There are glitches, and then there are glitches.
And Hawaiian Airlines suffered a major one this week.
The carrier has apologized to dozens of customers whose credit cards were overcharged in a huge booking snafu – to the tune of more than $1 million, including one man whose card was billed $674,000 alone.
The glitch affected the airline’s loyalty program members. Many who logged on to check their miles on Monday found a promotion in which they could book a flight for zero miles and only the cost of taxes and fees.
Great deal, right?
Two problems occurred.
The first problem was, the deal was not valid. Almost 1,300 tickets were sold during a two-hour window in which HawaiianMiles customers could purchase a flight for no miles as long as they paid for the taxes and fees. They received an email in the same day notifying them their tickets were canceled and the charges for taxes and fees were being refunded.
The second problem proved to be more costly. For HawaiianMiles customers legitimately trying to book flights using their accrued miles, the reservation system read it as not miles but cash charges. For instance, if a member booked a flight that needed 20,000 miles, he or she was instead charged $20,000.
As it turned out, 85 people were hit with charges ranging from $17,500 to $674,000.
Hawaiian said it is reversing these charges.
“We are contacting each of those customers who experienced an overcharge and will, obviously, make them whole,” the carrier said in a statement.
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