Department of Transportation Rules British Airways Is Responsible for Mistake Fare

Last month I said that Wandering Aramean was going a bit far in suing British Airways over their failure to honor a mistake fare to India.

Apparently the Department of Transportation disagrees with me.

Wandering Aramean posts an update with a Department of Transportation ruling: “We believe that all airlines should accept some responsibility for even the erroneous fares they publish.”

The DOT contends that British Airways should compensate consumers to make them whole. And British Airways is offering to reimburse customers for expenses incurred as a result of the mistake fare.

British Airways is prepared to reimburse you for penalties imposed by an airline or ground service provider as a result of your cancellation of air or ground arrangements in reliance on your cancelled British Airways booking. British Airways will also reimburse those passengers who necessarily incurred added air fare costs in restoring a pre-existing booking or reservation from the United States to India if that booking or reservation was abandoned as a result of making the cancelled booking on British Airways. Further, if you have incurred any other out-of-pocket expense, British Airways Customer Relations will make appropriate reimbursement to you in circumstances where the losses were caused by reasonable reliance on a British Airways flight booked between the U.S. and India on October 2, 2009 and its subsequent cancellation.

An interesting DOT precedent for future mistake fares, indeed.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. The key thus far is that they only seem to be willing to reimburse for actual expenses incurred for canceling other plans, not simply to honor the price/value of the trip. In other word most folks will still not get to visit India nor will they receive any actual compensation. I’m hoping that changes next Thursday when I have my day in court.

  2. My interpretation matches The Wandering Aramean‘s.

    While the DOT comment is good, the BA response is not (yet) to honor the mistake. This one has more water to pass under the bridge before it is done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *