Mistake fares really are mistakes again

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Wandering Aramean, May 10, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Effective 8 May 2015 the US DoT will no longer enforce the requirement that airlines honor mistake fares. Citing "concern regarding how quickly mistaken fares are spread though postings on aviation and travel websites, forums, and blogs," the DoT sought comment in May 2014 about changing the rules. Even with review of those comments pending (comment period closed in September 2014) the Department has chosen a policy of "non-enforcement" effective with the issuance of the statement last Friday.

    Essentially the issuance of "thousands" of mistake fare tickets before the airlines could react and plug the holes was sufficient to get their collective voice heard by the DoT and stop the game.

    Read more of my analysis on the DoT stopping enforcement of mistake fare rules.

    Read the official statement from the DoT.
     
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  2. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    It was a matter of time before the loophole was closed......
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Hard to call an explicitly defined set of parameters a "loophole" but I agree that it was only a matter of time before things shifted once again. I think they've shifted too far towards favoring the airlines this time around but we're getting closer to a middle ground. Slowly, but surely.
     
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  4. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    Glad I'm Million Miler before the airlines changed the rules.
    Glad I flew on mistake fares in the past.

    It was nice while it lasted.

    Let me know when the economy goes south. Prediction > airline rules ie mileage earning, will return to days of old.

    I'm moving up to the stands to watch the game go forward. Anyone care to join me? TravelBloggerBuzz?

    And for anyone that cares, BRT rambles on. ;)

    dh
     
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  5. 2lovelife
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    2lovelife Silver Member

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    The switch from contract law to the DoT rule was a cowardice move. Either we have a point or we don't. The government was correct to get out of the process.

    They define the ticket rules. We don't. Once a contract is made, we can't change. And, neither can they.

    By pressing them on their terms, we may be able to do one of two things. 1) Solidify our ability to fly mistake fares, due to the contracts they enforce, or 2) Encourage, through mistake fares, their adoption of less punitive rules for cancelling the contract; Less punitive for both them and us, the consumer.

    I don't mind this change. It just means we're back at square one... and we had a solid argument and precedent in forcing the enforcement of contracts in the past.
     
  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    All well and good until they leverage the "right" to unilaterally change at will with virtually no recourse. There is the potential for the carriers to significantly abuse that situation should they see fit.
     
  7. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I hope everyone here who shares the concerns made their feelings known after the NPRM was publicized. The Feds are required to take these into account.

    http://www.noticeandcomment.com/DOT-OST-2014-0056-0480-fcod-1577107.aspx

    bestinclassredtailshark@gmail.com

    A useful technique is also to write political reps pointing out such comments in NPRM, which are public documentary record. I do so. Not only for this case. I hate secretive maneuverings by public bodies to deprive citizens of their rights or behind-the-curtain maneuverings to intepret existing rules and laws in ways favorable to commercial interests. Which is what is happening here.... what if I, the consumer, determine that the fare I bought was a "mistake" b/c I see fares fall...evidence supports the interpretation of "mistake" so I want to renege and be refunded at will.... etc.

    BTW don't you guys like my email? :D
     
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  8. Mrlasssen

    Mrlasssen Silver Member

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    And just how are customers suppose to know when a fair is really a mistake when we see $19 to $79 fares advertised all the time. Didn't a carrier just advertise a $99 trans Atlantic fare recently. If that fair was advertised as first class to SYD from LAX that would be obvious, but when it is not obvious I wouldn't classify it mistake pricing by some fat fingers.
     
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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I just bought a ticket from SEA to ANC for $110 one way. Significantly below the "regular" fare but presumably not a mistake but rather the result of a price war. But, as the previous poster said, how can I as a consumer distinguish between exceptionally low fares as a result of a mistake or as a result of competition?
     
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  10. flightfishing

    flightfishing Active Member

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    I did an interview with Yahoo Travel today about these and would like to suggest that, in addition to making a public comment, you consider signing the change.org petitiong I've set up. Regardless of how you feel about the old rules, deciding not to enforce them and leaving a giant void was not the right plan.

    I'm usually just a lurker 'round these parts so I can't post a link... forgive the wonky address:

    change DOT org/p/department-of-transportation-enact-a-clear-and-fair-policy-that-protects-consumers-when-airlines-make-pricing-mistakes
     
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  11. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    I think every time we buy a ticket we need to call up the airline and ask for written confirmation that it was not a mistake fare.
     
  12. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Maybe if the rule required that all fares be honored after 24 hours from reservation (matching our window to cancel without penalty), the spread of the news would be contained as those who discovered the fare would keep it to themselves.
     
  13. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    You seem to have a business interest in this.
     
  14. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    I don't see a connection?? And if so, why would it matter?
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Seems more like an infomercial for the guy's "aggregation service of mistake fare data".

    The letter to the DOT is a one liner. Clearly a lot of thought went into crafting that :/
     
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  16. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    You click on the petition and it refers to the guy's business. People might want to support the idea of the petition, but not the reference to his business. It seems self serving IMO. One might even argue that his business is one of the reasons why the rule is being changed.

    BTW, the above post is only his second on MP. IIRC he's also trying to get support for the petition on FT. WWhen I looked, the petition had one supporter of the 100 goal.
     
  17. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    Lots of people on mp and FT that have something to sell, and/or an idea to push. So what.
    FYI, mp has been more tolerant of these things than FT.

    If you're not interested, don't click on, or copy/paste.
     
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  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I appreciate someone else pointing out that this was a self-serving post rather than my wasting my own time to learn that.
     
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  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Wasn't me :)

    IMO, the petition is self-defeating. Here is a business that is based on exploiting fare mistakes demanding protection for its business model. I am sure that will be well received at the DOT.
     
  20. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Maybe the airlines will support the petition. Better this one than something written by people who don't have a business interest in the outcome.
     

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