Over the Labor Day weekend, Korean Air mistakenly filed a fare to the Pacific resort destination of Palau at a 75 percent discount using AD75 coding, which is reserved for travel agents' travel. The airline is not honoring those tickets at the reduced fare, but is offering customers a full refund for the fare paid or the opportunity to purchase a ticket on the same itinerary at a fare equal to the lowest fare offered by the airline in the market, or the closest similar market during the past year.
The airline is also reimbursing customers for expenses incurred as a result of having purchased the incorrect fare, such as cancellation fees for flights, hotels, ground transportation, and other arrangements. In addition, Korean Air is offering affected travelers a $200 travel voucher for a future flight to any Korean Air destination from a U.S. gateway.
Korean Air said in a statement that its ultimate goal is always customer satisfaction, and the airline is paying attention to make sure its passengers are dealt with fairly. The airline regrets that it was unable to inform its customers about the incorrect fare earlier, but this issue required extensive consideration both inside and outside the organization. All refunds have been processed by Korean Air and passengers should be receiving them shortly. The airline said that it recognizes that the above arrangements might not be acceptable to everyone.
Flyers Right.org, the air passenger advocacy group, said that it was inundated last week with calls and emails from passengers who said they were shocked to find that Korean Air had canceled their confirmed tickets. Flyers Rights said that 111 passengers had contacted the group and have not been reimbursed yet.
“Korean Air broke a deal,” said Kate Hanni, director of Flyers Rights. “By waiting two months to notify their customers, they broke the dreams of hundreds of passengers and effectively extorted them for more money to rebook.”