Delta Glitch Gifts Travelers Super-Low Fares

Want to save money on airfare? Be around for events like Thursday morning’s “Delta Glitch,” a error in airfare prices that got many travelers a late Christmas present.

Better yet, have a team of friends on Facebook regularly checking booking sites like Expedia and Priceline just in case flight costs plummet.That’s how a lot of people found out that they could get tickets that would normally cost upwards of $400 at rock-bottom prices, some as low as $20.

“For a portion of the morning today, some prices on and other booking channels were incorrectly displayed, resulting in lower than usual fares for customers,” the airline said in a statement on Thursday. “The situation has been resolved, and the correct prices are being displayed. Delta will honor any fares purchased at the incorrect price.” Which means that tickets, even purchased in bulk for twenty bucks each, will be recognized and honored.

Check out these reported low fares:

Chicago to Miami for $55; Erie, Pa., to Miami for $47; Salt Lake City to Erie, Pa., for $65, and Chicago to Erie, Pa., for $90. Cincinnati to Minneapolis (RT) for $25.05.

And how about this, a first class flight from MSP to Washington, D.C., for $32.90, a flight which was listed later in the day for $1,527.80. That flight was booked by Delane Cleveland, a news reporter from Minneapolis, who could only say “I feel like I won the lottery.”

This, in itself, is a miracle as Delta’s own contract of carriage states that, in the case of such a price error, “Delta reserves the right to cancel the ticket purchase and refund all amounts paid by the purchaser or, at the purchaser’s option, to reissue the ticket for the correct fare.”

The Delta Glitch isn’t common, but it definitely isn’t unheard of. Earlier this year, United Airlines travelers purchased airfare for only cost of the security fee–about $5 or 10 (read: free tickets).

So, how does this happen? It’s likely that, in a system-wide update to increase fares by 10 or 20 dollars, a junior programmer made a few very expensive mistakes. As George Hobica from says, “It looks like Delta’s programmers had a little too much eggnog yesterday.” We agree, but wish they’d drink a little more for New Year’s!


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