United’s London to US Fares are a No Go

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I tweeted this out earlier today, but unfortunately the DOT has ruled that they are not enforcing United to honor the London to US fares that were about $75 in first class two weeks ago (related post). The day the mistake fare was released, United immediately stated that they weren’t going to honor the fares. The following day, the DOT made a statement that they were going to look into this issue (related post). 

Well, close to two weeks later the DOT came back and stated that they have “informed United that it does not intend to pursue enforcement action in this matter”. Ultimately they state that United is off the hook because they filed their fares correctly, but it was a software error that caused the fare to be displayed much lower than it should have been in the Danish Kroner currency. They also state that people that booked the fare misrepresented themselves and manipulated searching for the flights.

I took advantage of this and of course am bummed to see that the fare is not honored. I actually do not agree with the decision, but such is life. Since when are you not allowed to book on the United Denmark website? And I listed a US address in my billing information. The default country states Denmark, so if the billing address entered is not in Denmark, United’s technology should not have allowed the reservation to go through. While people went this route to jump on a mistake fare, I do not see where anything was manipulated. I also never even received a cancellation email from United two weeks ago.

I’ve also had more than one situation where United has f*ed me over and did not care at all. I am all about fare play with an airline as long as they reciprocate. For example, about 5 years ago I booked a flight using my United miles (first time I booked with United since I was a little kid and my dad managed my account) and the system ticketed my name as “Jen” not “Jennifer”. When my dad made my account he used my shortened name and in those days they simply didn’t care – and I was a kid. Even though I entered “Jennifer” as my passport information, “Jen” stuck on the reservation. I realized this immediately, called United and they told me no issue. When I called back and inquired with a supervisor, she told me no way would I be allowed on the plane. Ultimately, they were less than helpful and wouldn’t help me much since it was past the 24 hour booking window. It caused for many long phone calls with many supervisors and me flying on a different route. It would have cost them nothing to go into the system and change my name, but they refused.

So again, I am totally fine with fair game, but the airlines do not seem to play nice in return. The airlines have taken huge change and cancellation fees from their customers that are beyond reasonable. In this case, I also believe the DOT was extremely biased in this decision.

So there is my stance on the issue. While I wish the flights weren’t cancelled, I am fine with it. What are your thoughts? I am sure there will be a big debate on this one!

Comments

  1. So, as I recall, folks noticed that the billing country changed to the US from Denmark, and required one to specifically change the billing country back to Denmark to proceed. That to me is misrepresentation.

    As far as not receiving a cancellation e-mail – you should be able to go to United.com and check the status of your reservation. I’m not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China, as we’ve already established that their IT is less than stellar.

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