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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
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: drewguy
If you've never gone through this process read this before posting!
Note: Please consider that with high probability, United is monitoring this thread, so please pay attention on what you post!

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, 4:21 pm
  #3016  
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Originally Posted by FlyingLasse
Just found this on Willis twitterchannel..:



It would probably be a step up in comfort level
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:21 pm
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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...es-experts-say

(Bloomberg) -- While U.S. regulators will review a United Airlines software glitch that made tickets available for exceptionally low prices, legal experts doubt that the carrier will have to honor the fares.
The United Continental Holdings Inc. unit on Wednesday issued trans-Atlantic tickets for as little as $50 and said later that it would void the fares for several thousand passengers. That prompted people to post hundreds of comments complaining on chat sites such as FlyerTalk. Several cited a Transportation Department rule that prohibits airlines from boosting the price of a ticket after it is issued.
“It’s true that DOT rules require airlines to honor a fare once a flight is booked and the passenger is confirmed,” Anita Mosner, an aviation attorney with Holland & Knight firm in Washington, said Thursday. “However, DOT has had a longstanding policy of permitting carriers to cancel bookings when there has been evidence of passengers’ manipulation or misrepresentations during booking, or misstating their status.”
To get the tickets, customers went onto United’s Danish website and exploited an error in the local currency’s exchange rate. The problem occurred after a software vendor entered the incorrect rate between the Danish krone and the British pound.
Misrepresentation
United may simply need to show that a customer misrepresented that his home country was Denmark, Mosner said.
The DOT said it is investigating the incident, “including speaking to United about this matter and reviewing consumer complaints. The DOT’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings will determine whether United has to honor the fares, the department said.
News of the errant prices spread quickly on FlyerTalk and other travel chat sites and blogs, which gave instructions on how to take advantage of the mistake. That included switching the country of origin on United.com to Denmark and booking flights from the U.K.
Users of the sites traded tales of scoring bargain fares. A person from New York said in an interview that she bought round-trip tickets and travel insurance for her husband from Manchester, England, to Newark, New Jersey, for $125.
People commenting on FlyerTalk said United must honor the errant fares under DOT Section 399.88. The rule says it is unfair or deceptive for an airline to raise the price of a ticket after purchase, except when the government raises a tax or fee.
Obvious Mistake
Mosner and another aviation attorney, Mary Schiavo, said the rule probably won’t be enforced in this incident. Schiavo, a former DOT inspector general, said United could argue that no one could reasonably believe that she could get a first-class fare for $75 or so.
‘‘The tax on an overseas ticket is more than 75 bucks,” said Schiavo, who practices in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
If a class-action lawsuit is filed, United could probably find evidence from Web chat sites that customers misrepresented themselves, she said.
Even a passenger advocate said it was unlikely that the buyers of the supercheap tickets would prevail. Charlie Leocha, the founder of the nonprofit group Travelers United, said the fares were obviously a mistake.
“I would be surprised if DOT held United’s feet to the fire,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Sasso in Atlanta at [email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Dufner at [email protected] Tony Robinson, Andrew Pollack
FlyingLasse is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by maclover
Were I UA, solution would be pretty simple.
Wanna fly the ticket you purchased well knowing you were exploiting a glitch in the system? Fine, you had me.

Just, let me ban you from any future flight with the airline.
If a customer feels cheated by the airline, said customer can simply shop somewhere else.
If airline feels being cheated by a customer, that customer should be banned.

Easy, simple and everyone is happy
But is it lawful for UA to do so?

Are you a common carrier subject to US federal government jurisdiction and benefiting from governmental prerogatives? If not, keep dreaming.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by maclover
Were I UA, solution would be pretty simple.
Wanna fly the ticket you purchased well knowing you were exploiting a glitch in the system? Fine, you had me.

Just, let me ban you from any future flight with the airline.
If a customer feels cheated by the airline, said customer can simply shop somewhere else.
If airline feels being cheated by a customer, that customer should be banned.

Easy, simple and everyone is happy
When you were United, you would file Chapter 11
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by rachcollins
You are adding nothing to this thread whatsoever, please leave
Why? Because you don't like what he's saying?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:28 pm
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Most of those commenting in that article make money by selling their services to airlines and defending the airlines. It's how they get more butter for their bread.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:29 pm
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LOL... watching FlyingLasse in action makes me chuckle.

FlyingLasse HAS to work for United, right?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:30 pm
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Agencies to contact for redress in Europe

Originally Posted by nonamethanks
+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.
Here's the link posted earlier by another contributor.

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes...ent_bodies.pdf

I'm not sure how, but perhaps somebody could add it to the wiki.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by sonofzeus
Would not register on Chrome.
Doesn't work on Safari either. I guess Fox News is concentrating on their target audience and their Win 3.11 computers.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Irelandflyer
Here's the link posted earlier by another contributor.

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes...ent_bodies.pdf

I'm not sure how, but perhaps somebody could add it to the wiki.
On the WIKI now.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:34 pm
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Fortunately I think the position in Europe is likely to be quite different.

If the expert views above prevail, getting a confirmation of a booking, eticket numbers etc would effectively be meaningless.

Once again, here's the list of EU aviation regulators.

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes...ent_bodies.pdf
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:35 pm
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Someone wrote this on another forum:

I think it's imperative that everyone know that a DDFer is currently aboard LHR-TLV as part of a UA glitch ticket. Congrats to he who will remain nameless unless he comes forward himself!
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Miami305
On the WIKI now.
Much appreciated, thanks.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:35 pm
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that bloomberg article is kind of what i was expecting. i expect UA to be in the clear here.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by lehmanins
As opposed to Al Sharpton or the rest of the shamefully liberal media?
There's no such thing as liberal media, never has been and never will be. It's all conservative, pro-establishment corporate media, even CNN and the likes who claim to be liberal.
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