Q. My friends and I recently discovered that Ethiopian Airlines had a special on flights from NYC to Johannesburg for $225.08. It seemed like a good deal, so we booked the tickets through Priceline.

Three weeks later, we received an email informing us that the tickets were invalid and the fare had been issued by mistake.

Priceline is only offering a refund. Shouldn't Priceline and Ethiopian Airlines have to honor the initial fare? While I understand that the fare was issued in error and priced abnormally low but they waited 3 weeks to inform people that the tickets would not be honored. By that point, my friends and I had already paid for our hotel rooms, all non-refundable.

I know in the past airlines have honored mistake fares. Why not now?

A. In many cases the airlines are required to honor these mistake fares. It really comes down to who or what is at fault for posting the fare in the first place, the carrier or the OTA? This is why it's always a good idea to hold off on making additional land or tour arrangements until 100% sure that the airline will be required to honor the mistake fare.

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