August 9, 2012 United’s 4-mile debacle, United lies to the DOT and the Public
(author’s bias, I have two tickets issued on the deal)
So it is old news that United issued a bunch of tickets for first class travel between the U.S. and destinations in China. United very quickly issued a response that they would cancel all of the tickets issued for travel after 7/21/2012.
This was a lie.
No doubt United has received numerous complaints from the DOT regarding this position. Fair enough, but the actual truth is quite damning. United has been lying this whole time. United has very quietly been honoring selective tickets. I know of two people personally who’s tickets have been honored. One, was booked over the internet for a family of three. The second, one was booked for a single person over the phone.
Now, I am privy to some inside information coming out of United. The information is a few weeks old, but is reflects poorly on United’s representatives to the DOT. United while in talks with the DOT put forward two arguments. First, that because it was a computer error UA should not be liable for tickets issued by their computer system. However, United’s argument is disclaimed by their actions. They have been selectively honoring those tickets. This negates United’s statements to the DOT and the Public. It also shows that United is willing to accept responsibility for tickets issued over the internet.
United’s next argument is straight ridiculous. United argued that because the buyers were savvy they should have known the deal was too good to be true. United who are you to say who is savvy or not. Are you going to make this determination on an individual basis, or just call everyone savvy? Also United on weekly basis issues rewards for less than their posted amount on their e-deals page.
United, it’s one thing go back on your word. (United previously issued a statement stating that they would honor mistake fares generally) It is another thing to lie to your frequent flyer base and potentially the DOT. In United’s July in-flight magazine United’s CEO makes the case that United is subject to too much government regulation. Well, it seems to me that a company that breaks faith in this way is deserving of all the regulation that it gets.