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$0 Airfare on United


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I'd be interested to know the lost revenue (or the number of freebie fares) involved, but it will probably never be divulged. A silver lining is UA gets ancillary revenue (bag fees, food for purchase, etc) and maybe increased customer loyalty for future travel. But UA had to shut down their website and phone reservations for a few hours...anyone who went to another airline during the shutdown adds to the lost revenue.


A friend was at an annual trade show last week. Part of the recognition/awards banquet was a comedian. She was pretty raunchy, and some of her "jokes" were rather racist and insulting to companies in attendance. Quite a few attendees walked out and companies filed formal complaints to the trade group. I told my friend the person who picked the comedian was no doubt in line behind the person at UA at the unemployment office!

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If I am not mistaken, according to my two airline dispatchers in our NYC office, the glitch lasted just about an hour total-from the time someone discovered it until United stopped it. It had actually been around for about 40 minutes before Fat Wallet put out a tweet, sent it to Facebook and all h*** broke loose. According to my dispatchers, it was kept pretty darn quiet on Flyertalk to make the deal last as long as possible.


But once it makes it to Fat Wallet, these glitch deals are over pretty quick. You have a lot of high school and college kids just grabbing, grabbing, grabbing more for bragging rights than being able to actually use the ticket.


We flew to Fiji for $61 (Travelocity glitch they honored). Everyone who got a ticket got a personal email from Michelle Peluso, CEO, advising the tickets would be honored and to please remember Travelocity for future bookings. It was estimated the Fiji glitch cost Travelocity about $900,000 BUT it was also estimated they got $200,000 of it back in hotel bookings, tours and rental cars for the Fiji deal and future good will and bookings actually resulted in their mistake being pretty cheap advertising.


DH and buddies flew to Iceland for $60 (this was supposed to be a BOGO type companion fare but they forgot to make the companion ticket available) and BA had $20 flights to Europe about 6 years ago on New Years day (according to Flyertalk legend, someone forgot to change the date to the new year) and it messed up the computers somehow and allowed tickets to be sold for $20.

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