Saturday from the Archives: Airlines and Mistake Fares

Given all of the hoo-hah about United not having to honor the 4 mile tickets to China, I thought this week’s piece from the archives would be about what happens when an airline makes a mistake…(my 2 cents about the 4 mile tickets: Everyone who bought the tickets knew it was a mistake. United could have chosen to honor them. They did not. Get over it. What if they sold so many tickets for 4 miles that the company would have gone out of business? Would they have to honor that? I understand the rule about airlines having to honor fares, but I think we have to use a little logic here as well.)

August 2011
There is an absolutely ridiculous thread over at Flyertalk about a pair of headphones that were recently available on the American Airlines Shopping site that would net you, supposedly, 83,871 miles with purchase. I say “supposedly” because the site did say that you would enjoy 83,871 miles with the purchase of a $60 pair of headphones, but also because everyone knew that there was some sort of mistake at play here.

Read the rest of the article here…


  1. Nice even- handed comments on the subject. I seriously cannot understand how some of these people can justify this practice of what is essentially watching a business like a hawk waiting to immediately pounce on the slightest and most innocent mistake in the hopes of forcing that business to give them something of extreme value in exchange for essentially nothing. Quite the predatory game they’re playing. And then some have the nerve to claim that THEY are the victims when the biz doesn’t give in to such tactics. Amazing.
    And one more comment. It’s really hilarious to hear such people try to justify their position and cry foul by pointing to how long the particular business allowed the mistake in question to stand before they finally corrected it when every one of these people know full well the #1, #2 and #3 rules in this gotcha game is to “never ever call the business and ask about this apparent mistake” for the sole reason of not drawing the business’ a attention to their mistake and allow as much time as possible to allow as many people as possible to get in on the “deal.”
    But apparently as long as the DOT backs them up, this is a perfectly ethical game to play. Pretty sad.
    /vent off