United Airlines doesn't have to honor super-cheap fares, feds say

Error in converting the Danish krone led to ultra low United Airlines fares

Bad news for travelers who booked ridiculously cheap flights with United Airlines last month: The federal government won’t force United to honor the fares.

The problem started when United’s website for Denmark travelers offered first-class transatlantic tickets from England for as little as $51, among other super-cheap fares. United said the mistake was due to a miscalculation in the conversion of the Danish krone. The airline said it would not honor those tickets.

Thousands of travelers who booked the cheap tickets contacted the U.S. Department of Transportation, pointing out that federal rules forbid airlines from raising fares after they have been booked.

In a memo issued last week, the department’s enforcement office said the erroneous fares appeared on the United website for travelers from Denmark. The agency said it only enforces rules about fares that are marketed to U.S. consumers.

As for those U.S. travelers who booked the super-low fares by logging onto the website and identified themselves as being from Denmark, the federal agency said it wouldn't get involved because such manipulation and misrepresentation demonstrates bad faith.

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