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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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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 12, 2015, 2:56 pm
  #2956  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Originally Posted by tuppy
In case anyone doesn't feel like reading the last 80 pages of this thread since UA canceled the tickets I will sum up:

-- Half the people think United has to honor these either for good PR or for fear of some DoT fines and definitely will think really hard about suing

-- Have the people think that first half are evil and have no morals, and probably missed out on booking any of these

-- Have the people are lawyers who like to write a lot and have deeply complicated opinions and theories

-- And there are very few calm people who like to eat popcorn and wish we could all get along and just be patient to see how it plays out

Did I miss anything?
Yes, that some people on this site are carrying an alarming amount of rage and anger over something very trivial. Early Heart Attacks waiting to happen
CO_Nonrev_elite is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2015, 2:57 pm
  #2957  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by DTCFlyer
Are u based in EU/Ireland?
I have no idea how to deal with this situation here

Cheers
+1 on this

After 100 pages of reading yesterday and ad hoc reading today I've yet to see a scenario like mine posted about. Don't want to pile it all in public for UA to "fix" but a key point to address on '00s of posts here is it was possible to book and pay for my flight while at no point using Denmark in the address section.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:00 pm
  #2958  
 
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This is pretty interesting given the regulations in the U.S.

I think United's stance on this is that this was a manipulation of the website for most people. United's strategy is to base this stance off precedent; that precedent is the MileagePlus webpage glitch where you could book award tickets without having any miles used. You can see in the letter that they used specific language of properly filing the fares which is in the DOT regulations. United is therefore voiding these tickets.

Contrast this with Delta's mistake fares the day after Christmas 2013. There was no manipulation of the website; you merely had to look up a ticket to Hawaii and book it as you normally do. Delta honored those tickets.

I think most of the people who are booking are arguing that they did not manipulate the website and that they chose to pay in a different currency.

For people wondering about the billing address issue, I think they're confusing two separate issues. One is billing address. The other is paying legal tender in a different currency. The billing address does not have to be in the same country as the currency. Simply put, if i were to buy a ticket on EasyJet as an American with a U.S. billing address, I can switch the currency to USD in order to avoid foreign currency exchange charges on my credit card. However, I can book in EUR if I really wanted to. I would still be using a U.S. address. Thus, I think this point is moot.

Basically, there really isn't clear precedent but United is banking on the fact that no one will file a lawsuit against United to compel the airline to honoring these fares. I think United actually has a decent case regarding this, particularly due to all of the travel blogs that provide instructions on how to "manipulate" the website. Any lawsuit would have a lengthy discovery process, one which United can afford while most of the potential plaintiffs would not be able to afford.

Anyhoo, a few of my thoughts. (THIS IS ALSO NOT LEGAL ADVICE).
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:03 pm
  #2959  
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Can't seem to upload a file to the DOT right now it crashes when I attempt to do so.
Cheers
Howie
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:04 pm
  #2960  
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Originally Posted by FlyingLasse
Thats not a "hack". That is "usage as intended", as it is intended to switch back and forth between countrys and use different countrys. Billing adress is only for authorisation purposes as someone said earlier.
Gaming the billing system by using both a Danish address (not your address) and a German address is "usage as intended"?

Originally Posted by FlyingLasse
I provided the Adress of my friend who lives in Denmark. Once the transaction was on "Verified by Visa", I entered my German adress. easy as that.

Last edited by UA1K_no_more; Feb 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm
UA1K_no_more is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:04 pm
  #2961  
 
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"A fellow frequent flyer was messing around and found this error"

NO WAY DUDE, you saw it on view from the wing and/or FT. Shameful dude. At least give credit where it's due to the OP.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:09 pm
  #2962  
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Originally Posted by stockmanjr
Can't seem to upload a file to the DOT right now it crashes when I attempt to do so.
Cheers
Howie
I just received a callback from the DOT after I called the number I shared upthread and left a detailed message.

I was told that complaints that include the info outlined on the website, comments, and supporting documents can be sent to:

[email protected]
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:09 pm
  #2963  
 
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I can't decide if these are UA Staff Trolls, UA Shareholder Trolls or just Life Trolls, but the indignation and personal attacking coming from the "away with ye, PEASANT" camp is astounding. Talk about people who don't have dogs in the fight.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:10 pm
  #2964  
 
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Thank you CehofskiMD

As this thread passes more than 2900 posts in under 36 hours, I will use a few bytes of FlyerTalk space to thank the OP^.

From all appearances, CehofskiMD genuinely wanted to travel from New Castle to New York and is actually from Scandinavia. Having found a good fare, CehofskiMD took extra time to share with the community (and the many new folks that have "Feb2015" as their join date). The bedlam that ensued likely caused CehofskiMD to lose his/her ticket but for those of us eating popcorn, sipping mixed drinks and watching the Troll Alerts, this might not have been possible without CehofskiMD sharing the find.

Only UAL and Jeff know how long the DKK "third party error" was in the system, but I give two thumbs up to CehofskiMD for sharing his find and providing Chapter 1 of the Kroner Kaper.

Here's to you ^^
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/members/cehofskimd.html
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:11 pm
  #2965  
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Originally Posted by SCSA
I can't decide if these are UA Staff Trolls, UA Shareholder Trolls or just Life Trolls, but the indignation and personal attacking coming from the "away with ye, PEASANT" camp is astounding. Talk about people who don't have dogs in the fight.
Use the Ignore button, Luke.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:13 pm
  #2966  
 
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Originally Posted by Happy
For those of you who insist you are entitled on these tickets, have you ever done a slightest research to learn about DOT has already considered to modify the overly harsh regulation to avoid "unintended consequences"?

With the wave of complaints that over burden their workload, on grounds that is very shaky (as the condition of such fares hinged on the Billing Address of your credit card, which most people here dont have a Danish billing address but knowingly leave the country being Denmark in order to get the ticket priced), this might be very well the last straw to push DOT to take action to modify the rules and do away the overly generous wordings that were meant for consumer protection but have been proven being exploited time and again.

It is not even the currency to pay, it is the Billing Address Must Be in Denmark. Has this not understood by those who argue they have Denish currency to pay? Unless you have a Danish billing address for the payment form you used, you do not have a leg to stand on the currency argument.

UA has stated the fares were filed correctly, but the currency conversion has bungled up to create the error. DOT may side with them. No way UA has not consulted with DOT before unilaterally canceled all the purchases.
This is almost a repeat of the 4 miles to HKG. Only those very few who flew in the next few days made it. Has anyone whose tickets got canceled received any supprt from DOT to reinstate those award tickets? If DOT did not take any action then, what makes people thinking filing DOT complaints on this round would change anything?

For the records, I have no bone to fight in this thing, but I do hope DOT would not modify its wordings on the current regulation and only do an airline case by case review in a broader sense. However with the flood of the complaints here, DOT may finally decide enough is enough, they NEED to modify the regulation so they can avoid unintended consequence and prevent such floods of frivolous complaints in the future once and for all. The outcome might not be anyone here would like to see.

For if DOT once decides the regulation needs to redefine, then it would never be a good thing for future mistake fares which are bound to happen (hence the need to redefine whether the alines' mistakes are genuine or bait and switch tactic).

If I were UA, I would look into those FF accounts and determine if there are enough activities to warrant some sort of action - i.e. those accounts booked a quantity of tickets in this incident. It is a possibility and airlines can fire you as a customers. Any business can fire its customers. Have you not read about banks closing customers accounts simply because they dont want to burden the compliance costs?
Wrong. You live in the US where you deal most likely exclusively in one sole currency--Dollars. Europeans (EU members at least) have the same consumer rights whether a price is posted in Krone, Pounds, Euro or Romanian Leu.

And also, it is far more likely for a European to check multiple country sites for prices. This is absolutely normal. Imagine if Florida had Floridians and Georgia used Georgianskis. Yet you both had the same consumer protection coverages. You can pay in either Georganiskis or in Floridian Florins. Most days of the week you would be surfing the internet to see if Amazon.geor or Amazon.flor had better prices. And you'd buy from the one that did.

This is completely lost on most Americans. Purchasing something in foreign currency is not some esoteric thing that you do once or twice a year on holiday. It's a reality of daily life in Europe. It doesn't matter if you have a Danish or French credit card. You cannot be discriminated against as a consumer.

A posted price is a posted price. It's in writing. If it's an error, the seller should suck it up. Period.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:15 pm
  #2967  
 
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This may be a bit premature--OK it is premature--but assuming for a moment that DoT rules in our favor on, say, Tuesday, what happens to those who had tickets booked between now and then?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:16 pm
  #2968  
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Originally Posted by thexfactor
This may be a bit premature--OK it is premature--but assuming for a moment that DoT rules in our favor on, say, Tuesday, what happens to those who had tickets booked between now and then?
What did your lawyer advise when you called this morning?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:17 pm
  #2969  
 
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Originally Posted by CO_Nonrev_elite
Yes, that some people on this site are carrying an alarming amount of rage and anger over something very trivial. Early Heart Attacks waiting to happen
...he said, as he gazed at his own image in the black kettle, which he had compulsively polished to a mirror-like sheen.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 3:18 pm
  #2970  
 
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Originally Posted by thexfactor
This may be a bit premature--OK it is premature--but assuming for a moment that DoT rules in our favor on, say, Tuesday, what happens to those who had tickets booked between now and then?
I don't think you are traveling as your tickets have been voided.
I'm supposed to fly Wed but am not planning on that happening.
IF DOT rules against UA I imagine they would have to reinstate the ticket for a date in the future.
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