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Delta overcharges some fliers because of computer glitch

May 16, 2012

Delta Air Lines says a computer glitch caused inconsistencies in airfares between fliers who were logged into the airline’s website and those who were not.

Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec told Today in the Sky that fares were higher for some passengers and lower for others. The carrier has not yet determined how many customers were affected, he said.

Minneapolis’ WCCO first reported on the discrepancies after business executives Patrick Smith and Steve Lisle, who happened to be booking flights side-by-side from Minneapolis to St. Louis a few weeks ago, were given two different prices for an economy seat. Lisle was not logged into his SkyMiles account and was offered a ticket for $300 less.

The men called a Delta operator. “She said that’s the way their system works, that’s the way their system is set up and that was the end of the conversation,” Smith told WCCO.

ALSO ONLINE:  United customers complain of glitches after computer switchover

They decided to dig deeper, trying to book five more trips with the same dates and flight numbers. On three of those trips, the frequent flier ended up paying more. The TV station tried to book three trips and got different fares on one.

The Atlanta-based airline says the opposite scenario also happened, where frequent fliers were charged less than others.

In a statement emailed to Today in the Sky, Skrbec said:

“We have been investing in our website and the technology that supports it for over a year. Recently, we updated our search function as part of a phased approach to improve the site. Shortly after making the updates, we discovered that it produced inconsistent results for logged in and non-logged in customers. We evaluated the situation carefully and rolled back to our prior search function which resolved the issue.”

Skrbec said the update was made less than three weeks ago. The carrier realized there was a problem before the TV station made contact and reverted back to the old search engine, he said.

Customers who think they were affected by the glitch should contact Delta with proof of a price discrepancy. The airline will make refunds on a case-by-case basis.

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