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[PREM FARE GONE] UA: NCL-EWR 600 DKK (mistaken fare) DOT ruled; see wiki for link

Old Feb 11, 15, 11:49 am
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Last edit by: drewguy
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DOT Investigation UpdatesNews Media Updates:

-------

According to USA Today, Ben Mutzabaugh:
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.
Note that United has also accidentally cancelled "legitimate" tickets paid for in USD, purchased in USD from LHR... Please check your other tickets if purchased today to ensure they were not unilaterally cancelled.

However, there is no chance at all that you can have your tickets re-instated if you complain to DOT on the basis of DOT rule 399.88:
399.88 Prohibition on post-purchase price increase.

(a) It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.
Form for filing DOT complaint. File complaint as soon as your ticket is cancelled.

Link to PDF of enforcement bodies for European customers affected. File complaint as soon as your ticket is cancelled.


Tips for DOT Complaint:
  • File on DOT for every ticket number affected.
  • If you have one reservation with four people traveling (four tickets) file 4 DOT complaints, one per ticket.
  • If you have separate reservations, file a DOT complaint for each.
  • The DOT complaint website may take several minutes to load, depending on demand.
  • When you go to upload a file, be careful as it will reset all your radio buttons. So, if you want a copy of the complaint, make sure you double check that "Yes" is still selected before submitting, especially if you upload a file.

Template For Complaint:
United has unilaterally cancelled my ticket without my consent.

Facts:
1. The ticket was ticketed (had a ticket number).
2. I received a confirmation number, ticket number, and emails stating both
3. The ticket was paid for and my credit card charged.

United must reinstate the ticket within its original cabin. This trip is for travel TO the United States.

At no time during the booking process was any other fare than the Danish Krone equivalent displayed. As a reasonable, prudent consumer, I believed I was paying the price displayed to me on the website. United never sent or displayed the equivalent fare in any other currency.

Trip Details
Ticket #: 016XXXXXXXXXX
PNR: XXXXXX
Routing: LHR-EWR-LAX-HNL

Attachments: Attached is a document showing the ticket, routing, and providing proof that the reservation was ticketed.

Filename: Cancelled - UA Reservation - LHR-EWR-LAX-HNL - XXXXXX - 016XXXXXXXXXX.pdf

+-------------------------------------------------------+
| Relevant Law |
| http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/399.88 |
+-------------------------------------------------------+
399.88 Prohibition on post-purchase price increase.

(a) It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.

+-------------------------------------------------------+
| Relevant FAQ |
| http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/EAPP_2_FAQ.pdf |
+-------------------------------------------------------+
Does the prohibition on post-purchase price increases in section 399.88(a) apply in the situation where a carrier mistakenly offers an airfare due to a computer problem or human error and a consumer purchases the ticket at that fare before the carrier is able to fix the mistake?

Section 399.88(a) states that it is an unfair and deceptive practice for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, or of a tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation to a consumer after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of a government-imposed tax or fee and only if the passenger is advised of a possible increase before purchasing a ticket. A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer. Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a mistake.
-----
Tips for retrieving your ticket number:
  1. paste(right click copy link location first) following link into your web browser
  2. change XXXXXX next to COPNR= for your reservation number and LASTNAME next to LN= for you SURNAME
  3. go to the webpage address you have just created

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/app...NRCD=2/11/2015


Originally Posted by MatthewLAX
Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
R E L A X

Breathe deep.

Congrats on all who got in.

Now comes the fun part.

1. Discovery - mistake fare is posted on FT. Novices frantically checks how much vacation time they have and if the dates of availability mesh with their schedules. Experienced FTers just book it and worry about contacting spouses or their boss later. Word spreads like wildfire.

2. Excitement - Tickets purchased, confirmation emails received and dates of travel shared with other FTers. Discussions of what to see and do and where to stay crop up in other threads. Novices contact source to change seats or inquire about upgrades, Seasoned FTers sit back and enjoy reading the discussion threads.

3. Stress Stage 1 - Concern over paper ticket delivery - Novices Frantically check otheFedEx website every few hours, constant monitoring of driveway for FedEx truck. Seasoned FT veterans sit back and relax.

4. Glee and happiness - Paper tickets in hand, vacation request submitted, spouses finally informed, hotel reservations made and bragging to friends and co-workers begins. Both novices and experts get very excited.

5. Stress Stage 2 - Rumors of fare not being honored, discussion threads about the airline and ticketing agency ensue. Rumors crop up like crabgrass at this stage. Many FTers begin to worry excessively about whether or not the trip will happen. Novices make non-refundable and financial committments to their trip. Seasoned FTers make mixed drinks (and maybe a sandwich) and is patient.

6. Reality Check - Accurate information is obtained - usually takes place a week to 10 days after mistake fare is published. Confirmed information from the source as to whether or not tickets will be honored.

7a. Pure Joy (Icelandair style- Fare is Honored) - Lots of happy people, FT threads on shared information regarding hotels, restaurants, tours, etc. Jealousy from others sets in. First "FT guinea pigs" embark, post confirmation threads that all is ok.


7b Hostile Feelings (Copa Airlines Style - fare is not honored) - Many angry and disappointed FTers. Refunds are issued. Novices have multiple discussion threads of lawsuits and hostile correspondence, FT pros mutter "c'est la vie" and look for the next fare mistake.

8a Success (Honored) - Trip Report thread becomes very active


Freedom of Information Act Request
File #2015-147, Office of the Secretary of Transportation - Receipt acknowledged 3/13/15

http://www.dot.gov/individuals/foia/office-secretary-foia-information

Relevant excerpt from my request on 2/24/15. There no need for multiple requests for the same thing, though feel free to request more or different information obviously. I'll post any updates as I get them.

"Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S. C. subsection 552, I am requesting access to any and all records of correspondence, including electronic, between anyone working for, or on the behalf of, United Airlines and its subsidiaries, and with anyone working for, or on the behalf of, the Department of Transportation; specifically this would include only the date range beginning on February 11th, 2015 through and including February 24th, 2015.

In addition, I am requesting access to any and all internal records and correspondence in relation to coming to the decision made on February 23rd, 2015 regarding the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings Determination Regarding United Airlines Mistaken Fare, with the exception of any of the consumer submitted complaints via phone, email, website, or letter. Specifically, this would be any records beginning on February 11th, 2015 through and including February 24th, 2015."
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[PREM FARE GONE] UA: NCL-EWR 600 DKK (mistaken fare) DOT ruled; see wiki for link

Old Feb 11, 15, 3:36 pm
  #1561  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 466
Yeah... I would bet good money these will be canceled. No way they take this hit, I can't imagine the cost won't outweigh publicity by a thousand fold.
mastermind85 is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:36 pm
  #1562  
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One of the bigger cost to them is the UK APD - that is clearly more than the price paid for the ticket. The APD is GBP 138 per person - $207 and I paid ~$90pp. Considering when I booked my flight on the 787, better than 1/2 the cabin was open. When I last looked, there are only 2 seats showing assignable / but showing none for sale.
JIMBOLIGUY is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:37 pm
  #1563  
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Originally Posted by DC777Fan
Let's talk capacity ...

Lufthansa serves ~15 destinations in the USA with maybe an average of 2 flights per day to each US city between multiple frequencies and accounting for FRA, MUC and DUS. That's 60 flights per day (both directions) x 8 F seats = 480 seats per day. Accounting for UA, LX, etc (anyone able to book SQ suites btw?), we're looking at maybe 1000 seats per day in first class? Even if 25,000 people booked tickets, we're talking about 25 days worth of seats in 330 days worth of schedule--and that's assuming just about everyone booked F and not J which would be thousands of seats per day per direction.

This is a drop in the bucket in terms of capacity. Ultimately, with the exception of a few high traffic dates, I'm guessing there's not a ton of lost opportunity cost in terms of selling these tickets -- many of them would've gone out empty or available for award.

To me the key questions:

1) How many seats that are not part of UA/LH JV were booked? These should cost UA real money...
2) Does the positive PR of honoring the tickets outweigh the negatives of wanting to "protect" the premium cabins exclusivity?
3) Does UA feel any pressure from LH/LX to not have a bunch of freeloaders in their premium cabins?
4) Is the third party insured for pricing errors?

Ultimately, my completely wild guess is that UA negotiates a settlement with the DOT to allow one booking per person as multiple bookings is indicative of abuse.
My bet is that most of the seats booked are not Global First seats. I suspect most were Business or domestic first or economy class. How many of these DKK tickets were booked? I would love to know.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:37 pm
  #1564  
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Why do I see the quotes after I've sent him to the Phantom Zone?
sonofzeus is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:38 pm
  #1565  
 
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Originally Posted by LH4116
Still possible to change seats through the United app.
^

Long-time reader, first-time poster
NEpatriot is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:38 pm
  #1566  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Had all my tickets confirmed and ticketed. According to the DoT they cannot just not honor them.
B747forever is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:38 pm
  #1567  
 
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Originally Posted by a9504477
can you bring up the itinerary on the LX site?
Yeah I could. I pulled up my LX conf # from the united site, then went to LX and inputted it. Now, the name was funky, I had to play with it and put my middle initial after my first name and put the suffix with no space after my last name (how united codes it), but it worked just fine.
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Old Feb 11, 15, 3:39 pm
  #1568  
 
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"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."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...t-68/23234223/
konems is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:39 pm
  #1569  
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Originally Posted by bthotugigem05
The conversations at United are twofold:

1. In the ear of DoT trying to figure out if they can get out of honoring these and

2. Legal looking over the liability clause of the contract UA has with whatever exchange rate provider they use (that apparently the IATA uses). If they can go after this 3rd party to make them whole, they'll honor the heck out of them as a "goodwill gesture" and get the exchange rate provider to make up the difference.
You are correct.

If the currency information provider is worth its salt, it will have a meaningful E&O policy. United, if they did their diligence initially, would have checked both the internal controls that this key information provider had and their insurance cover.

That said, it is perfectly conceivable (and I would suggest, likely) that the license agreement under which United receives their currency information has a liability limitation provision. If I were in the currency exchange rate reporting business, I'd certainly want that. I know in our information source contracts (where we buy data) all have tight liability limitation provisions. I've not asked our GC how enforceable they are....but I'm sure there are lots of precedent cases about losses from bad financial data.
NYBanker is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:40 pm
  #1570  
 
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This was a 3rd party glitch and you better believe that the UA contract with that 3rd party specifies what happens if there's an error. My guess: the vendor is left holding the bag for the costs and insurance will handle it. Tickets will be honored.
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Old Feb 11, 15, 3:41 pm
  #1571  
 
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Originally Posted by jkenter
per bloomberg:
United Says It Wont Honor Tickets Purchased on Computer Flaw
By Michael Sasso
(Bloomberg) -- United says several thousand individuals exploited fare glitch, spokesman Rahsaan Johnson says in e-mailed statement.
Troll go back into your hole. Sasso has no new articles since this morning.

http://www.bloomberg.com/authors/AR1.../michael-sasso
northdakota is offline  
Old Feb 11, 15, 3:41 pm
  #1572  
 
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Maybe they are only voiding tickets booked on non UA metal?
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Old Feb 11, 15, 3:41 pm
  #1573  
 
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Originally Posted by konems
"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."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...t-68/23234223/
damn!
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Old Feb 11, 15, 3:41 pm
  #1574  
 
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Originally Posted by RTW1
My one booking that had a LH flight is still waiting for ticketing while the UA flights ticketed almost immediatly :-(.
I have this same problem with my UA flights from LHR to SFO. i still waiting for ticketing
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Old Feb 11, 15, 3:42 pm
  #1575  
 
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http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...t-68/23234223/

In a statement to Today in the Sky, United says:

"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."
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