The heart rate- uncontrollable. Thanks to all the tips on finding mistake fares, the best deal you never even dreamed possible has just been booked, but the hardest part is still yet to come: flying it. From time to time, airlines experience a deep sense of sellers remorse, especially when a digit was left out of the fares- but there’s one thing you can do to instantly improve your chances.

Book Direct

This is just the start of making the dream come true, but it’s the most important step. While some tickets can only be booked through certain online travel agencies, like Expedia- others can be booked directly with the airline or via a online travel agent. When you have the choice- ALWAYS book directly with the airline.Β  More often than not, if you look at historical “error” or “mistake” fares that have been honored, it’s the direct bookings that escaped the chop. Of course, there’s a difference between an “error” and a great deal, so if the ticket is part of a published sale, or just a normal limited time offer (deep down, you can tell ; )- book wherever you like.

Why…

For a start, tickets booked directly with the airline are more likely to actually be ticketed sooner. Just because you get a confirmation doesn’t mean your ticket has actually been finalized, so the sooner a ticket is finalized, the better chance it sticks.Β This is also sadly where many blogs and deal sites will lead you astray. Many blogs only get paid from certain online travel agencies, and not airlines- so they tell you to book with some random site where they get the most money when you book. Guess how that travel site is going to feel when the airline comes asking for the real price to be paid to them, after they sold the ticket to you with a digit missing? They’re going to cancel your ticket unless you pony up the full amount, you likely would’ve never paid in the first place.

Taking Things A Step Further

Dollars and cents can make a huge difference in deciding whether to honor a ticket, and also when trying to find the tickets that have been booked in error. While we won’t cite any specific examples, it’s been said that adding any extras to the ticket can help escape the cancellation police. Don’t go overboard with this, or waste money, but if the advertised error fare is $560 and you’re able to find one that’s $620, it’s possible this would be just the separation needed to fly above the fray.

Even With Best Practices, It May Still Not Work

The best advice is to not make any onward plans, like hotels and other non refundable purchases for at least a week. The other best advice is to book a deal that leaves like… tomorrow, so that you can fly before a decision to cancel has been made. Technically, tickets which touch the U.S. are eligible for any incidental purchases to be covered- if cancelled by airline, but this is a time consuming grey area. Yes- you could theoretically book a hotel, and have the airline reimburse you if they cancel your tickets, but you’ll spend an awful lot of time and perhaps money in that pursuit, especially if you’re no longer able to go. Be patient, be polite, don’t call the airline and ask if they’re going to honor- use CheckMyTrip or MyFlights to stay on top of the ticket status and hope that the airline decided to be favorable.