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mistake fares

Everything you should know about mistake fares

Imagine finding an extremely cheap deal on flights to India from NYC. Also, the dates of the flight match with your travel schedule, and thus, you decide to go on a trip. However, after a few days, the airline notifies you that your tickets are being canceled. Well, this might sound unreliable but the same happens and it is called mistake fares.

What is a Mistake Fare?

Mistake fares are commonly known as error fares and it occurs when an airline sells significantly lesser cost. Further, the prices charged for flight tickets is much lower than what the airlines generally charge on the specific route. Well, there are various reasons to be held liable for such mistakes including technological errors. Moreover, mistake fares have become much more common during the Cvid-19 pandemic era.

One of the top examples of mistake fares includes British airways charging $1.35+taxes in spite of $265+taxes. And the airlines end up selling more than 2,000 tickets at discounted prices within a 2 day period. However, later on, British Airways canceled the tickets that ended up disappointing the customers.

What is the history of the mistake fares statement policy?

In the year 2011, the Department of Transportation passed a law prohibiting airlines to increase prices after purchases. Thus, if you make a flight ticket reservation for $230+taxes, the airline can’t ask you for more money for the already booked ticket. Further in 2012, the Enforcement Office discussed how the post-purchase price increase rule will be applied. In 2014, many cases of error fares arose in the market and the department issued a notice of transparency. Further, this notice was issued for the protection of air travelers and to improve the air traveling environment.

Under this, the department also added concerns regarding the spread of mistake fares through travel websites, forums, and blogs. Further, it states that no matter, if the airlines halt the sales or correct the mistake several air tickets, will be bought inline. And these flight tickets will e sold because of the information spreading over the internet before it becomes unavailable.

In 2015, the Department of Aviation Enforcement & Proceeding enforced a new policy regarding mistake fares. Under this policy, the department decided not to enforce section 399.88 that concerns mistake fares. Although the department applied two new rules on airlines and travel agencies related to error fares.

  • An airline or a travel agency should inform that the fare was mistaken or an error fare. Further, the airline or the travel agency needs to prove that the advertised fare and the resulting ticket bookings are a part of the mistaken fare situation.
  • The airline or the travel agency must reimburse all the passengers who purchased the mistaken-fare ticket. This amount should also include the additional out-of-pocket expenses made for the ticket purchase. Further, these expenses include non-refundable hotel reservations, tour packages, and a cancellation fee for connecting flights, etc.

Reasons behind mistake fares

Error flights were very common between 2000-2009, however, since 2017 they have made rare appearances. You might be thinking that it’s because there are some ways to prevent mistake fares flights. However, your anticipation becomes wrong as they have made common appearances during the Covid-19 pandemic. Further, they are many reasons that are responsible for mistake fares and most often passengers have no idea about them. However, we have decided to make you aware of the common types of error fares.

Human Error

Human error is one of the most common reasons given by airlines while canceling flights because of mistake fares. This error is also known as ‘fat-finger error’ and there are various examples for it. Further, the most common example, in this case, belongs to Delta Airlines.

Under this situation, Delta Airlines website offered some amazing deals for a discount of more than $100. Later, a spokesperson of the airline informed that the problem was fixed, and they will honor the tickets purchased at cheap fares. Well, this mistake fare was a great gift for travelers who booked their flights timely and were able to avail huge discounts.

Foreign Currencies

Sometimes when an airline tries to list fares including various currencies, they end up goofing the conversation. Thus, most of the time the prices that end up on the website aren’t right. And the prices finally posted can be more or less than the actual prices that can benefit travelers. Further, most often these mistake helps passengers save tens to hundreds of dollars on a single flight booking. And this is usually called airline error and sale fares.

Technological issues

Well, many tech-savvy people can find this mistake hard to digest but this happens on many occasions. Sometimes the computer glitches and wrong prices are posted on the airlines or travel agency website. Further, today airlines use various complicated algorithms to decide the final price of flight tickets. And all this process sometimes becomes so complex that its wrecks up the algorithms and shows wrong results. Thus, error fares end up being posted on the airline’s website and passengers start buying them at lower rates.

Communication issue

Airlines and online travel agents communicate with each other through a global distribution system. Further, this GDS is a computerized network providing connecting travel industry service providers including airlines, hotels, travel agencies, etc. Because it is a computerized system, glitches and communication problems are possible. Further, sometimes the airlines provide mistaken information to travel agencies causing error fares. Moreover, the main reason behind these errors is the loading error from the database consultant.

Fuel surcharges & Fees

These surcharges came into existence during the 70s fuel crisis to support varying fuel prices. However, these surcharges are still applied partly preventing frequent fliers to book 100% free flights. These charges make up a big part of the total cost of flight tickets. Thus, when the airlines leave it out it decreases the cost of flight tickets to almost half of the total amount. And because of this, the passengers end up saving big on their flight ticket bookings.

Thus, missing these fuel surcharges & fees can reduce the cost of flight tickets to a big amount. And air tickets will end up becoming more affordable through mistake fares.

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