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United Airlines sells 'free' tickets on website

Human error lead to numerous $0 fare (plus tax) tickets being sold on United's U.S. domestic routes.

Story highlights

  • Customers bought $0 fare tickets on United Airlines' website
  • Buyers spread the word before United corrected the error in about 15 minutes
  • Mistake blamed on glitchy human
  • United hasn't stated whether or not it will honor the tickets

Just when you thought there were no more air-fare bargains left to be found online ...

Customers cruising United Airlines' website for tickets on Thursday got a pleasant surprise.

As reported by Forbes, air fares between cities such as Washington, DC and Minneapolis were being sold on the site for $0 to $10.

Ticket prices on other domestic routes were displayed as $0, plus $5 tax.

Word quickly spread around the Internet and savvy buyers scooped up untold numbers of the dream tickets before United spotted the error.

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The $0 fare and other wildly reduced fares appear to have been available for about 15 minutes, before United shut down its online reservations system, reporting that its site was undergoing maintenance.

"One of our filings today contained an error which resulted in certain fares being displayed as zero. We have corrected this error, " said United in a statement that also blamed human error for the mistake.

The site has since resumed normal operations.

The tickets are sold, now what?

The question now: will United honor the erroneously priced tickets?

Sales of airline tickets based on erroneous fares are nothing new.

In 2012, as reported by hackmytrip.com, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and Travelocity all wrangled with the problem.

Some believe companies should stand by their sales and accept the consequences of their own mistakes.

Others say airlines shouldn't be held accountable for honest mistakes.

United has yet to issue a statement regarding its plans on whether or not to honor the tickets sold at mistaken fares.

Should United Airlines honor the tickets it sold Thursday for $0, $5 and $10? Leave a comment below.