Authored by Jesse Neugarten
Imagine this: you’re scrolling through Facebook or swiping through your Instagram stories and you see one of your friends bragging about how they just booked a flight from D.C to New Zealand for $327 roundtrip.
You do a double take and wonder “How did they do it? Are fares that low even possible?”
They are indeed, and that’s what you call a mistake fare.
Mistake fares are exactly that – a mistake. It’s when airlines publish incorrect ticket prices like this $327 roundtrip from Washington D.C to New Zealand. They’re great for us as travelers, but not so much for the airlines.
Wondering how to catch these elusive fares? Here is everything you need to know about them if you want to visit your dream destinations for cheap.
How to Score Mistake Fares; They’re the Cheapest Flights You’ll Ever Find!
WAS – NZ for $327 Return
Why Do Mistake Fares Happen?
Mistake Fares can happen for a few reasons. Overall, airlines and Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) operate on a very complex backend booking system, so errors occurring now and again are inevitable.
While some are technical errors, others are simply human error.
Simple Human Error
It very well may be that a $1,308 round trip flight from Boston to Cape Town was actually priced at $130 round trip.
Someone omitted or added a number in error when entering a flight price, which can result in a significantly reduced ticket until the error is found by the airlines and corrected.
OTA Glitches/ Omitting Fuel Surcharges & Fees
Online Travel Agencies (OTA) are often behind these Mistake Fares. Missing fuel surcharges are often why we see prices so reduced.
Fuel surcharges are in place to prevent frequent flyer programs from allowing people to book 100% free tickets using miles (as you still pay these additional fees).
Every now and then though, these charges may be dropped by mistake. Fuel surcharges can make up hundreds of dollars on some airlines.
Currency Conversion Errors
When moving from currency to currency, things can get tricky when you’re working with such complex systems.
For example, a $4,000 United Airlines flight was available for around $79 recently. This specific Mistake Fare occurred due to a miscalculation between the Danish Kroner and British Pound.
San Fran to London for $267 Return
Some of the Best Mistake Fares We’ve Ever Seen
Best Error Fares We've Ever Seen
How to Find a Mistake Fare
If you’d rather not spend those hours, sign up for cheap flight finding services like Dollar Flight Club, who do all the searching for you and send deals right to your inbox.
It’s incredibly important to book the flight as soon as possible if you do find an error. Mistake Fares can last less than a few hours before the airline discovers it and makes a correction.
And it’s a good idea to a week or so before you book other travel plans like hotels and tourist activities until the airline confirms your ticket.
Airlines are no longer legally required to honor mistake fares like they were required to in the past. But that being said, 90% of Mistake Fares are honored. Airlines don’t want any bad PR by rescinding flights from customers.
Lastly, enjoy your trip and brag about it on Instagram!
WE RECOMMEND THESE PRODUCTS FOR THE PLANE: CLICK PHOTO ↓
INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓