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Computer Foul-Up Gives 700 People Free or Discount Plane Trips

January 26, 1988

ATLANTA (AP) _ About 700 participants in Delta Air Lines Inc.’s frequent-flier program got a late Christmas present this month when they received coupons for free or reduced-fare plane trips to which they were not entitled.

But another 2,000 deserving fliers didn’t get anything.

″There was a computer error,″ Delta spokesman Bill Berry said today.

The foul-up involved a program to boost travel last October, offering special incentives to passengers who would fly during the normally slow fall travel period, Berry said.

When it came time to pay up, however, a computer spit out bonus coupons to people who had not flown during the period while not crediting those who had.

Berry said the Atlanta-based airline has now sent coupons to the deserving fliers and decided to honor the unearned coupons. ″We invited those individuals to use those bonuses with our compliments,″ he said.

″A sizeable number of those do get free trips, but a sizeable number are discounted trips,″ he said.

Berry said it is impossible to place a dollar value on the mistake because of the many variables involved in the program.

There are about 4.1 million members of Delta’s frequent-flier program, he said, several hundred of whom have built up 1 million miles worth of free flying.

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