On Saturday, a pricing error caused several USAirways routes to go on sale for about $40 all-in. I was out of town on Saturday and couldn’t take advantage of the fares. One thing worth noting was the stand-up response from USAirways:
- “Obviously, if we sold any tickets at that rate, we’ll honor them,” said airline spokesman Chuck Allen.
Three cheers for USAirways!
In my experience, error rates where money has already changed hands are usually honored. United’s $29 Paris fares, British Airways’ $20 World Traveler Plus fares to Europe, Mexicana’s $55 business class fares to Puerta Vallarta were all honored. Thai Airways’ first class fare from London to Bangkok was not — the fare could be reserved online but had to be ticketed in person (and Thai’s London offices were closed for the weekend, by the time they were reopened the error was discovered).
Hotel error rates are a somewhat different story. When Starwood’s Bora Bora Nui Resort published a rate of about $80 — about 90% off the usual price — they didn’t honor the offering. They even agreed to reimburse travelers who may have already purchased nonrefundable airfare. Of course, money hadn’t changed hands on the reservation yet.
Last week, Starwood’s Lanesborough hotel in London had a $35 offering including Mercedes airport transfer and breakfast. The hotel was otherwise-bookable for about $300. Rooms booked on Orbitz are being honored, with Orbitz picking up the difference between the discount offering and what the hotel actually charged. Rooms booked at Starwood.com are being honored for up to three nights only and without the airport transfer or breakfast. So there’s the odd situation of customers of third-party websites receiving a greater benefit than those booking directly with the hotel.
Then zen of which errors get honored are indeed a tricky matter. But kudos to USAirways! (Hat tip to Tripso Daily.)