I had posted originally that I didn’t think United would honor this, that it was a long shot, and that for all of the armchair lawyering about tickets being issued and DOT regulations that it at least wasn’t obvious to me that it was a slam dunk.
And indeed, it wasn’t. United’s official word is that people can either pay the proper mileage price of the awards or cancel without penalty.
Hi Everyone, over the weekend, we discovered a united.com programming error that allowed customers to obtain Mileage Plus travel awards to and from Hong Kong for as little as four miles roundtrip per person, substantially below published levels, which we disclose to customers. We have since corrected the error and will be in contact with customers who have tickets issued at the incorrect award amounts. Customers will be given the choice to redeem at the correct mileage amount or re-deposit their award with all fees waived. We regret any inconvenience this has caused you, and appreciate your understanding.
Director, Customer Insights
I have to imagine they’ll handle things a bit differently with the handful of folks that are already mid-trip, a few people actually booked yesterday and began flying yesterday and today.
It was a fun ride. I wonder how many of these tickets were issued. I was ‘in’ in case United decided to effectively give me free first class flights to Asia. But I don’t really feel I deserved those tickets. And by making their decision the day after the booking problems I do think they’ve acted timely enough. (Though some will argue that they should be personally contacted by midnight the following day for a fee-free cancel, since that’s what they would have to do if they had made a mistake on a United ticket…)