United Airlines To Honor Cheap Tickets Issued in Airfare Glitch

Passengers reported buying tickets for $5 to $10 before United shut down the bookings on its website

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Oak Lawn man buys six round-trip tickets to Los Angeles for $60 after United Airlines makes mistake with online fare system. (Published Thursday, Sep 12, 2013)

    A day after some United Airlines passengers scored dirt-cheap tickets because of an airline error, the Chicago-based company confirmed it won't invalidate the fares.

    United Continental Holdings Inc. spokeswoman Megan McCarthy told NBC News the airline will honor the cheap or free flights. As for how it happened, McCarthy said it was human error and not a computer glitch.

    Passengers on Thursday reported buying tickets for $5 to $10 before United shut down the bookings on its website and phone centers to prevent more tickets from being sold or given away.

    McCarthy said someone accidentally filed some fares for $0. Airport charges might have resulted in a small cost seen by some passengers.

    Bob Stokas, of the Chicago suburb Oak Lawn, was one of the lucky ones who was perusing the site for fares at the right time. He was searching for a round-trip ticket to LA next June to watch the Sox -- and expecting to pay up to $400 for each ticket -- when noticed the bargain-basement fares.

    "When I scrolled down past the non-stop fares, when I got to the connecting flights, the flights to and from Los Angeles per person was $10," Stokas said. "That was a shock and a surprise, and I was like, 'I've got to book this flight right now before they rescind their offer of $10 for this flight.'"

    Stokas ended up buying tickets for his two kids and his parents -- a total of six tickets for $60. By the time he started trying to buy tickets to Roanoke, Va., for this weekend, the site shut down.

    The website was accepting reservations again around 2:45 p.m. Central time.

    Such fare mistakes have happened before, often when an airline dropped a digit when entering fares into its computer system.