If you haven't been seeing some pretty wild flight deals lately, you simply haven't been looking. They are everywhere. One thing you may occasionally see attached to one of those "oh my god, we have to go" deals is the term "mistake" or "error" fare. Here's everything you need to know about what that means (and whether or not they're actually mistakes)...

Most Great Fares Are NOT Mistakes...

Let's pretend that you have 1,000,000 seats to sell, many of which go empty from time to time. Would you create amazing flash deals, offering super low prices for just a few people who book really quickly, knowing that blogs (like this one) will share the amazing deals and help you sell out fast? Of course you would and that's what's happening. 

Most Great Fares Are Indeed FLASH Sales...

Yep, so that's the gist. Most sales come fast, leave fast and help airlines fill seats so they can charge other people who are less "in the know" more. On a single flight you may find that some people paid $200 for economy while others paid more than $1500. Being in the know, following sites like ours can be the difference I personally swear by SecretFlying.com, who share some of the finest deals...

With Actual Mistake Or Error Fares There Are RISKS...

Sometimes there really are errors, which are often caused by hot dog fingers. People type the wrong key, leave a digit out, that kinda thing. When those happen and you find First Class tickets around the world for $300, it's more than likely an error. With error fares, airlines are less and less likely to honor them. For that reason, it's important to know that you should delay making any further non refundable travel plans for at least a few days, perhaps even weeks until the airline makes it crystal clear what they will do. In most cases, they will refund you and you go back to the drawing board. In other cases, if there's lots of pressures or they want good will, they may officially honor them, at which point you can book further travel...

What You Should DO When You See A Great Deal

When you see a great deal which is in the realm of possibility, such as a $1000 business class ticket across the pond, it's probably real. It also probably won't last. Look into which airlines have a free 24 hour cancellation policy getting you a full refund. Having that kind of comfort, you can book while the hot deal is on, knowing that if things change you can cancel, or try to rebook with different dates if the deal is still alive. Basically, act fast or you'll probably miss it. I've missed too many of these while pondering...