If you happened to log onto British Airways’ site Oct. 2, you could have bought a $40 flight to India. Well, you could have bought the flight, but wouldn’t have been able to use the tickets because the airline said the offer was a mistake.
From a Department of Transportation press release:
British Airways, in an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Enforcement Office, will compensate consumers for cancellation penalties and other expenses incurred due to the carrier’s erroneous offer of $40 fares between the United States and India. The lowest U.S.-India fare being offered by British Airways prior to the mistaken ad, not including taxes, was over $750.
The $40 fare, which did not includes taxes and fees, was posted on British Airways’ own website at about 6:30 pm on Oct. 2. The carrier realized its error nearly immediately and removed the fare within minutes from its own website, but it remained on the websites of certain on-line travel agents for about two hours. During this time, more than 1,200 bookings were made covering approximately 2,200 passengers. British Airways cancelled the bookings of all passengers who purchased the fare and, before the Enforcement Office began its review of the matter, offered all affected passengers a travel voucher valued at $300.
“We are pleased to see that British Airways has accepted responsibility for the fares it published,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “This agreement with British Airways will compensate passengers for losses they suffered as a result of the carrier’s mistaken fare offer.”
In consultation with the Aviation Enforcement Office, British Airways also has agreed to reimburse passengers for their expenses resulting from having relied on the erroneous $40 fare. These could include fees for cancelling flights or cancelling hotels, rental cars or other ground arrangements, as well as additional costs incurred in rebooking flights due to fare increases on previously held flights that were cancelled in order to book the $40 fare.
British Airways also agreed to provide notice of its offer to all consumers on its website. Further information about filing a claim with British Airways is available at http://www.britishairways.com/travel/home/public/en_us.
The “my bad, how about a do-over” thing isn’t all that uncommon for British Airlines recently.
Department Ensures British Airways Offers Reimbursements Following Erroneous Fare Offer [U.S. Department of Transportation]