Computer glitch sees passengers buy £35 return from Rome to New York

A computer glitch within Alitalia Airlines system let passengers buy flights for next to nothing.

The technical error meant that thousands of customers, including some Britons, were able to snap up super cheap tickets on a number of routes. One Brit paid just £35 for a return ticket from Rome to New York. Jeremy Myer, 35, from Manchester told the Telegraph: “The order went through and I was sent an e-ticket with flight numbers, order number, seat reservations, and so forth.

“Clearly, in contractual terms, an offer had been made, it had been accepted and I had received the product.” Despite this, a few days later Mr Myers was sent an email from the airline saying his payment had not been processed.The email read: “Thank you for choosing We regret to inform you that your ticket purchase has not been processed. Any amount debited on your account, will be credited back.”

The airline stands to lose tens of thousands of pounds after the computer error allowed travellers to purchase tickets online at an extremely discounted rate. The mistake was made through a promotion that the Italian airline launched on its Japanese website last weekend. It was offering £195 off selected flights to and from Tokyo and Osaka, as well as discounts on a number of other routes.

Some were able to buy the tickets valued at less than the promotional offer and news of the blunder spread on social networking sites. This led to a surge in sales resulting in Alitalia scrapping the promotion and cancelling thousands of tickets bought using the offer. A number of frustrated passengers claimed the original terms and conditions did not state the offer was limited to flights to and from Japan and vented on internet forums.

Since then, the airline has bowed to the pressure and agreed to return some tickets, issuing the statement: “Alitalia intends to protect clients who have committed an, albeit minimal, amount with their credit card. We confirm the validity of the transactions requested on the Japanese site with a value greater than one euro. Those clients will soon receive an email with their ticket.” Mr Myers will now be able to enjoy a low cut price for his transatlantic journey at the expense of the carrier. Travel insurance is highly recommended for overseas travel.

Date Created: 29 October 2012

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