Do Airlines Have to Honour Cheap Mistake Fares?

For travel enthusiast, a mistake fare might be a dream. You find a flight that’s incorrectly priced, quickly grab it and hope the airline honours its deal. Blame it on a computer error, internet glitch or other reason but a mistake fare might be your ticket to paradise (sort of). Because not all mistake fares are honoured, there’s also a concern over if the airline will swiftly swoop in and make the necessary corrections leaving you back to square one.

Here’s what you need to know about mistake fares (so you can go pack!).

What is an Airline Mistake Fare?

An airline mistake fare is a flight that’s incorrectly priced. An airline isn’t obligated to honour a mistake fare in any way. However, in some cases, if enough people purchase flights, they might allow the fares. So, how can you find out about mistake fares and importantly, what should you do to safeguard your trip and ensure your travel plans won’t be cancelled?

Finding Airline Pricing Mistakes Online

A pricing mistake can occur at any time with an airline. Pricing flight glitches can cause all kinds of outages and flight mishaps. Examples include an incorrectly priced $1,500 flight that should have been $15,000 in the U.S. back in 2007. The added perk? The tickets to New Zealand were for business class.

Another mouth-dropping flight mistake was back in 2013 when several people quickly scooped up tickets for a $7 flight to Hawaii. The tickets should have been a few thousand dollars. Oh, it’s on!

So, how can you find a flight glitch you can benefit from? Because flight mistakes don’t happen all the time, savvy travellers need to look for alerts and deals so they can quickly grab tickets when they’re deeply marked down. Flight ticketing mistakes can occur from human error, currency conversion mistakes and even fees and fuel surcharges that were mistakenly left out. But, because you can’t sit online all day waiting for someone to type up an error, there are other ways to find airline mistake fares.

Finding Airline Mistake Fares - What to Look For

On the hunt for airline errors? You might want to have your money ready to make a fast purchase. And, keep in mind, the airline might not honour the deal. So, before you break out the bubbly, consider making a fast purchase and then waiting to see how the airline responds. Will they make a correction and cancel the tickets or honour the prices? When looking for airfare mistakes, you’ll want to check out a few places online that can help you score the best fare deals.

These include:

  • Searching airline sites that send an alert for deeply discounted prices.
  • Skimming social media to find mistake fares. Usually, when a flight deal is so low, it starts trending on sites like Facebook and Twitter right away.
  • Setting up flight alerts for the entire month and then waiting to see what comes back.

Other Tips to Help You Find Deeply Reduced Flights

A few other tips can help you find flight price errors online.

These include:

Pick a specific area you want to visit

Let’s say you want to go to Hawaii, but you missed the $7 flight price glitch a few years ago. When you shop online, check out the price ranges so you’ll know what “typical” fares are priced at. Then use the sites above and watch for a deeply reduced price. Be prepared to book your flight fast if you see a sudden deal that’s deeply marked down. As other travellers are watching for flights, they might also scoop up the deal and the flight will become sold out.

Select a wide range of countries to visit

Another way to benefit from a pricing mistake is to widen your search and grab whatever error becomes available. That might mean visiting a location you didn’t have on your radar. However, because the flight is deeply discounted due to some type of mistake, it’s a great way to explore new terrain.

Widen your search time frame

An additional way to find great flight deals is to search for months in advance of your trip. Not everyone can travel this way as you might have to employer advanced notice for time off. But, if you find flight errors that can save you big bucks, it helps to keep some vacation days ready.

Purchase travel insurance to safeguard your trip

Travel insurance can safeguard your trip. It includes flight interruptions and cancellations. It also includes coverage for hotels, rental cars, and any medical emergencies. However, travel insurance will not pay out if your mistakenly priced ticket is revoked by the airline.

Be prepared for cancellations

While you might not want to contact the airline about a flight glitch (because they’ll quickly cancel the error tickets), you do want to be ready if they make cancellations. Never book other non-refundable tickets for hotels or tours until the airline has confirmed they will honour the prices in a ticketing mistake.

Know the airline rules

Because more airlines are giving passengers 24 hours to cancel, book the flight first and then if you change your mind you need to do so in 24 hours. Ensure that the airline you’re booking has this penalty-free policy in place, so you don’t lose any money.

Up, Up and Away!

Grabbing a deeply reduced ticket due to some kind of flight ticketing error can help you save money on your next vacation. However, before you book your hotel and excursions, wait to receive your confirmation email that the flight price is being honoured. That way you’ll know if you’re going to the Outback or just getting back online to start your search again. To purchase travel insurance, contact

With, you can compare travel insurance rates from Canada’s leading insurers (and you can save money for your trip!).

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