This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

United Airlines: We Didn't Have a Computer Glitch

CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- The latest false Internet story about United (UAL - Get Report) accuses the carrier of a computer glitch after scammers were able to convince themselves they had bought airplane tickets for $5.

The Internet is a place where if you falsely convince yourself that you successfully committed a scam, you then brag about it online, where your boast gets picked up and made into "news" stories.

The trouble with this particular story is that United never sold any tickets to the scammers. "We didn't have a Web site glitch and we did not issue any tickets" as a result of the scam, said United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson.

On Tuesday, about a dozen Internet stories reported that a United computer glitch enabled customers to buy international travel tickets for bargain prices, variously reported as $5, $10 and $49.40. A typical headline proclaimed "Nearly Free Flights Thanks to United Glitch."

The stories all followed an article that appeared Monday in Mashable, a New York-based Web site that primarily covers technology, social media and entertainment.

In the story, Mashable detailed the scam devised by an unidentified reader, who was able to simultaneously enter the booking site with two different browsers, and then to game the site into thinking that a frequent flier account had enough mileage to obtain a free ticket, when in fact it didn't. The scammer, able to secure a reservation confirmation, then convinced himself he had bought a ticket.

The Mashable reporter wrote that by following the same process he was one click away from buying a round-trip flight from Newark to Dublin for $49.40, the cost of taxes and fees.

In some cases, the scammers later complained on the Internet that pending charge authorizations showed up in their credit card accounts -- perhaps as a virtual indication that crime doesn't pay.

United's Johnson reiterated Wednesday that whatever else happened, the scam didn't work.

"Several customers attempted to manipulate to knowingly purchase tickets without having the required award miles in their accounts," he said. "Those customers who received a confirmed reservation from did not in fact receive a ticket, pending deposit of the required mileage."

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
UAL $61.00 -1.60%
AAPL $131.14 -1.10%
FB $81.17 -0.90%
GOOG $554.13 -0.22%
TSLA $231.09 -0.20%


DOW 18,092.95 +54.98 0.30%
S&P 500 2,113.16 +4.24 0.20%
NASDAQ 5,058.6160 -1.63 -0.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs