A technical error by the international airline ticket distributor Amadeus, in which fuel charges were inadvertently left out of ticket price calculations, led to soaring ticket sales on the website for small Norwegian carrier Widerøe. The error only seemed to affect prices offered for tickets on other carriers through Widerøe, and it ended up with a gain.
“It’s important to note that this wasn’t a mistake made by wideroe.no,” a spokesman for the airline, which mostly serves domestic routes in Norway, told media house Aftenposten. Nor could Widerøe itself do anything to correct Amadeus’ error, which, he said, was in Amadeus’ own programming. It allowed travelers all over the world to buy tickets at very low fares on carriers such as United and Air Canada, as word spread over the weekend of the error.
Before it was corrected, some travelers had snapped up tickets from Norway to Hawaii for just NOK 3,300 (USD 550) and to New York for just NOK 1,700. Aftenposten reported that tickets were still available on Air Canada from New York to Milan on Monday for just NOK 1,581. That trip normally costs the equivalent of NOK 3,700 and higher on Air Canada’s own website.
Widerøe itself actually profited from the error, because it gets a commission on tickets sold through Amadeus, and sales through its site were so strong that it ultimately had trouble handling all the traffic. Widerøe was formerly part of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) but was sold earlier this year to an investor group led by the Norwegian bus and ferry company Trollhatten Trafikkselskap.