United Airlines Debacle, Should You Complain to the DOT?

By now you all know about the amazing short lived deals that United brought us with their third party errors. Now we learned that United will not honor those first class tickets sold at insanely low prices and surely there’s a lot of anger from those lucky ones who were able to grab such deals. Many have already complained to the DOT and you can do so as well by using this online form. But should you?

Opinion vary here and most blogs are up in arms against United, mentioning previous cases where mistake fares were honored. I think I have to go on the other corner of this debate though, and not just because I’m sour over not being able to get a ticket myself (by the time I woke up, the deal was almost over and my attempts were unsuccessful).

United Airlines

I have been screwed over by airlines in the past, with many types of fees. Some you you might have been charged for am erroneous booking. But should we get back at United just because we’re mad at them? We sure can, but we shouldn’t claim that they owe us those tickets. This wasn’t just a simple mistake fare, but mistake that had to be combined with some low level fraud, in order to get those thousand dollar fares for $70-80.

To get the discount fares, one had to misrepresent information, in this case as booking from Denmark. Knowingly writing your US address, with Denmark as the country, is intentional fraud. So sure, some of us hoped that those deals would be honored, but we have no right to demand those tickets and United should be under any legal obligations to honor them. It might have been a good idea for them from a PR point of view, but maybe this was a big hit to take financially.

So in my opinion, calls for complaints to the DOT are unacceptable. We hunt for deals, and we pray for errors like this one, but we have to let this one go and not be too greedy. We did have our first ever visitor from Denmark today though (not making this up), and he might be the only reader with the moral right to complain if he booked a ticket.

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I kept this a little short, but may update it later with some more thoughts. In the meantime let us know if you were able to book one of these fares and if you think of filing a complaint with the DOT or just your thoughts on the matter.

3 thoughts on “United Airlines Debacle, Should You Complain to the DOT?

  1. Pingback: United Debacle, DOT is Reviewing Consumer Complaints | Danny the Deal Guru

  2. I didn’t get lucky that morning but if I had booked a flight, and they didn’t honor it, I would be pissed and I would file a complaint for sure. They were the one that made the offer, mistake or not, third party or not, and they have to honor what they offer. People just booked what was available and didn’t steal anything from United.

    • Matt, in this case it wasn’t as simple as just booking what was available. You had to intentionally input your country as Denmark, in order to receive the low prices, so you are not just simply booking a flight. Again I understand people trying to get back at an airline, since we have all been victims of their fees, more than once. But in this case there’s no ground for complaints imo.

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