A Lucky Few Score Cheap Plane Tickets From Unitedhttp://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/09/16/a-lucky-few-score-cheap-plane-tickets-from-united.aspx Adam Levine-Weinberg
September 16, 2013
United Continental (NYSE: UAL) may be the most hated airline in America: It received far more passenger complaints than any other airline last year. Yet the carrier made some customers very happy last Thursday when it accidentally posted some fares at ridiculously low prices, charging just $5 round-trip on many flights!
The mistake fares were only available for a couple of hours, according to a United spokesperson. Yet that was enough time for many people to discover them, especially once the news began to spread via Twitter and other channels. Luckily for them, United decided to honor the tickets rather than try to cancel them en masse.
Since most customers should have realized that the company would not deliberately give away tickets in mass quantities, United could have attempted to cancel the reservations. (Some airlines have successfully canceled "mistake" fares in the past.) However, doing so would have inevitably led to bad press -- and possibly a lawsuit or fine.
United sells approximately $90 million of tickets per day on average, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The "mistake fares" were available for just two or three hours, and covered only a handful of routes. On the flip side, once people started to notice the abnormally cheap fa