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

Old Feb 11, 2015, 11:49 am
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Last edit by: drewguy
If you've never gone through this process read this before posting!
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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, 2015, 3:42 pm
  #1576  
 
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On the BB terminal not the website
teddy25 is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:42 pm
  #1577  
 
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If United does decide to cancel the tickets..I believe:

-It will weed out those not too serious or educated about the DOT rulings (blog readers?)
-Those who do file DOT complaints will get their tickets honored.

Based on the wording of the DOT ruling, and my past experience with similar mistake fares and complaints (RGN was indeed quite similar), I expect those who do fight to fly, will be able to fly.

Just my opinion.
pushmyredbutton is online now  
Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by northdakota
Troll go back into your hole. Sasso has no new articles since this morning.

http://www.bloomberg.com/authors/AR1.../michael-sasso
True. But the one below is legit.

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/
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:42 pm
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Looks like United is NOT honoring the fares...

"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."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...t-68/23234223/
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:42 pm
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oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:43 pm
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Anddddd not being honored. Dammit.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...t-68/23234223/
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by LucWise
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."

You beat me to it. Saying they are going to do it and doing it are two different things. Still to be seen.
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by jkenter
*united spokesman rahsaan johnson comments on glitch in e-mail
*united: Fares filed properly despite errors from vendor
*united says it won't honor tickets purchased on computer flaw
Going to be seeing a lot of this doc in the next few days:

Code of Federal Regulations
Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space
Volume: 4
Date: 2012-01-01
Original Date: 2012-01-01
Title: Section 399.88 - Prohibition on post-purchase price increase.
Context: Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space. CHAPTER II - OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (AVIATION PROCEEDINGS). SUBCHAPTER F - POLICY STATEMENTS. PART 399 - STATEMENTS OF GENERAL POLICY. Subpart G - Policies Relating to Enforcement.
399.88Prohibition 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.
(b) A seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States or 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, must notify a consumer of the potential for a post-purchase price increase due to an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee and must obtain the consumer's written consent to the potential for such an increase prior to purchase of the scheduled air transportation, tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation. Imposition of any such increase without providing the consumer the appropriate notice and without obtaining his or her written consent of the potential increase constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712.
[Doc. No. DOT-OST-2010-0140, 76 FR 23167, Apr. 25, 2011]
Effective Date Note:
At 76 FR 23167, Apr. 25, 2011, 399.88 was added, effective Aug. 23, 2011. The effective date was subsequently delayed to Jan. 24, 2012 at 76 FR 45181, July 28, 2011.
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:43 pm
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What DOT rule should be quoted when UA calls to cancel? If UA does not call I guess we would have to call to protest - is that correct?
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:44 pm
  #1585  
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Lawyer up guys/gals

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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by deissi
Having read through some 60 pages of the thread, no one else has (maybe one person) received a second email, and nor have I. However, on UA's website, above the flight details, you should have a text saying something like:

"This reservation was ticketed and confirmed on Wed., Feb. 11, 2015 at X:XX a.m. Central Time."
And if you have that, scroll down to right below Price, click "add email and request receipt", enter email, they will send a receipt with ticket # and fee breakdown etc.
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:44 pm
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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/
Thanks!

Off to DOT. Here are the relevant links:
http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/air-t...t-comment-form

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-201...-sec399-88.xml
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.
Everyone please file immediately as the initial number of complaints will be important as both UA and DOT assess the situation.

ETA: Re-reading, they did not say they'd cancel all, so best to hold off until your particular ticket is canceled.
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:44 pm
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Voiding the tickets per USAToday:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...t-68/23234223/

Making another batch of popcorn...
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:45 pm
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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.
Good questions.

Except there is absolutely no support for that conclusion to be found in the regs or their commentary.
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 3:45 pm
  #1590  
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Thanks for the relevant DOT links.
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