All you need to know about mistake fares (Updated 2021)

Airways have become an indispensable mode of commutation. Be it domestic or international departures, flights are undoubtedly more convenient than any other mode of long-distance transport. However, this convenience has resulted in the inflated prices of airline tickets and has resulted in higher fares for tickets booked on short notice. 

Error flights and mistake fares had become a rarity with the commencement of 2015. But with the pandemic, this has again risen to the limelight. Tickets booked on mistake fares are often cancelled by the airline at the last moment to avoid heavy losses. However, since the cancellation often results in a huge ruckus by the press and passengers, authorities nowadays prefer undergoing the loss to the former. Thus, it is certainly a boon for those with big travelling dreams and small pockets. Most of us are unaware of this concept. Mistake fares, if found and utilised in time, can help passengers save a large number of their finances. Let us see what this whole concept is about.  

What is a Mistake Fare and an Error Flight?

When airline tickets are sold at rates significantly minimal as compared to the original price range, the airfare is known as a mistake fare. This is seldom an intended move on the airline’s part and is mostly the result of human and technical error. This kind of error mostly pops up during the booking of international flights due to several conversions of international currencies. 

Error flights are those flights on which a large number of seats have been sold under mistake fares. Such a flight may be entirely be cancelled depending on the decision of the airline authorities. 

Causes of Mistake Fares

Passengers are often alien about the sudden deflation of airfares. This makes them believe in these strange rates and thus, bookings take place at lightning speed. This is exactly what we are going to discuss in this part. There are quite a few reasons why mistake fares are even put up on the website of an airline. Some of these reasons are as follows.

Human Error

This is mostly the real reason why mistake fares occurs. Airlines too, after cancelling error tickets, state this, as a reason behind mass cancellation. Uploading incorrect prices, missing out a digit while stating the rates and several other factors determine the aspect of human error in mistake fares.

Foreign Currency conversion

International airlines with fares listed in multiple currencies often have errors. This is mostly caused due to faulty currency converters. While it may result in a major loss for the airline, passengers get the opportunity to benefit from these errors, for they have the scope of saving a big amount. It is also known as airline error and sale fares. 

Technological Issues

Computer and technological glitches are common nowadays. It is also a factor behind listing inappropriate airfares on travel websites. Complex fare determining algorithms along with facilities available for seats often result in the incorrect determination and listing of fares. There have been quite a few reports of mistake fares owing to this reason. 

Communication Error

Global distribution systems connect online travel agencies with different airline companies. Passengers are often directed to the websites of these agencies and are exposed to the airfares listed there. These listings might be erroneous due to several factors concerning communication. Some of these factors include technical glitches, provision of incorrect data and prices, manual uploading of prices and incorrect fares provided by ATPCO (Airline Tariff Providing Company). This is because this organization works for both airline companies as well as different online travel agencies on GDSs. 

Honouring of Mistake Fares by Airlines

Airlines may or may not honour mistake fares and airline tickets booked on error flights. It depends on various financial and authoritarian factors for a flight to be approved for flying. 

However, if the erroneous fares are a mistake on the airline administration’s part, they often provide an option to book the seat(s) by paying the original price or request a refund for the initial payment. 

Error flights or mistake fare tickets are very likely to be cancelled at the penultimate moment. It is thus advisable to have backup options for such a situation. An attractive offer or an unbelievably low ticket price might incline passengers towards fast booking, but it is good to make sure that there is an alternative to fall back on. 

Where to find cheap airline tickets?

Airfares do not undergo a massive deflation of rates very often except for peak seasons and value-added offers such an occurrence is less likely to happen. However, if a cheap air ticket is what you are after, make sure you are connected to the various cheap ticket finders available on the internet. Some portals like Airfare Watchdog and Secret Flying are dedicated to finding dirt-cheap air tickets. 

This is pretty much everything passengers need to know before booking tickets on mistake fares. Please note that these fare listings are erroneous at the end of the day and are mostly cancelled a couple of days before departure. This may result in unnecessary hassles and thus, it is recommended to keep backup tickets for the concerned trip.