Is it ever OK to steal from an airline?

Andrew Popov/Shutterstock
Andrew Popov/Shutterstock
Lauren is a thief.

At least that’s how I’ve described people like her in the past — air travelers who find an obvious airfare error online, book it, and then expect to fly.

Lauren is also a victim.

She’s been taken advantage of on two levels. Her online travel agency, Expedia, canceled her ticket only a few days before her scheduled flight from Myanmar to Vancouver on ANA without saying anything, forcing her to buy another seat at the last minute.

And let’s just say the airline industry hasn’t been kind to her in the past. More on that in a moment.
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Should airlines honor low fares that are obvious mistakes?

Royce Smith planned to visit Sydney during spring break to attend an arts festival and work on a book, when he found an unbelievably good fare on American Airlines’ Web site: A round-trip ticket from Wichita to Sydney for just $1,198.

In first class.

“I jumped on the deal,” said Smith, an assistant art professor at Wichita State University. “I entered credit card details and double-checked American’s booking code to ensure that first class was indeed what I was purchasing. Everything indicated a confirmed seat in first class.”

He shouldn’t have believed it.
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