When Annie Hagen of Sioux Falls, S.D., searched for flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., she found fares around $400 round trip. So she was shocked when she checked Priceline.com again today and saw some of the same Delta Air Lines flights to Florida priced around $50.
"I couldn't believe it and I went on Delta's website and did another quick search again and it was the same thing, but there were a lot more options," Hagen said. "Everyone was like, 'That's too good to be true,' and I was like, 'I don't know, let's just get them.'"
Hagen's good fortune was caused by a glitch on Delta's website that affected fares across the entire airline. For three hours or so starting at about 8 a.m., fares that would normally cost hundreds of dollars were going for a fraction of their usual cost. Round trip tickets between Cincinnati and the Twin Cities sold for about $25 dollars.
In a statement, Delta spokesperson Trebor Banstetter said the prices posted online were incorrect, but that they've since been fixed. He said the company will honor the low-priced tickets that were purchased.
Airfarewatchdog.com founder George Hobica said recent U.S. Department of Transportation regulations require Delta to honor fares that are mistakenly posted at the wrong price or face fines.
Hobica said previous unintentional fare discounts on airline websites have been caused by nothing more than a typo.
"Often they're trying to reduce fares globally, system-wide, by a small increment and they type in the wrong increment," Hobica said "They might have typed in 75 percent instead of 7.5 percent, for example."
Hobica said it's likely that the company lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the incorrect pricing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.