**As of 4pm Pacific on 6/13/2022 Delta has started sending out cancelation notices **
On June 11 Delta Airlines sold Korean Air First Class tickets from New York for just $2,700. When booking via American Express IAP program the cost dropped to just $2,350. A real deal for First Class. The sale started sometime around 9am Pacific and was available nearly all day. Finally drying up around 5pm Pacific time. Several of you are now asking, what now? Should you plan the rest of your vacation?
The First Class Deal
For those of you who missed it, know that this was an amazing deal. The tickets were available via Delta Air Lines for flights on Korean Air. The codeshare flights were only sold and marketed by Delta. Including a First class flight between the United States and Seoul on Korean Air and then business class to Denpasar, Indonesia; Bali. Several different routings were available, with the majority of flights either being direct from JFK or connecting via LAX. Other options included an extra connection via Taipei on China Airlines with an overnight layover in Taipei.
The flights sold are all fully refundable in First class. Plane and simple. $2,700 is not cheap. Even business class tickets between New York and Bali are averaging over $4,000 for most of the year. Meaning $2,700 for first class is a fantastic deal.
First class, offering a more luxury experience costs even more. Easily topping over $11,000 round trip!
Although Korean’s Air First class is no where as luxurious as their competition, such as JAL’s First Class. Korean Air First class does offer an upgraded experience over business. Especially on daytime flights and when departing from Seoul. Hence why a first class ticket for $2,700 is considered a deal. Is it a sale, or a mistake? That’s the million dollar question and can be argued both ways. The deal was available for 8+ hours. Usually mistake fares only last a couple hours at most.
Now What – We Wait
The real question on everyone’s mind is now what happens. Will these tickets be honored? Can Delta honor the fare? Will Korean Airlines allow us to fly? Currently, these tickets are sold and show confirmed. I have two tickets purchased. Both show confirmed. Both show First class between the USA and Korean. I even have selected my Seats. Yet the real question is, will these tickets stick?
Airlines have a HORRIBLE practice of selling tickets and then retracting them. It’s one of the few industries where they can get away with selling a product and then canceling it on the consumer. Even though the flights are not actually canceled and are operating. With that in mind, we now wait to see what will happen. Historically, airlines address these matters within days, not weeks. Being a weekend, I expect we won’t know if these fares are honored until Monday or Tuesday. In the meantime, wait it out. I highly recommend not purchasing any other components of your vacation which not fully refundable.
What the Law Says
The law is messy. Like most things in the United States. In 2012, the Department of Transportation (DOT) established clear rules. Provision 399.88 protects consumers against changing the price of a ticket after purchase. For years, this meant that airlines had to honor mistake fares. We have seen amazing deals stick such as Cathay’s First Class for just $675. Yet, we’ve seen other airlines void cheap tickets calling them a mistake. United famously voided tickets in 2015 purchased in Danish Kroner conversion errors.
On May 8, 2015 the DOT issued a Mistaken Fare Policy Statement. Basically rewriting the rules of mistake fares. Giving airlines the power to void basically any ticket they wish.
As a matter of prosecutorial discretion, the Enforcement Office will not enforce the requirement of section 399.88 with regard to mistaken fares occurring on or after the date of this notice so long as the air line or seller of air transportation: (1) demonstrates that the fare was a mistaken fare; and (2) reimburses all consumers who purchased a mistaken fare ticket for any reasonable, actual and verifiable out-of-pocket expenses that were made in reliance upon the ticket purchase, in addition to refunding the purchase price of the ticket.
Since then, we’ve seen all types of bogus cancellations. Air Canada canceled $400 economy tickets to Australia, claiming them to be a mistake. Air France voided all First Class tickets sold at a discount. Some airlines have honored fares, others have not. The problem is an airline could potentially claim that any airfare sale is a mistake fare. Not just a “promotion”.
We currently do not know if the First class fares to Bali for $2,700 will be honored. Despite being sold via multiple sites and distributors, Delta could claim this was a mistake and not an available fare. Korean Air may also reject the tickets. If the airlines do cancel the tickets, you can file a complaint with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the DOT. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes. The airlines are required to respond to all DOT complaints. Although it may not change anything, it creates a paper trail. Maybe some sweet revenge as it ties up resources?
Will Delta and Korean Airlines honor these fares? That is the million dollar question and many of us are awaiting an answer. Don’t get your hopes up, but I am staying slightly optimistic for now. Did you take advantage of this deal? What are your thoughts?