United Airlines said it’s reviewing whether to honor an unknown number of tickets accidentally offered online for free after faulty data was put into its reservations system.
The booking portion of United.com had to be shut down while the carrier fixed the error, said Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. The fares were only on the website and weren’t distributed to other channels such as travel agencies, she said.
The fault “was not technology-based,” she said, without giving details on the reasons or the length of the website shutdown. Errant prices appeared for “a couple hours” at midday, McCarthy said.
Many of the tickets had a total cost of $5 or $10, suggesting that United was only collecting a mandatory 9/11 security fee of $2.50 per leg, said Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare.com, a ticket research firm based in Dallas.