What is Error Fare: Ultimate guide to Error Fares!

12.09.2014 at 10:11

Travel news

If you follow RushFlights.com for some time, you probably noticed there are sometimes deals that are hardly a planned promotion or just discounted flight from the airline. Error fare is simply a deal that is so attractive (and cheap) that someone somewhere had to make a mistake and thus created the error fare. There is almost always human element present for error fares.

Pricing of flight tickets is very complicated and difficult process which involves human elements. Someone has to enter the prices in the systems and there is your chance for human mistake that can result in error fare.

What are the reasons for error fares?

There are basically two of possible reasons for error fares:

1) incorrectly entered price – someone typed in €65,7 or €65 instead of €657

2) missing fuel surcharges and other taxes

Fuel surcharges and other taxes and fees are added to each ticket. You can often notice the basic price of your ticket to e.g. Asia is just few Euros, but the other fees can be hundreds of Euros. These taxes are also manually added into the booking systems so there is chance someone entered these values incorrectly or completely forgot about them. This gives you the chance to buy the ticket for error fare consisting of only the basic price of the ticket which can be just few Euros compared to hundreds of Euros.

To which destination can I book the error fare?

Error fares can happen basically on any route. The destinations are not limited to certain airports or countries, it can happen basically anywhere. There are however few destinations which are most often target of the error fare and that’s without doubts USA and Asia. The reason for this is simple: these are the most popular destinations with most flights and airlines so there’s the highest chance for the error fare. Of course you can sometimes book ticket to Peru for €100 thanks to this mistake as well but it’s not nearly as common.

Why is the error fare so often Open-jaw flight?

Another very common feature of error fares is so called Open jaw flight. This means that the airport of departure is different from the airport where you will return. If you follow RushFlights for some time you have already noticed these deals are very common here. Example of open jaw flight can be ticket on route Berlin-New York-Paris. You have to fly from Berlin and you will return to Paris instead of Berlin. Such ticket will usually be much cheaper than direct flight Berlin-New York-Berlin.

Open-jaw tickets are even more complex and difficult to price because it usually involves cooperation of more airlines and you have to calculate airports fees and taxes for more airports so there’s even bigger chance for human mistake that can lead to creation of the error fare

Can the airline cancel my error fare ticket?

Yes, the airline can cancel your ticket and they do so quite often. However there is also great chance your ticket will remain valid and you will be able to fly to your dream destination on the error fare for unbelievably low price. There is one guarantee: at the moment when you receive your e-ticket with booking number there is 99% chance you will be able to fly to your destination. We recommend to wait with other trip arrangements such as hotel bookings until you have valid ticket so you don’t waste any extra money in case it will be cancelled.

The key here is to book the ticket as soon as possible and pay for it instantly with your debit/credit card. There’s usually no time to do the regular bank transfer or other form of payment, because the error fares don’t last long and you have to confirm the ticket as soon as possible. Like we said, once you have the eticket, you are pretty safe and there is high chance you will be able to board the plane.

How can I predict the next error fare?

Error fares are totally unpredictable. It takes hours of searching and lot of luck too to find an error fare. Even if someone finds an error fare, it doesn’t mean he will share it with other people. Error fares also die very quickly, in some cases there were error fares that lasted only for 15 minutes. In other cases, you may be able to book the error fare for many hours or even days before someone realizes there’s something wrong and fixes the price. Speed and big flexibility is the most important aspect here.

There are usually just couple of dates when you can fly for the low price so you must be flexible and act quickly. If you start thinking about whether to go or not, calling your friends and discussing it for long time or reading information about your destination, it can happen the error fare will be fixed in the meantime and you won’t go anywhere.

Where can I find the error fares?

That’s simple, on RushFlights.com (check also our Facebook page to get updates on your Wall). We post usually around 4-5 deals every day and at least 50% of them are error fares. Like we said before, error fares are very often open-jaw flights with different departure and return airport so you must consider traveling to/from these airports. But even if you buy one extra flight or go by car/train/bus, the final price will be much better than if you go directly from the nearest airport to you. Once again, don’t wait for anything if you see an error fare and book it as soon as possible because it can be fixed in next 5 minutes.

Can I verify the error fare ticket with the airline?

Never, NEVER call or contact the airline if you find an error fare and want to verify if this price is valid. This will most likely lead to a quick end of the whole deal not only for you but also for all other customers. Error fares are called so because it’s a mistake and the airline most likely doesn’t know about it. If you contact them they will probably fix it within few minutes or hours!

The only option to contact the airline is when you already purchased the ticket, the error fare is already fixed and you just want to verify if your ticket is valid.

Show me an example of error fare

Here’s a great example of an extreme error fare that was available through Alitalia two years ago (read below for more details). You could fly to China for just €95 on route Venice-Beijing-Prague. Regular price of tickets on this route is around €600 or more.

What were the best error fares in last few yers?

If you follow our blog you could book lot of really cheap tickets in past year or two. As we mentioned there were flights from Europe to Peru for €100 which were also open-jaw on route Paris-Lima-London. Flights to Brazil for €190 were also really popular and an incredible deal for this price. Alitalia used to be famous for huge amount of error fares 2 years ago: you could fly from Italy to Japan for just €65 thanks to mistake in their booking engine, to New York for slightly over €50 or inside Europe for free. Yes, that’s right, completely free ticket!

The problem here was a popular discount code PROMOJP which offered massive discount but it was intended only for Japanese market. The Alitalia employees however somehow forgot to set this up right in their booking system and you could get over €240 discount for ANY flight with Alitalia. Alitalia released a statement later and confirmed that all tickets that cost over €0.01 are valid and you can use them for your flight, the rest was cancelled. There were few people who took also the completely free flights in the beginning however later the company started to cancel those tickets and if you decided to use it anyway you had to pay over €140 for one-way flight at the airport.

Another popular “accident” happened at previously unknown Norwegian booking site Wideroe.no. Thanks to human mistake the site was selling tickets completely without the fuel surcharge for long 10 hours in November 2013. This resulted in possibility to book tickets for example from Milan to New York for just €100. This bug affected thousands of sold tickets mostly with United Airlines and all tickets from this error fare were approved. There’s a lot of controversy about Wideroe as many people suspect that the internal employee leaked out this bug and left it open without fixing it for really long time.

Lately open-jaw flights with Emirates were also target of an error fare or more specifically special technique called fuel dumping. You could fly from Europe to Asia for just slightly over €300 with this very popular and normally very hard-to-beat ariline. This just confirms the theory that this can happen to basically any airline in the world.

Final conclusion to Error fares:

Here’s the final conclusion and tips you should follow to successfuly book super cheap flights:

1. watch RushFlights.com, be flexible with dates and always prepared to book the error fare

2. pay instantly with credit or debit card

3. never call the airline

4. wait with other bookings until you have confirmed eticket

5. enjoy your dream vacation!

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2 Responses to “What is Error Fare: Ultimate guide to Error Fares!”

  1. Ian says:

    Thanks for that. Really helpful. That’s how I got to the Seychelles last year thanks to your post and thanks to an error fare I got a ticket for New Zealand for £600, they go usually for £1200 around that time…

    Keep up with the good work (:

    Any error fare for South Africa? Or Namibia?

  2. admin says:

    Hi Ian,
    thanks, we are happy that you could travel for such awesome price thanks to RushFlights! 🙂

    There’s currently no deal to SA or Namibia we know about but we will keep an eye out for you. We wish you lot of cheap flights in the future!

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