How to Find Airline Mistake Fares

Lets start with what is a mistake fare – when an airline or online travel agency sells a ticket for a lot of less than they first tended to. Mistake fares do occur a lot of times, first of all because of the human error. Someone enter the wrong sell price, forgets last digit or inputs the wrong one.

Secondly mistake fares happen because of the technology. Nowadays fares for most of the flights are determined using algorithms and some of times they could fail and put out mistake fares. Of course there are many other factors for mistake fare like communication issues between the OTAs and the airlines, foreign currencies and sometimes route of an itinerary can cause fees like fuel surcharge not to be included in the total price and so on.

How often do mistake fares occur?

Well they aren’t super rare, but on the other hand they are not super usual also.

How long do mistake fares last?

Mostly they don’t last long when they occur. Often times just from one to two hours, practically never a full 24 hours.

What to do if you found a mistake fare?

If you found a mistake fare and you wish to book it then you should head directly to the airlines website and book it. Why directly? When you book with an OTA they take and hold your cash firstly, only then they put a request to get the ticket from the airline. This process could take more than an hour during which mistake fare disappears and the after some time online travel agency would tell you that this certain price no longer exists and you will get your refund. But on the other hand when booking directly through an airline it cuts out the middleman (OTA) and reduces a lot of time required to get your ticket.

Of course some of the mistake fares you find might be only available on the online travel agency but not on the airline’s website. Then simply lock it and you will know whether you got your mistake fare in some time. If it gets canceled you will get your money refunded. So there is no possible way to loose this.

Do mistake fares get canceled a lot?

Around 10% of mistake fares get cancelled. If an airline or online travel agency decides not to honor your ticket purchase, you’re practically always notified within 3 days, most of the time even sooner. The more remarkably good is the mistake the higher chances it won’t be honored to you. So, don’t rush with your hotel and car rentals after buying the mistake fare, wait for some time – after a week you can be confident that it won’t be cancelled.

What is a remarkably good fare mistake? Well 250 AUD first-class round trip from Melbourne to Bali is more likely to be canceled than 250 AUD simple economy round trip.

What should you do if your mistake fare was canceled?

There isn’t much that can be done here as you will be getting your refund any time soon, if mistake fare was canceled then it was canceled. Of course you can contact providers support and complain a little bit, either with hopes that the ticket will be honored or you will be given some kind of compensation like voucher.

Most of the time when an airline or online travel agency has decided not to honor a mistake fare it is unlikely that you can get your ticket. Of course it isn’t pleasurable to miss some kind of a great flight deal, but that is a part of hunting for cheapest flight deals. Worth it.