Tips to Find Error Fares, Airline Deals, Cheap Flights

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Error-fare Deals and Airline Mistake Fares

Who doesn’t like traveling, right? Happily, thanks to the development of various means of transportation, we can explore beautiful places from all over the world. If only we didn’t have to think about the costs involved, everything would be perfect!

Still, if you know where and what to look for, you could benefit from amazing deals while traveling. Finding cheap flights could do the trick, considering that airline traveling is quite pricey.

That being said, this guide aims at introducing you to a bunch of helpful tips to find the cheapest flights for your traveling adventures. Traveling abroad shouldn’t leave you with a whole in your wallet.

If you didn’t know until now, keeping an eye out for airline mistakes fares could seriously help you to cut down your travel costs. Before we get right on to it, what are mistake fares and why do they occur?

Airline mistake fares, also known as error-fare flights account for massively reduced flight tickets, which occur due to a handful of reasons.

You would be surprised to find out a bunch of examples of the mistake fares honored by airline companies.

I’ll enumerate a few: $79 first-class trip from London to any city in the US, $280 round-trip from Barcelona to New York, $250 one-way trip from New York to Milan. The list could go on, as there are many other examples of this kind. If your question is how to fly for free, I can’t help you; nevertheless, you could still fly at bewildering low costs, as you can see.

Considering the high costs linked to air travel, it’s invigorating to find these kinds of rates (and so rewarding). And these error fares are much more common than you might assume.

Typically, these discounts are determined by a bunch of mistakes, such as the ones mentioned bellow:

  • Human error: This is, presumably, the primary cause that determines the existence of these unbelievably affordable offers. Whether it’s because of fatigue, a mistake of a new employee or any other reason, numbers could be either omitted or added when the price ticket is introduced, leading to a fantastic discount.
  • The omission of fuel supercharges & fees: In the 70s, fuel supercharges were incorporated during the oil crisis. That meant to adapt to the fluctuating prices. Nevertheless, apparently, they have been included ever since. Even so, now and then, these additional charges fail to be implemented, by mistake. Believe it or not, fuel supercharges account for a significant percentage of the expense of an airline ticket. So, when it is excluded, you could significantly diminish your traveling expenses!
  • Currency conversion accidents: When it comes to calculating a rate in distinct currencies, the likelihood for miscalculation errors to occur is significantly high. A popular example is a $4,000 United Airlines Ticket that was mistakenly converted to $79. Apparently, that happened when the sum was converted from Danish Kroner to British pounds.
  • Finding and correcting errors is rather challenging: Errors are bound to happen, from a statistical point of view. Considering the ever-growing number of flight booking systems available, mistakes are bound to happen and to be ignored. It’s both costly and time consuming for airlines to keep an eye out for errors and correct them whenever they occur.
  • Computer glitches: Additionally, computer glitches could also cause the fares to drop significantly. Viruses, system updates, and other elements could lead to the malfunctioning of the reservation system, which could eventually determine the system to post surprisingly low-priced tickets.

How to Find Error-Fare Deals?

Flying for free isn’t possible, as much as we’d like for that to be true. However, flying cheap is an attainable purpose if you’re a savvy traveler. Here are the steps you should follow in order to maximize your chances of flying cheap.

  • Do your research

Error fares flight aren’t available round the clock. Unfortunately, you have to be committed to your purpose if you wish to secure a fantastic deal! Platforms such as SkyScanner could help you in this respect.

What you can do is choose an entire month for your departure date, and have a look at the approximate prices. After selecting this option, you’ll get to see surprising discounts (if any). That makes it easier to pinpoint a tremendously low rate.

This strategy has been proven to be really helpful. When you look at the bigger picture, spotting a major price reduction is effortless!

  • Participate in forum discussions

If you’re wondering how to find airline deals, one way of doing that is by being a part of discussion forums such as Hot Deal Threads, Flyertalk Mileage Run discussion, Red Flag Deals hot deals flight section, OzBargain travel deals section, and so on. Contributors to these conversations often share valuable information and tips regarding excellent flight rates. Plus, you could also find a range of helpful hacks.

The drawback to following these discussions could be that you it is quite time-consuming. Even so, it wouldn’t hurt keeping an eye out on forum talks that actually interest you, whenever you have the time to spare.

  • Get e-mail alerts on cheap flights

Airfare Watchdog or SkyScanner facilitate a useful price tracking system. If you wish, you could sign up to get an e-mail in the event in which a sudden drop in prices occurs. Although it is rather unlikely to get an error fare in this way, you shouldn’t exclude the possibility. Theoretically, if a major drop in prices were to happen, then you should be notified, so it wouldn’t hurt to try this, as well, right?

Additionally, The Flight Deal could be helpful in this respect. While they don’t discover every error themselves, they keep an eye out of upcoming deals, and they could inform concerning cities, prices, dates, everything you need to know before booking a flight.

So, looking for mistake fares isn’t an easy endeavor, as they don’t happen to appear when you expect them to. On the contrary, the key to getting one is being aware when you stumble across such a deal and grasp it right away. The key is to be socially connected to platforms, apps, forums so that you are informed if something of this kind comes up.

What Are the Most Common Destinations to Which You Can Find Error-Fare Flights?

As you probably suspect, this is entirely unpredictable for an apparent reason: these error-fares are random mistakes that occur without additional notice or anything of the kind. Even so, it seems that the most common error-fares are found on the most popular routes from Europe to Asia or America to Europe. What influenced this conclusion?

That’s because there are numerous airlines that focus exclusively on providing flights for these routes. Plus, the amount of travelers heading to these destinations is also higher, which increases the likelihood of someone discovering a surprising discount on a flight.

Is It Safe to Book Error-Fare Flights? Are There Risks Involved?

If you think that it is almost too good to be true to have the possibility of traveling at such cheap rates, you might ask whether you should consider any risks.

So, I’ll be honest with you, the likelihood of having your ticket canceled does exist, but it is minimal. Truth be told, the main risk linked to booking an error fare is that the ticket could be refunded and canceled, if the airline wishes to amend it. However, most of the time error fares are off limits and are typically honored. Even though airlines aren’t obliged to honor these glitch fares, most choose to do so as a form of respect towards their customers.

Bear in mind though that, an airline won’t honor error-fare flights that resulted because the customers misused the reservation system to score cheap deals.

Other airlines, however, will be resistant to honoring those flights because of the surprisingly low rates. In such cases, though, this could cause problems since there are government regulations that forbid false advertising and post-purchase price growths.

As a general rule, when it comes to booking an error fare, it makes sense to wait for the confirmation. Simply put: even if you bought that ticket, this doesn’t necessarily mean the airline will maintain that price. Also, depending on the airline, it could take a day or so until you get the confirmation, so be patient.

On a final note, remember that error fare tickets could also be canceled by the provider. This could happen even after the payment has been completed! Still, you shouldn’t worry, in such scenarios, the airline provider will ensure a full refund, most of the time.

What Should You Do If You Find an Error-Fare Flight?

Obviously, the first thing you should do if you find an excellent price on a plane ticket is to purchase it ASAP. It would be best if you purchased the ticket before informing everyone you know about it.

Apart from that, many airlines feature a 24-hour penalty free cancellation period, which means it is best to book your flight even if you’re insecure about your traveling dates. What is more, in the US, airlines are actually required to provide penalty-free refunds in 24-hour time after the booking. So, be smart about it and get the ticket right away!

As for how much do these pricing errors last, it depends. Sometimes, they could last for a couple of days or so. Still, don’t hold your breath since the most attractive fares are available for only a few hours. Even though you aren’t 100 percent sure that you’ll be going on a holiday with that price, if the airline has the cancellation policy I was telling you about, it is worth reserving the flight to lock in that excellent rate.

Extra tip: As a thumb rule, make sure you have a look at the cancellation terms and conditions before booking your flight since these could differ with every airline. Better safe than sorry, that’s what I always say!

And most importantly, you shouldn’t contact the airline and ask them whether the low rates are the result of a computer error or anything. If you do that, it is crystal clear that you’ll lose the offer.

As these tickets could also be canceled, it makes sense that you should wait around and don’t get ahead of yourself. Restrain yourself from starting to book hotels, cars and visiting tours. Only after you have received the confirmation could you proceed with the actual planning of your vacation.

Furthermore, when it comes to paying method, you could either choose your credit or debit card. That’s because if you choose to pay by cash, this requires you to visit the airline’s office. In other words, you’ll inevitably notify them of their mistake, and probably you won’t get the chance to take advantage of the price.


Essentially, there are millions of fares between distinct cities around the world. Hence, looking for an error fare could be the same as looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Nevertheless, errors do happen, every now and then, and someone ought to find them, and that someone could be you, right?

From my point of view, finding fantastic rates for my traveling plans is equally exciting and nerve-racking. It is a bit stressful, especially until I receive the confirmation from the airline, but I wouldn’t change the experience for anything.

So, in order to bolster your chances of enjoying such discounts, you should know where to look for discounts, avoid contacting the airline regarding the cheap fare, book the ticket ASAP, and read the term and conditions of the airline before doing so. These tips with an ounce of good luck could be exactly what you need to cut down the costs during your next holiday!

I hope you have found my tips to fly cheap helpful. Of course, if you have other equally helpful hacks about how to find airline deals, I would be happy to hear your suggestions!

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