United Airlines has announced that it will honor the tickets it mistakenly sold for next to nothing on Thursday. An airline spokeswoman emailed CultureMap this comment, which was also tweeted on the United Twitter account:
We’ve reviewed the error that occurred yesterday and based on these specific circumstances, we will honor the tickets.— United (@united) September 13, 2013
For a couple of hours, customers were able to book tickets on United's website for only the cost of a 9-11 security fee, between $5 and $10 for around-trip ticket. (Full disclosure, I was one of the lucky ones who happened onto the site while looking for travel to Los Angeles and booked a ticket for the ridiculously low fare.)
The airline, which blamed the problem on human error and not a computer malfunction, fixed the problem, but did not immediately say if the tickets would be honored. Airlines are not required to honor fares when mistakes happen, but it appears that the airline, which has suffered a barrage of negative publicity since merging with Continental Airlines three years ago, considered it more palatable to eat the costs of the tickets rather than risk public outcry, particularly on social media sites.
The airline did not say how many free tickets were issued.