On June 11th 2018, British Airways had London to Tel Aviv return fare available for £187 in economy class, apparently in B class which would have yielded 140 BA tier points. Dubai was available for £215 return. The next day, BA removed the fares because they were ‘mistake’ fares. Well, someone botched something somewhere.
In my view, taking Tel Aviv for instance, £187 was not really a screaming bargain or error. It could easily have been a one day ‘flash sale’. You could get Whizzair at around £212, or an indirect flight on Aegean via Athens for £185, or Turkish Airlines via Istanbul for £224.
Four days later, BA started cancelling the bookings, citing it was a mistake fare. BA offered a full refund and £100 voucher as a goodwill for its misstep to affected passengers.
Virgin, a long time competitor to BA in the UK, seized the opportunity and took a jab at BA. I think the marketing banner on Virgin’s website is pretty amusing and creative.
BA received a lot of negative mainstream media publicity for this. BBC reported it here. It should have just honoured the ‘mitsake’ fare. The first reason – it was not exceedingly a cheap fare when compared to the other airlines. Secondly, only 2,000 passengers were affected. BA flew 42.8 million passengers in 2017, so 2,000 was a mere drop in the ocean.