Fri, Feb 23, 2001 EST
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United Plans to Honor Near-Free Internet Tickets
Associated Press
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CHICAGO — Fantasy fares of as little as $25 round-trip to Europe turned out to be a dream come true, after all, for dozens of customers of United Airlines.

Reversing course, United said Monday it would honor the 143 tickets sold on its Web site during a 55-minute period on Jan. 31 when flights for international destinations were offered for next to nothing.

The world's largest carrier blamed a computer error and said last week that anyone who spotted the near-giveaway fares at www.ual.com should have known that the prices — $24.98 for San Francisco to Paris, for example, with similar deals for flights to Hong Kong and other cities — were too good to be true.

That angered ticket-buyers, who argued that listed fares should be binding even if they were unintended.

United spokesman Chris Brathwaite said Monday that while the airline thought it was on solid legal ground with its cancellations, "We've chosen not to make this issue a point of dissatisfaction with our customers."

"We say to them, 'Bon voyage,' and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

Nearly 100 people snapped up the low-low fares, with some purchasing multiple tickets — including a man who bought 17, Brathwaite said. Some accepted United's offer of future travel credit or accommodation in exchange for their paying the lowest available standard fare, he said.

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