The other day, there was jubilation and excitement. A mistake fare. My heart fluttered. Texts abounded. I shook a little. I booked a trip to New Zealand for $340. Yes, it seemed to good to be true, but sometimes miracles happen.
I had booked with an OTA, CheapOAir mainly because the fares seemed to be disappearing from the more mainstream companies. The ticket was issued. I had confirmation numbers. I managed my bookings on both the United Airlines and the Air New Zealand websites. I chose my seats and specified my frequent flyer choice.
I knew it could get cancelled. I’m not haughty or self-righteous.
I was reminded of Hans Golden’s hysterical 13 Stages of a Mistake Fare which always makes me chuckle. What stage was I at?
I knew I always wanted to visit New Zealand, but other than names of cities, I didn’t know much. OK, I knew it was supposed to be beautiful and I knew they made nice wool and wines. When I’ve run on hotel treadmills, I’ve virtually run through streets and parks in Wellington and Auckland.
So, in the next day, I started researching where to go and what to do in New Zealand and even learned that the Christchurch marathon would be held on the last day of my trip.
I knew it could get cancelled, but still, I started living in this fairytale where I was traveling around the country and even running a marathon there! I didn’t make any commitments – I didn’t book hotels or additional flights, but my vivid imagination was already busy thinking and planning and hoping.
I began hearing of cancellations, but that was for reservations listed as pending. Mine was ticketed. Maybe. Just Maybe.
And then, this morning, I checked in on my reservations with Air New Zealand much the way a mother checks in on her babies when they sleep.
On the Air New Zealand website, I typed my confirmation and nothing came up. Gulp. Then I tried United. I copied my e-ticket number. My reservation did not come up. Instead this did:
United Confirmation Number xxxx
Your itinerary cannot be retrieved because it has been canceled. You may use the remaining value of your ticket toward a new flight by selecting the “Change Flight” link below. A change fee may apply.
This itinerary will be located in your Inactive tab when you view this itinerary again.This reservation has been cancelled.
We regret to have to inform you that Air New Zealand has recently notified us that it has canceled your round trip flight tickets between the U.S. and New Zealand that you purchased through us. The reason, according to the airline, is that they advertised this fare by mistake . Here’s an excerpt from their notice:
“Due to human error, there was a discrepancy with the fare price advertised and unfortunately we’re unable to proceed with any tickets issued on this fare error. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused and Air New Zealand has authorized a refund. Most tickets will be VOIDed so your credit card should be updated shortly with the removal of the charge. In Canada, a refund will be processed to original form of payment. Again, we sincerely apologize for this mistake and we thank you for your understanding.”
For affected customers who want to rebook with Air New Zealand , Air New Zealand has offered to honor many of their fares that were advertised correctly and that were in effect at the time you made your original purchase.
This ticket cancellation and the consumer protection steps (i.e. refunds, demonstration of mistaken fare, etc.) that Air New Zealand has taken do, in our opinion, conform to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Enforcement policy , which covers flights beginning or ending in the U.S., or having a stopover of 24 hours or more in the United States.
Very regrettably, fare mistakes by airlines similar to the Air New Zealand one do happen from time to time in the business. So your understanding is greatly appreciated.
For those customers who may be wondering why they are only just now being informed of this cancellation, we can inform you that we were dependent on when Air New Zealand notified us, and, as soon as we were notified, we had to take some time to assess the matter out of business prudence.
I’m a little sad, a little heartbroken. The new destination that I was beginning to love was now gone. It was never mine in the first place, and yet I felt an odd loss. So, New Zealand, I never quite knew before how much I wanted to visit you. Now I do. I will visit someday, just probably not this June.