British Airways has cancelled more than 2,000 tickets sold to customers for Middle East destinations including Dubai because they were too cheap.
Travel agent Travel Up told the BBC that customers were angry that the tickets were not honoured.
CEO Ali Shah estimated at least another five agencies had sold tickets that the airline said were incorrectly priced.
Tickets that normally cost more than GBP200 ($262) were advertised for GBP1 ($1.31) plus airport taxes, totalling around GBP195 ($256), between 5:45pm on June 11 and 11:00am the following day.
“It’s very cruel for the customers because they have booked these flights in good faith and expected it to be honoured,” Shah told the BBC.
British Airways said it would provide customers with a full refund and a GBP100 ($131) voucher.
“We’ve contacted the small number of travel agents who were able to access the incorrect fare for the short period it was available to advise them and apologise,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement. “We are fully refunding the tickets that were booked.”
However, many would-be passengers complained that the voucher would not cover the cost of rebooking flights at higher prices.
Others said they would lose money on accommodation they had already paid for on their travel dates.
There was also debate as to whether the carrier was within its rights to cancel the tickets given that they were not noticeably cheaper, with other fares on the affected routes available for as little as GBP20 ($26) more.
“They’ve bought these tickets in good faith at a believable price – it’s not as though the tickets cost GBP5 ($6.56), which would clearly have been a glitch,” MoneySavingExpert.com deputy editor Guy Anker was quoted as saying.
British Airways has faced increasing competition on routes from the UK to Dubai from local carrier Emirates, which now has 10 daily flights to London after commencing a London Stansted service over the weekend.