Let me reel you in with the sizzle: this year, I booked Qatar Airways Business class, on their newest and best planes from Amsterdam to Tokyo (via Doha) for just $640 bucks round trip. That felt like the best deal I’d ever seen, and then ANA just went and offered $630 round trip business class between Vancouver and Sydney! Yes, Australia in business class for less than people pay for coach. These are just two examples of the insane deals you want to tune in for- error fares. We’re going to cover how they happen, how to find them, book them and then get them honored, and you’re going to leave an error fare expert!
Unlike the old days, airlines file airfares constantly. Often, they involve humans or computers, both of which are known to make mistakes, or fail! An error fare could be someone forgetting a digit, like $700 instead of $7000 (whoops), or offering a deal to unintended cities, amongst many others. These days however, airlines love tempting us into booking extra trips – just because – so some fares that seem too good to be true may not even be an error at all. Just a super limited time deal.
These are the fares of peoples dreams, and they happen in all cabins. Whether it’s $100 round the world economy tickets or $600 for 40+ hours in flat bed business class, people want in! As such, when word spreads, they don’t last. Most fares last mere hours, if that. The key is getting in early, getting in fast, and asking questions later- oh, and don’t call the airline.
If this was easy, everyone would do it. We post the very best flight deals on our Facebook page constantly. Like it, follow it, and click to receive notifications about new posts. That way, deals come to you. Also follow two forums, which are where most deals originate first: The Flyertalk Premium Fare Deal forum is the place for business class deals and the Mileage Run forum is where most economy deals can be found. If you need translation for all the jargon, we did that. Also check SecretFlying, TheFlightDeal and Fly4Free…
Why incessantly click around all day, when you could just have deals pushed to you? Our Google Flights tricks show you how to set alerts for all your favorite bucket list flights, so you may even beat “the blogs” to finding an incredible deal. As we mentioned, if you hit “get notifications” on our Facebook, our deals will also come directly to you. You can do the same for other great deal sites, and also get email alerts when new fares pop up in the two Flyertalk forums we mentioned. Sure, this requires some legwork, but how much is an unimaginably luxurious trip- without the price tag – worth?
Do you think a travel company wants to be holding the bag when the airline wants all the money from the digit they left out? Yeah… no. Airlines and hotels are far more likely to honor any mistake fares booked directly through them- rather than those booked through online travel agencies. They also issue tickets for direct booking faster- which can be a decider in whether the deal is allowed or not. So, yeah, do your best to go directly to whoever the operator of the deal is, despite what any blogs say (they make money from the sites they promote).
Our biggest fear in publicizing error fares, versus just great deals- is that error fares are not always honored. That can mean a purchase you made will take up to 14 days to be refunded. For some, that can be quite a game changer. Know that when you book an error fare, you shouldn’t book any other travel plans for at least a few days, until the airline or hotel agrees to honor the deal or not. If you can’t afford to potentially have the money waiting in limbo, you may want to opt out, but if they don’t honor, you’ll always receive a refund. For sure.
If you’d love friends or family to join and they don’t get back to you quickly, you gotta cut em’ loose. Available dates dry up in seconds, and it really is a race against time. Find something you believe works, do your best to make it work and book ASAP. Once you’ve booked, don’t call the airline or hotel to ask if it is going to be honored. At least not for 24 hours, until others have a chance to book as well, and until the dust settles.