Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Mileage Run Deals > Mileage Run Discussion
Reload this Page >

[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."
Print Wikipost

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

Old Feb 18, 2015, 4:50 pm
  #4441  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by janetdoe
It's more an issue of reciprocity. If I make a mistake and need to change my ticket, it's going to cost me anywhere between $150 and 200. And if I need to change my ticket at the last minute, it might cost me $200 plus $3000 or whatever is the cost of a full-fare walkup ticket. When I make a mistake worth thousands of dollars, UA has zero problems collecting it from me. Now they make a thousand-dollar mistake but say I am not entitled to benefit?

Take for example, this comment from the Economist article linked to earlier:

Seriously? UA has a flight delayed 7 hours, then has the nerve to charge someone $7k to switch to a last-minute economy fare on a flight running on time. This $7000 is completely separate and on-top of whatever figure the customer paid for the business class fare that will not get him to his destination on time. This is SOP for UA, the customer has little or no recourse.

So, no, I have absolutely no sympathy with the viewpoint that when a $7000 error goes in the customer's favor, UA is suddenly entitled to call 'mistake'. Especially when there is a clear regulation that UA is well aware of that says they can't.


Is it OK if UA ends up giving someone a Yugo for a Rolls Royce price? Like above, it is pretty easy to get a TPAC economy flight for $350 each way, but UA had no compunction charging the customer $7000 and then refusing to refund the BMW they had already sold to the customer, probably at a price of ~$3000 in the first place.

I just don't see why it should work one way but not the other. That seems abusive to me.
Completely agree with this here. We can talk contract law all day long but I think the real reason most people here want UA to honor these mistake fares is what you just stated. Since UA has been making the whole flying experience so one-sided with UA clearly the victor, and consumers all the poorer, then making UA honor these tickets is taking the same hard line that they've taken with customers all these years.

Putting in plainly, if UA was a beloved corporation with integrity, great customer service and fair in its business practices how many here would have any issues if this weren't honored? Imagine a world where UA didn't charge close-in fees, baggage fees, change fees, cancellation fees etc. Imagine where UA would allow the consumer to cancel tickets based on an "honest" mistake. Would any of this make a real difference in their $1.1 billion in net income earned last year? I'd think not. The real loyalty gained would go much farther than any ancillary fees and ultimately you would have far fewer complaints from the sidelines.

If my favorite local restaurant forgot to charge me for dinner, would I simply walk out thinking I scored a great deal or would I remind them to bring me the bill. I think that's the key ingredient missing in this whole equation which is why we're all looking to the DOT as our savior.

Best.
vision20 is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 4:56 pm
  #4442  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: DFW
Programs: AS, BA, AA
Posts: 3,670
Originally Posted by HateUA
No one is arguing the fact that ITA showed this fare for many airlines and some other airlines even showed it on their websites. United was just the only airline negligent enough to allow it to be booked/ticketed. Right?
Originally Posted by SensFan
I wonder if this is because United was trying to make some extra money off of dynamic currency conversion. While the exchange rates are not as unfavourable as those typically offered with DCC there must be some reason that UA decided to offer the ability to choose the billing currency unlike other airlines.
I know HateUA is correct. If SensFan's speculation is correct, then this is truly evil. UA was trying to leverage a few dollars on exchange rates, got sloppy, and then claims it has no responsibility.

Glad I checked into this thread today, that is definitely food for thought.
janetdoe is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 4:57 pm
  #4443  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Programs: united
Posts: 1,636
Originally Posted by vision20
Again more nonsensical rhetoric. UA should honor anyone who had reason to pay in DKK? Dilan please. Use your USC expertise and say something that makes sense once in a while. I travel frequently all over the world and have paid for services and products in EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD etc. etc. If I'm on summer holiday the UK and buy a ticket on united.com and it prices out in GBP and I purchase that ticket, does United then have any recourse to cancel that ticket for whatever reason? The plain and simple answer is - it doesn't matter where or in what currency you buy a good or service. That has no bearing on this whatsoever ever. If you think it does, I'd really like to be enlightened.
1. I'm glad someone finally figured out who I am. That's a lot better than the insinuations about how I work for United (I'm sure you realize that I don't).

2. I'm going to be a bit abstract in responding to your substantive point, because I think it might make it more clear what the problem is with your form of argument.

You are arguing as follows:

a. X made a contract with Y.
b. The contract contained a term that we will assume arguendo is mistaken. (I realize there are arguments flying around that it isn't, but I am trying to keep that point fixed so I can analyze yours.)
c. In order to obtain the mistaken contract term, X had to do two things: pay for the purchase in DKK rather than any other currency, and say that X's credit card had a Danish billing address.
d. The actual reason X chose to pay for the purchase in DKK (and perhaps incorrectly indicate a Danish credit card billing address) was to obtain the mistaken contract term.
e. However, there are other transactions in which X, and other people similarly situated, might pay or a purchase in DKK and use a credit card with a Danish billing address for reasons having nothing to do with attempting to obtain a mistaken contract term.
f. Therefore courts and regulatory agencies must ignore "d" and focus only on "e".

Now, let me start where I always start-- it is of course possible that the DOT will rule that its regulation requires that they ignore "d" and focus only on "e". But let's say they don't. Is your argument sound?

It seems to me that it isn't. The relevant issue for rescission of a mistaken contract term is whether or not a reasonable person in the buyer's position would have understood that the contract term was a mistake.

The role of "d" and "e" is a question of evidence, not substantive law. In other words, what facts will we take as proof that a reasonable person in the buyer's position would have understood the contract term was a mistake?

Now, obviously, "e" is indeed relevant to that question-- a buyer with a long history of making various purchases in DKK for reasons having nothing to do with taking advantage of a mistake has a case to make that he or she was more likely to reasonably believe that there was nothing wrong with the contract. And if you read my post carefully, my proposed solution would permit you to make this exact argument.

The problem is, "d" is REALLY relevant to that question. If in fact, the traveler's motive was to take advantage of the mistake, that's extremely powerful evidence that in fact the purchaser could not have reasonably believed there was no mistake. In other words, it isn't that "e" isn't admissible in a court case-- it's that the jury doesn't have to credit "e" in the face of powerful evidence of "d".

A lot of the arguments in this thread are simply attempts to pretend that "d" isn't relevant at all. And as I said, your best hope is the DOT ruling that indeed "d" isn't relevant at all. But I think the more likely outcome is a ruling that "d" is relevant, and the question is whether they are going to save some tickets of people who can establish bona fide reasons for their purchasing choices.
dilanesp is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 4:59 pm
  #4444  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: SIN (with a bit of ZRH sprinkled in)
Posts: 9,494
Originally Posted by vision20

If my favorite local restaurant forgot to charge me for dinner, would I simply walk out thinking I scored a great deal or would I remind them to bring me the bill. I think that's the key ingredient missing in this whole equation which is why we're all looking to the DOT as our savior.

Best.
Thats a totally different question..

What if your favorite restaurant would change for robotic service, and they would forget a dish? Would you still insist in paying for it?

UA chose to save money by cheapening it's payment system, by making everything as cheap and automatic as possible.. and apparently choosing some "3rd party vendor" which worked for UA 100% to fix their exchange rate..

This isn't the case where you cheat your local coffee..

This is the case of a big, international company, which saw the opportunity of squeezing out some more pennies from their customers (or did anyone having the "booking charge" of 40$ mentioned?) which went slightly wrong.. and now THEY are crying foul game...
YuropFlyer is online now  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:09 pm
  #4445  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Programs: Flying Blue Gold, Air Berlin Gold, Etihad Silver (bad move)
Posts: 420
Originally Posted by LHSEN
If you are to rule this case fairly, what would be a balanced and a reasonable "compromise"?
At this point I don't think it's wise to speculate here on a plan b, since it could be read as accepting that United don't have to honor the tickets as bought.

I want the offer I paid for.
Irelandflyer is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:09 pm
  #4446  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 6,459
Originally Posted by dilanesp
...
In a DOT proceeding, the regulations obviously take precedence. And in a civil suit against United, the plaintiff could cite them and argue that they supersede the common law rules. ...
A civil suit doesn't seem a real possibility.

There isn't a private right of action to enforce DOT consumer regs. http://www.americanbar.org/publicati...assengers.html

UA's conditions of carriage appear to allow them to cancel tickets they deem abusive or illogical. The Supreme Court has eliminated a fair amount of state contract law that would allow a plaintiff to argue the CoC is absurd. http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files...nc-v-ginsberg/
richarddd is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:13 pm
  #4447  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: IC Royal Ambassador, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 487
Originally Posted by luv2ctheworld
The last time they honored a mistake fare, it was on their own internal system. This time it is due to another company. So they are less inclined to agree to take the hit.

Why did they end up honoring the Wideroe.no deals? That wasn't on their system?

Last edited by stinger101; Feb 18, 2015 at 5:25 pm
stinger101 is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:16 pm
  #4448  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by dilanesp
1. I'm glad someone finally figured out who I am. That's a lot better than the insinuations about how I work for United (I'm sure you realize that I don't).

2. I'm going to be a bit abstract in responding to your substantive point, because I think it might make it more clear what the problem is with your form of argument.

You are arguing as follows:

a. X made a contract with Y.
b. The contract contained a term that we will assume arguendo is mistaken. (I realize there are arguments flying around that it isn't, but I am trying to keep that point fixed so I can analyze yours.)
c. In order to obtain the mistaken contract term, X had to do two things: pay for the purchase in DKK rather than any other currency, and say that X's credit card had a Danish billing address.
d. The actual reason X chose to pay for the purchase in DKK (and perhaps incorrectly indicate a Danish credit card billing address) was to obtain the mistaken contract term.
e. However, there are other transactions in which X, and other people similarly situated, might pay or a purchase in DKK and use a credit card with a Danish billing address for reasons having nothing to do with attempting to obtain a mistaken contract term.
f. Therefore courts and regulatory agencies must ignore "d" and focus only on "e".

Now, let me start where I always start-- it is of course possible that the DOT will rule that its regulation requires that they ignore "d" and focus only on "e". But let's say they don't. Is your argument sound?

It seems to me that it isn't. The relevant issue for rescission of a mistaken contract term is whether or not a reasonable person in the buyer's position would have understood that the contract term was a mistake.

The role of "d" and "e" is a question of evidence, not substantive law. In other words, what facts will we take as proof that a reasonable person in the buyer's position would have understood the contract term was a mistake?

Now, obviously, "e" is indeed relevant to that question-- a buyer with a long history of making various purchases in DKK for reasons having nothing to do with taking advantage of a mistake has a case to make that he or she was more likely to reasonably believe that there was nothing wrong with the contract. And if you read my post carefully, my proposed solution would permit you to make this exact argument.

The problem is, "d" is REALLY relevant to that question. If in fact, the traveler's motive was to take advantage of the mistake, that's extremely powerful evidence that in fact the purchaser could not have reasonably believed there was no mistake. In other words, it isn't that "e" isn't admissible in a court case-- it's that the jury doesn't have to credit "e" in the face of powerful evidence of "d".

A lot of the arguments in this thread are simply attempts to pretend that "d" isn't relevant at all. And as I said, your best hope is the DOT ruling that indeed "d" isn't relevant at all. But I think the more likely outcome is a ruling that "d" is relevant, and the question is whether they are going to save some tickets of people who can establish bona fide reasons for their purchasing choices.
First there are really two forums in question. DOT and a civil court. I didn't know you wanted to focus on the latter. I'm fairly certain most people are principally concerned with how the DOT will rule and not a jury. Since we are talking about the DOT, does the DOT care whether the consumer knew it was a mistake fare? If you look at the way previous cases were handled by the DOT you would see that that is not really the issue. Are you still going back to your unilateral mistake argument that already the DOT does not currently hold to?

Can you reform your argument? I'm not too interested in seeing how a civil court would handle such a case. Let's focus on the upcoming DOT ruling.
vision20 is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:18 pm
  #4449  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by YuropFlyer
Thats a totally different question..

What if your favorite restaurant would change for robotic service, and they would forget a dish? Would you still insist in paying for it?

UA chose to save money by cheapening it's payment system, by making everything as cheap and automatic as possible.. and apparently choosing some "3rd party vendor" which worked for UA 100% to fix their exchange rate..

This isn't the case where you cheat your local coffee..

This is the case of a big, international company, which saw the opportunity of squeezing out some more pennies from their customers (or did anyone having the "booking charge" of 40$ mentioned?) which went slightly wrong.. and now THEY are crying foul game...
You should go back and re-read my entire statement. I'm not arguing for UA silly-goose.
vision20 is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:18 pm
  #4450  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,859
Originally Posted by luv2ctheworld
Regardless of whether UA's system would (should) have caught this or be responsible for it, the fact they can point the finger at a 3rd party makes it that much easier for them to decline honoring the fare.
Dog ate my homework doesn't fly when you leave kindergarten, and certain not for a 38b company.

Originally Posted by luv2ctheworld
In addition, I'd like to present this scenario for those who claim UA is entirely responsible:
Say an online ticketing agency is the one that committed the currency error and sent the ticket request to UA. UA's website does not reflect the same error price. But bookings via the OTA went through and is automatically ticketed. Should UA honor that OTA's bookings?
UA would be sending a debit memo to the OTA, even if the OTA itself had used a 3rd party.
Also, it the OTA (or UA) had used Amadeus to auto price, then Amadeus would cover the mistakes.
Lack is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:22 pm
  #4451  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: AA Plat, Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 425
Originally Posted by janetdoe
It's more an issue of reciprocity. If I make a mistake and need to change my ticket, it's going to cost me anywhere between <b>$150 and 200.</b>
Unless you paid by Western Union, it's going to cost you between ZERO and $200, depending on when you cancel your ticket. In that manner, if we were going by reciprocity, this is in fact reciprocal.

Originally Posted by janetdoe
And if I need to change my ticket at the last minute, it might cost me $200 plus $3000 or whatever is the cost of a full-fare walkup ticket. When I make a mistake worth thousands of dollars, UA has zero problems collecting it from me. Now they make a thousand-dollar mistake but say I am not entitled to benefit?
In this scenario, you purposely bought a ticket with restrictions and did not cancel within the fee-free window. Is that a "mistake?" Is United "abusing" you in this situation? (My only beef on this thread was the accusation that voiding these DKK tickets constitutes "abuse.")



Originally Posted by janetdoe
Is it OK if UA ends up giving someone a Yugo for a Rolls Royce price? Like above, it is pretty easy to get a TPAC economy flight for $350 each way, but UA had no compunction charging the customer $7000 and then refusing to refund the BMW they had already sold to the customer, probably at a price of ~$3000 in the first place.

I just don't see why it should work one way but not the other. That seems abusive to me.
That's not my question. No, United should not give you a Yugo when you paid for a Rolls Royce, and if they do, you have MANY avenues of recourse, as does this gentleman in the economist's example. But I still cannot see any connection here - big bad evil company hurts this guy, so we all get to hurt big bad evil company back?
dml105 is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:23 pm
  #4452  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: DFW
Programs: AS, BA, AA
Posts: 3,670
Originally Posted by dilanesp
The problem is, "d" is REALLY relevant to that question. If in fact, the traveler's motive was to take advantage of the mistake, that's extremely powerful evidence that in fact the purchaser could not have reasonably believed there was no mistake. In other words, it isn't that "e" isn't admissible in a court case-- it's that the jury doesn't have to credit "e" in the face of powerful evidence of "d".
I think you going in a fundamentally wrong direction by trying to apply typical contract law to an airline.

Simply put, the rules don't apply to airlines. They have their own set of rules.

For example, this seems like a pretty typical example:
1. I purchase a ticket with UA that is supposed to get me to SFO at 10 am Monday morning. I have a 3:00 meeting to sign an important contract.
2. Due to UA's negligence, there is a mechanical problem with the plane I am supposed to fly on. All the other flights are going out on time, but they are booked full. Since my flight is only delayed a few hours, UA refuses to rebook me on another airline.
3. UA says I can switch to another flight, but I will have to throw away my $119 ticket (valueless due to the $150 change fee) and pay $1750, the cost of full-fare Y from DFW-SFO.

In what other industry can you create artificial scarcity due to your own negligence, and then jack up the price more than 10x in order for the customer to get some semblance of what they originally agreed to, and not get sued out of existence for fraud and/or price gouging?

The airlines are totally unique and have huge and arcane bodies of regulation that allow them to get away with things that would be unthinkable in any other industry.

So when one of those regulations happens to fall in the customer's favor, you might understand why we expect that regulation to prevail, in the face of circumstances that would be considered obscene in any other industry or court of law.

Last edited by janetdoe; Feb 18, 2015 at 5:31 pm
janetdoe is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:26 pm
  #4453  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Programs: united
Posts: 1,636
Originally Posted by richarddd
A civil suit doesn't seem a real possibility.

There isn't a private right of action to enforce DOT consumer regs. http://www.americanbar.org/publicati...assengers.html

UA's conditions of carriage appear to allow them to cancel tickets they deem abusive or illogical. The Supreme Court has eliminated a fair amount of state contract law that would allow a plaintiff to argue the CoC is absurd. http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files...nc-v-ginsberg/
There are significant problems with bringing a civil suit, especially if the DOT rules against the passengers.

But despite Ginsberg, in any such suit, (1) contract law would apply, (2) it is at least arguable that the "abusive or illogical" provision does not apply to an mistake fare (it's a contract of adhesion, terms are construed against the drafter, and I bet there's drafting history that the term had nothing to do with mistake fares), and (3) the plaintiff would at the very least be able to cite the DOT rule and argue that it preempts the doctrine of contractual mistake with respect to airline tickets-- the lack of a private right of action is not dispositive on this piont.

I think if the DOT were to rule in the passengers' favor, despite the points you make, a civil suit could become an intriguing possibility. However, if the DOT rules against the passengers, it would be extremely tough because the common law doctrine of unilateral mistake clearly permits UA's actions (at least with respect to most of the tickets) and the DOT's interpretation of its own regulation would be given deference.
dilanesp is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:26 pm
  #4454  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Programs: AA EXP, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 273
Originally Posted by richarddd
A civil suit doesn't seem a real possibility.

There isn't a private right of action to enforce DOT consumer regs. http://www.americanbar.org/publicati...assengers.html

UA's conditions of carriage appear to allow them to cancel tickets they deem abusive or illogical. The Supreme Court has eliminated a fair amount of state contract law that would allow a plaintiff to argue the CoC is absurd. http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files...nc-v-ginsberg/
Yes I agree that a civil suit against the airline would be difficult. I step back on what I said earlier, the common contract law may have the only legal precedence in court against a company. However, you could sue the Department of Transportation if they fail to enforce their regulations (United might voluntarily enter that suit on DOT's side). If you win against DOT, it would put the burden back on United of how they wish to remedy the complaints levied against them (pay the fine, or resolve the complaint to the equivalent of the cancelled ticket, or sue DOT themselves over whether they have the legal authority to impose such regulations)
dlandz is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2015, 5:29 pm
  #4455  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Programs: AA EXP, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 273
By the way I am not a lawyer. I took a legal and ethical studies course in college about 10 years ago though and got an A without trying.

I am a very accomplished arguer though
dlandz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.