CHEAP FLIGHTS: WHAT ARE ‘MISTAKE FARES’ AND HOW CAN YOU BAG CRAZY DISCOUNTS?
When does paying $300 (£217) feel like getting something for free? The answer is when it’s the price of a round-trip ticket from the United States to Auckland on Air New Zealand, a flight which normally costs at least $800 per person for the long flight across the Pacific Ocean. The deal was extremely limited and only available for a few hours last week, but that didn’t stop travellers from booking enough tickets to cause Air New Zealand alarm. The $300 airfare wasn’t a sanctioned sale; it was an anomaly known to bargain hunters and the frequent flyer community as a “mistake fare”.Although Air New Zealand ended up cancelling and refunding the tickets, mistake fares over the last few years, from $225 round-trips to New Zealand to $66 one-ways from the Maldives, have frequently been honoured by airlines. The lucky flyers who enjoyed unbelievably affordable travel didn’t deploy any shifty tricks to get them, either. Knowing a few basics is all it takes to improve your chances of becoming one of the lucky ones next time.飛機查詢
As Matthew Ma, co-founder of airfare deal website The Flight Deal explains on his site, “A mistake fare is essentially a pricing mistake – a low fare accidentally entered into booking systems due to a computer problem or human error.”
Another term for a mistake fare is a “fat finger fare”, as occasionally they literally come about because someone at an airline or travel website tapped the wrong button or keyboard key. Ma continues: “In some cases, the airline left too many zeros off the dollar price ($500 instead of $5,000); in other cases, there is a currency conversion mistake.”
There’s no exact science to figuring out whether or not an airline will honour a mistake fare. The decision is up to the individual airline, and typically revolves around how generous they’re feeling or how much value they believe honouring the fare will generate for them, in either good press or destination exposure and tourist spend.
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