Chris Elliott calls us criminals

I don’t know why I give this douchebag the time of day, but I do. Check out his latest article, which, while filled with crap, includes this little nugget about people that take advantage of mistake fares:

I’ve been thinking about what separates a frugal traveler from a thief, and although the experts I spoke to seem to agree on the big issues (you know, stealing is wrong) there’s no unanimity when it comes to finer points of pricing snafus. By way of full disclosure, I thought the travelers who bought tickets knowing the fare was foul were morally challenged. In a blog comment, I referred to them as “bottom feeders,” which may have been a little harsh. I probably just should have called them criminals.

Chris, last I checked, the Department of Homeland Security wasn’t knocking on my door. 😉

Filed Under: Media
  1. I’d love to see one instance of when an airline posted a higher fare by mistake, and then called the customers who unknowingly purchased the fare to offer a refund. I’m sure more expensive fare buckets have mistakes like $1968 instead of $1698 all the time, we just don’t catch them becuase they’re not “good deals”. Still, when the airline makes the correction, I highly doubt they contact the traveler to offer a refund for the “mistake.”

  2. “douchebag” is being too nice. He’s a moronic fool that caters to the too-dumb-to-read-anything-else crowd, a la USA Today.

    Lucky, you should remove the link to his column so he doesn’t get additional revenue/credit for the additional hits to the site.

  3. Scott, it could be worse. At least Ben Mutzabaugh still runs Today in the Sky, whose content and readership are probably a few notches higher than USAT’s other offerings and the active commentariat over there would suggest. Ironically, Elliott is ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler, which one would *think* is a more prestigious brand.

  4. Imagine if you had to do this every time you bought something at a discount. Go to the storekeeper, this seems like a good deal, do you really want to sell it at this price? Are you sure? Really sure? Here is my home #, call me if it turns out it was a mistake and I will bring it back!

    You buy something through a legitimate channel at the price indicated, done deal.

  5. Yes – and I’m sure Mr. Elliott has never accepted anything complementary as a travel writer. Who’s the real thief? Hypocrite!

  6. Re: “DHS is not knocking on my door.”

    Your comment is very inappropriate even if intended in jest.

  7. I don’t really care what Chris calls me (us). If the airlines made a point of not honoring errors over the years, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Since the airlines have a tradition of letting the fare errors slide, that means they accept them as a point of doing business.

    Since the airlines aren’t cancelling the tickets (not counting the AA disaster a few months back), why shouldn’t I book a fare error. The airlines say it’s ok by not cancelling!

  8. Why would the DHS knock on your doors? They aren’t going after petty criminals. Their territory is terrorists and lotion smuggling travelers. I think you meant the FBI?

  9. I know nothing about Chris Elliott, so no comment there.
    But I have never been one that really understands the unadulterated glee about mistake fares. In a way, it does seem to me to be immoral, and I don’t like taking advantage of businesses (or even the government) when they make a clear mistake. I love a discount, but if I were to purposely buy a mistake fare and then the airline didn’t want to honor it and gave me my money back, I wouldn’t cry foul and have a fit like many do. I have also considered buying US Mint coins for credit card points to also be creepy and unfair to the government who has to pay for shipping. (Maybe it’s because I own a business and need to concern myself about game-players like this.)

    So what I am saying is that intent matters sometimes. If a cashier gives me too much change, I always mention that he made a mistake and give it back. Bad karma otherwise.

  10. Here’s a story:

    I am pretty sure we scored mistake fares from AUS – NRT – Z fares for $1500 apiece. 4 of us took advantage of those fares – two of us are now 1P with United, I’ve booked about 6 more flights with them since last fall, and plan to book the majority of my flights.

    So I’m the kind of person who might have gotten a mistake fare, but UAL has earned my loyalty – I guarantee I’ll pay them back over the years, especially since business class wasn’t full.

    Screw Chris Elliott. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  11. @Lisa if you are buying coins from the US mint and they are shipping them via US mail with “free shipping”, is it really costing them anything incremental in the first place?

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