Some lucky fliers capitalized on a computer glitch Thursday and scored really cheap flights on Delta Air Lines.
From about 10 a.m. to noon (ET), certain Delta fares on the airline’s own website and other airfare booking sites were showing up incorrectly, offering some savvy bargain hunters incredible deals. A roundtrip flight between Cincinnati and Minneapolis for February was being sold for just $25.05 and a roundtrip between Cincinnati and Salt Lake City for $48.41. The correct price for both of those fares is more than $400.
Trebor Banstetter, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based airline, said the problem has been fixed but “Delta will honour any fares purchased at the incorrect price.”
Jackie Fanelli, 27, learned about the super cheap fares from a friend’s Facebook page. She attempted to purchase a $98 roundtrip first-class ticket from her home city of Baltimore to Honolulu on Priceline but the transaction didn’t process before the deal was shut down.
“It was too good to be true,” Fanelli said. “I try to go away every other year and this was not the year.”
Delta’s website was having lingering problems from the increased traffic Thursday afternoon.
“It looks like Delta’s programmers had a little too much eggnog yesterday,” joked George Hobica.
It’s likely that the airline tried to tweak its fares with a $10 or $20 system-wide change and a junior programmer made a mistake or two, he said.
“People just go wild. People have been bragging about booking six first-class tickets to Hawaii,” Hobica said. “People hate the airlines so much that when this happens, they say: I’m going to get back at you for the time you broke my suitcase and didn’t pay for it.”
Other airlines have faced the same issue. In September United Airlines experienced an error in filing fares to its computer system. Many customers got tickets for $5 or $10, paying only the cost of the Sept. 11 security fee.
New Department of Transportation regulations, aimed at truth in advertising, require airlines to honour any mistake fares offered.
Boston-to-Honolulu round trip for $67.98? Book it, Danno!
Delta Airlines posted shockingly low prices for Bay State-to-Hawaii flights this morning on websites like Expedia and Hotwire in an apparent Web glitch, but consumers hoping to hop to the Pacific for a dirt-cheap winter getaway were quickly locked out of the deals, the Herald has learned.
Several Delta flights from Logan to Honolulu International Airport were advertised for less than $100.
A Herald reporter found a round-trip Delta flight in March from Boston to Honolulu with layovers at Salt Lake City for just $67.98.
That averages to about 0.7 cents per mile to cover the 10,156-mile roundtrip distance between the two cities.
Other Delta flights for varying time periods ranged from $76 to $124.
But buyers still hoping to book the deals appear to be out of luck. Clicking on the rates on sites like Expedia now brings up another screen claiming the price had suddenly jumped to more than $900.
“Your ticket price changed from $68.39 to $954.39,” read a message on Expedia. “The airline could not confirm the original price due to pricing or availability changes that occurred after we posted the latest prices on our site.”
It’s unclear how many bargain-hunting fliers were able to book the low rates, but Delta said they will honor the fares.
A Delta spokesman confirmed to the Herald that flights across the country — not just ones to Hawaii — were also hit by the glitch and posted for a fraction of the cost.
“For a portion of the morning today, some prices on delta.com and other booking channels were incorrectly displayed, resulting in lower than usual fares for customers,” the company said in a statement to the Herald. “The situation has been resolved and the correct prices are being displayed. Delta will honor any fares purchased at the incorrect price.”
It’s not the first time this has happened. A United Airlines Web glitch in October allowed some customers to book flights for mere dollars.