British Airways to pay thousands for Web airfare glitch

British Airways site had offered US-to-India for $40

BA 767
You knew this one was too good to be true: British Airways offering US-to-India for $40? Well, 1,200 people tried to take advantage of the offer within minutes of its posting on the air carrier's Web site only to have their bookings cancelled after BA realized the error (the lowest US-India fare being offered by British Airways at the time was over $750).  

Today BA in an agreement with the US Department of Transportation's Aviation Enforcement Office, said it will compensate consumers for cancellation penalties and other expenses incurred due to the Web posting. 

British Airways also agreed to reimburse passengers for their expenses resulting from having relied on the erroneous $40 fare.  These could include fees for cancelling flights or cancelling hotels, rental cars or other ground arrangements, as well as additional costs incurred in rebooking flights due to fare increases on previously held flights that were cancelled in order to book the $40 fare, the DOT stated. 

The DOT noted too that even before it looked into the situation, the air carrier had offered all affected passengers a $300 travel voucher. 

The $40 fare, which did not includes taxes and fees, was posted on British Airways' own website at about 6:30 pm on Oct. 2.  The carrier realized its error nearly immediately and removed the fare within minutes from its own website, but it remained on the websites of certain on-line travel agents for about two hours.  During this time, more than 1,200 bookings were made covering approximately 2,200 passengers, the DOT stated.   

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