Computer Says No

Tracy Stewart, August 30, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. A few months ago, I purchased a non-stop round trip flight from Minneapolis to Ft. Myers. The airline emailed my itinerary, and I noticed the flight had suddenly been changed to include a plane change in Detroit, but no change in price at all.  I called customer service and was told, “the computer did it.”  I was able to have the flight restored to the original nonstop one.  Why did the computer do that?  My guess is that it is because the seat on the nonstop flight is now selling for a lot more money.  It doesn’t seem ethical to me.



    A. I would say yes indeed, since they were able to give you back your nonstop flight that they were hoping to sell the more desirable nonstop flight for more. We’ve seen airlines do this in the past, so it’s nothing new. You did the right thing to insist that you get what you originally paid for. How would “the computer” like it if it paid for high speed wi-fi and got pokey dial-up instead?

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