A round-trip fare for two people traveling between England and Portugal nearly ended up costing $38 billion through eDreams, a vacation-booking site.
$38,435,849,232.71. That’s how much Marion Sessions was about to pay for two tickets for flights between Birmingham, England, and Faro, Portugal. Sessions, who runs two vacation cottages with her husband in Derbyshire, recounted on her blog, Tom’s Barn, how she almost paid the absurd fare.
Sessions explained that after friends in Faro invited her and her husband for a visit, she Googled “cheap flights to Faro.” That’s when she found a company called eDreams, which promised “Great Flights at Great Prices” aboard Ryanair and Monarch Airlines, or $266.54 for both tickets.
Sessions wrote that the booking process didn’t pose a problem until she added an extra piece of luggage. That’s when she noticed that the price jumped to more than $38 billion, which was far more than she was willing to pay.
“What would have happened to my credit rating?!! We might have had to up our rates for our holiday cottages by several million,” she wrote on her blog.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes but it was so lucky I noticed the final price,” Sessions told Sky News.
Sessions claimed she called eDreams during the company’s business hours, but said that no one picked up, nor was it possible to leave a message. A spokeswoman for eDreams has since told Sky News:
We are continuing to investigate, however it appears to be an isolated incident that we have been unable to replicate. If it is a bug, we will find it and make every effort to fix it immediately. eDreams would like to re-iterate that at no point was there any attempt to make this purchase. We would also like to provide the added re-assurance (sic) that any attempt at a transaction of this size would automatically be rejected by our systems and unable to proceed.
This isn’t the first time that eDreams has come under scrutiny. Sky News reported that in February, research indicated that travelers booking through the company risked added service charges of up to 25 percent of the ticket price. In 2013, MoneySavingExpert.com reported that easyJet had alerted regulators to eDreams’ habit of overcharging customers.