$0 fare to Phoenix does not pass go

  • Article by: SUZANNE ZIEGLER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 9, 2009 - 9:30 PM

With the economy in shambles, airlines are cutting airfares. But free tickets on Northwest?

Those who snagged the fares Thursday found out later that the fares really were too good to be true.

The airline said Monday the tickets sold for travel on Wednesday and beyond would be canceled. It offered to resell the tickets to affected travelers at the lowest-published fare for that route. NWA is honoring the free tickets for those who already have traveled or are in mid-trip.

Delta Air Lines, which acquired Northwest in October, apologized and said the mistake was made when fares were loaded into the computer. The $0 fares showed up on only some sites, such as Travelocity but not or A Delta spokesman, Anthony Black, said the error was caught quickly, but he could not say how many free tickets were involved. Most of the affected flights began in the Twin Cities, he said.

Citing the airline's fare tariff, which says it reserves the right to cancel a ticket if it was bought at an erroneous fare, Black said the free fares won't be honored, but tax and fees will be refunded.

Katherine LaRochelle, of Phoenix, bought five of the tickets between Minneapolis and Phoenix. She thinks the airline should honor the price. "You have hundreds of people who made travel plans around this," she said. LaRochelle said similar mistakes were made when she worked at US Airways but the airline honored the prices.

Minneapolis travel expert Terry Trippler said in this case, he's siding with the airline. "Did they really think that Northwest was selling a ticket for nothing?"

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