Should I help passengers with their United Airlines “zero” fares?

Anatoliy Lukich / Shutterstock.com
Anatoliy Lukich / Shutterstock.com

At 2:47 p.m. today, I received the first email from reader Nancy O’Neill. She wanted to know if a “zero” fare she’d just found on the United Airlines website would be honored. I’m sure it won’t be the last one.

O’Neill already felt a little beat up by United’s incomprehensible fare rules. She was trying to make a change to a flight from Houston to Louisville, but the $200 change fee would eat most of the value of her ticket.

“I decided to look at canceling my entire trip and just booking one way return from Louisville to Houston,” she says.

That’s when United quoted her the zero fare, not including $2.50 in taxes. Wow.

“My question is: will United honor this ticket when I show up at the airport?” she asked.

Probably not.

United is reportedly considering it. I think it’s well within its rights to cancel all of the tickets.

But should I pressure United into honoring these fares? I mean, it offered them online. Shouldn’t it have to honor these prices?

We’ve had this debate a time or two. O’Neill is one of the honest ones, for which I’d certainly consider going to bat.

The ticket thieves who found out about this fare glitch on one of those bottom-feeding loyalty program blogs or discussion forums and took advantage of this? Less inclined to help them.

What do you think? Should I get involved if necessary?

Should I help passengers with their United Airlines "zero" fares?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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