Travel Terms You Need to Know: Mistake Fares


Hey, I’m Scott, founder
of Scott’s Cheap Flights. You know, I have a weird hobby. I’m obsessed with finding cheap flights. It’s what I wake up every
morning thinking about. It’s what I go to bed dreaming of. And in this video, I
want to talk to you about the Holy Grail of cheap
flights, Mistake Fares. So a Mistake Fare happens
when an airline or an OTA, you know, an online travel agency like Priceline or Expedia sells a ticket that is, you know, 85, 90, sometimes even 95% off of normal prices. For instance, we’ve had some recent ones from Portland to Tokyo
for $377 roundtrip, New York City to Nairobi
for $242 roundtrip, Miami to Rome for $286 roundtrip, and a screamer of a deal, in 2018, from LA or San Francisco
over to Southeast Asia. Bali, Bangkok, Vietnam in business class, tickets that are normally $5,000, go for as little as $550 roundtrip. Sometimes, Mistake Fares are
caused by simple human error. You know, something like
a fat finger discount. Sometimes it’s communication issues between different entities. So you have your airlines and
your online travel agencies that are booking flights
through what’s called, a “global distribution system.” And sometimes they actually
don’t communicate very well with one another. There’ll be, you know, a lag
issue or some sort of mistake in the data entry. And the result will be that you’ll find a flight
on Expedia or Priceline or something for like a tenth of the price that it normally is. Another cause sometimes of Mistake Fares are currency devaluations. These happen every once in a while. For instance, in 2012, there was a huge overnight
currency devaluation in Myanmar, where overnight the currency got devalued in a major, major way. And so, the next day,
if you booked flights out of Myanmar, paying in Burmese kyat, you could get a flight,
even in first class for a tenth of the price
that it cost the day before. Mistake Fares typically don’t last long. We’re talking, you know,
a few hours sometimes, certainly not more than a full day. And the better the deal, the
shorter it’s going to last. That’s the general rule of thumb. It’s best to book
directly with the airline if you can get the fare through them. The reason why, is that it
tends to get ticketed quicker if you book directly through an airline than if you book on an
online traveling agency like Priceline or Expedia. So, in general, the more
egregious the mistake, the higher the likelihood that
it’s not going to be honored. So, for instance, a roundtrip economy flight, let’s say from New York City to Paris for like $250 roundtrip. That is much more likely to be honored than a $100 roundtrip
flight in first class on that same route. It’s always best to
wait about a week or two after you’ve booked a Mistake Fare to book any non-refundable
hotels or activities. The reason why is in the rare instances that an airline does cancel a Mistake Fare, they typically do so within a few days and almost never longer than a week. When there’s a Mistake Fare, the airline can’t offer
you the ticket at one price and then turn around and
charge you a different price, even if they intended to sell
it at that different price. They can cancel your ticket, and in rare instances they do. But they can’t just automatically
charge you a higher price. For more tips, check out our other videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and be sure to follow the
links underneath this video. And if you want to save big on airfare, join Scott’s Cheap Flights. You know, since 2015, we’ve been sending our members the cheapest deals that we
can find every single day. It would be our honor to be able to send cheap flights directly to you and help you find some incredible deals, hopefully even some Mistake
Fares in your future. Thanks everybody for watching. Safe travels!


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