before looking into other flights. He then bought tickets for $5 to Los Angeles and $10 to New York City.
"The price popped up and I kept on going. I thought, let's see if I can go somewhere else," said Wilson, 31. "It's like I won the lottery."
The airline released the following statement Friday afternoon: "United has reviewed the error that occurred yesterday and decided that, based on these specific circumstances, we will honor the tickets."
United would not disclose how many people purchased the super-cheap tickets or how much money United lost.
The unintended fare sale lasted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., before the airline shut down online booking. By then, alerts had spread rapidly through social media and electronic message boards.
United said incorrectly entered information marked ticket prices at $0. That left only fees, which range from $5 to $10.
Kameron Walker of Austin noticed his friend, Wilson, advertising the low fares on Facebook and jumped online as well.
He scored tickets to Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle for $5 each and New York City for $10. Another friend said he tried to buy tickets to all the places where the Houston Texans will play away games this season.
Walker, who said he initially thought chances were slim the prices would hold up, welcomed Friday's news.
"I think it was the right thing to do, honestly," said Walker, 30. "I don't see how they could weasel their way out of honoring the flights."
He also said he intends to always look at United first when planning to buy a plane ticket because the carrier did the honorable thing in this case.