Lots of folks got all sorts of excited over a discount code for JPY 25000 off Alitalia flights available on the carrier’s Japanese site. There was a similar (though less lucrative) offer on the Russian site. They were supposed to be for tickets originating in those countries but someone managed to program the codes incorrectly and they actually worked for all flights. Many, many were booked. And now, not too surprising, the flights are being canceled. The surprising part, in many ways, is that the company managed to actually kill the mistake on a Sunday morning.
The outrage is being heard on FlyerTalk and there are plenty of people suggesting avenues of recourse. Back when the exposure on a mistake like this was relatively small it was easy for the airline to handle the costs of the error. With some claims suggesting the impact in the millions of dollars it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the airline is at least going to try to bail on this one.
It is somewhat interesting that they are suggesting the tickets are being canceled due to fraud systems:
Our anti-fraud systems have suspended transactions with credit cards or I.P addresses from countries other than the site where the reservation was created. For all uncommitted transactions, the system has sent an email to the address used for the reservation. Please try again taking advantage of the discount of 25% off by using the code shown in the e-coupon facebook page.
If the tickets were not actually issued then it will be much harder for anyone to force Alitalia’s hand on this. And it will not surprise me if the various regulatory authorities side with the carrier, assuming they can show transactions were never completed. Showing that may be a challenge, but it could happen.
I’ve got my popcorn ready.