He Went to Buy One Plane Ticket. Ended Up Buying 25—Quickly

Herman Yip took advantage of error to scoop up $250K worth of All Nippon Airways tix for $17K
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2023 12:45 PM CDT
Man Bought $250K of Airline Tix for $17K After Online Error
All Nippon Airways planes are seen at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on April 23, 2015.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Herman Yip was recently looking online to book a trip from Jakarta to Aruba, and the deal he found underscores the importance of being in the right place at the right time—and having the gumption to take a little risk. Per Bloomberg, the 32-year-old Hong Kong resident discovered he could snatch up a first-class ticket for his long-haul trip, with legs through Tokyo and New York, for a relatively inexpensive $890 through All Nippon Airways. He also spotted some business-class flights on that airline for as cheap as $300, and it hit him that he should take advantage of the astonishingly low prices.

Yip scooped up two dozen more tickets for family and friends, and when all was said and done, he'd purchased about $250,000 worth of tickets, for a grand total of just $17,000. "I didn't even bother to ask them whether they were able to make it or not, as I needed to book really quickly," he says of the loved ones he bought the tickets for. On Wednesday, ANA explained that there hadn't been any kind of super-sale, but rather that the Vietnamese website that Yip had purchased the tickets through had listed the wrong prices due to a currency conversion mistake. Yip says the low prices remained on that portal for at least 12 hours before the error was discovered.

It sounds like others may have also found out about the cheap tickets during that period and bought their own. Bloomberg reports that, as of Wednesday, ANA hadn't figured out whether it would deem the discount tickets valid, noting it would decide by the end of the month. Per the Taiwanese state-run Central News Agency, however, it appears that decision may have already been made: A post also from Wednesday indicated that ANA headquarters has given the go-ahead for tickets issued during the error window to be honored. In the meantime, Yip, who runs a travel website himself, has advice for those who stumble upon too-good-to-be-true tickets online. "Just book," he tells Bloomberg. "It's very likely you'll able to change or cancel, because the airline will always want you to cancel." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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