It looked like a deal too good to be true, $72 for a round-trip business class ticket on South African Airways between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi.  That's over $3,300 cheaper than the usual fare, so could it really be true? 

The airline held an online promotional sale at the end of February which had the offered fare to passengers. The airline said Thursday that it erroneously published the incorrect fare and that it was refunding customers who had snapped up the tickets. Some 640 bookings were affected, it said.

A regular ticket on the same route in business class sells for about $3,400, South African Airways said.  "We appreciate the fact that customers would under normal circumstances take advantage of bargains and good travel bargains," airline spokesman Tlali Tlali said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

He noted, however, that "underpricing would open us up to legal challenges" in an industry where competition is regulated.  However the airline is now facing a legal challenge from a number of customers who snapped up the tickets.

This is the latest in a series of events that is pushing South African Airways once golden reputation even further into the ground, complaints about service are increasing at an alarming rate and safety issues are causing concern.  An investigation regarding the use by the airline of blackmarket, unchecked spare parts recently began.