US & Canada

United Airlines cancels $100 first-class seats 'sold in error'

File Photo: Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by United Airlines takes off at Los Angeles International Airport on 9 January 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Travellers rushed to avail of the briefly discounted fares on United's website

United Airlines has cancelled thousands of bookings after a computer glitch allowed transatlantic flights to be bought for very low prices.

Passengers were briefly able to purchase some first-class return tickets for under $100 (£65) via the Danish section of the site because of an incorrect currency exchange rate.

United said it would not honour the fares because the error was caused by a "third party software provider".

Customers have criticised its decision.

The computer failure was first mentioned in a travel blog on Wednesday and prompted thousands of people to try and snap up the low-cost deals.

The Dansdeal site told passengers to avail of the cheap tickets by choosing Denmark as the billing country and "using a card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee".

A round-trip between London Heathrow and Honolulu in Hawaii was available for 591 Danish Kroner ($89; £58), it said.

The flights would usually cost around $6,000 (£4,000).

In a statement United said the majority of bookings originated in the UK and the level made with Danish Kroner as the local currency "was significantly higher than normal".

Image copyright Twitter/@united
Image caption A tweet from an United Airlines official account resulted in several angry responses from followers

Frustrated passengers replied angrily to a tweet by the airline confirming it would not honour the tickets.

One user said: "I won't be flying United again", while many more urged the company to reconsider its position.

In a previous pricing glitch in September 2013, United did honour tickets it accidentally sold for free. While those tickets remained valid, the company did not reveal how many it had inadvertently given away.

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