21 Dec Air France Did Not Cancel My First Class Mistake Fare…

Because I never actually booked the fare… Ok, definitely a click bait title, but now that you are here, might as well hear me out!

I don’t book mistake fares anymore. The Air France First Class mistake fare, the Qatar Business Class mistake fare a few months back, and any mistake fares into the future. Not because I take some moral high ground and think taking advantage of error fares is unfair to the airlines, but because they are just not right for me…

Are you sure mistake/error fares are right for you?

The airlines rarely honor them and the Department of Transportation has changed their policy, stating they will not enforce regulations as it relates to mistake fares.

Even in the off chance that these fares are honored, I still maintain that these fares are not right for me (and may not be right for you either). Why?

The Money

Error fares may be discounted significantly from the typical ticket price, but they can still be a significant cash outlay required, especially for the premium class fares. A $1,500 roundtrip First Class ticket from LA to London is amazing, but so is flying American Airlines Business Class for 57,500 AAdvantage miles. Sure, these are on two different levels of swanky, but one of these won’t leave your bank account $1,500 lighter…

Flying one of the most exclusive First Class cabins in the world would be a neat experience, but definitively not my priority. I love Europe and I love flying premium class cabins (mainly for the lie-flat seat and ability to sleep) and I think a nice business class seat (booked with miles) gets the job done just fine.

The Time

I don’t know about you, but I have a solid day job that requires a significant amount of my time each and every day. Sure, it is not a constant focus on work and I take some personal time throughout the day, but I don’t have time to drop everything and act on a Flight Deal alert.

Depending on when you get in on the action, it can take quite some time searching & attempting various dates before you can actually book the fare.

And even if I do get the fare booked, I only have 3 weeks of vacation per year… so am I going to spend $1,500 (plus the cost to position from TPA to LAX, in the case of the Air France fare) to get to London, and eat up at least a few days out of my limited vacation? Don’t get me wrong, I love London, but that’s not really a destination on my list right now.

I’d rather save my cash and use my miles to travel somewhere I actually want to go!

The Effort

Monitoring Flyertalk, keeping up with twitter alerts from Secret Flying and the Flight Deal, scrambling to book the error fare with the right issuer/carrier/OTA before the airline catches the mistake, getting your hopes up, watching your trip fall apart, attempting to reinstate the fare by complaining or filing a DOT claim…

It’s exhausting…

Final Thought

Prowling for error fares isn’t wrong for everyone. There are some people that achieve great value with error fares – like professional bloggers, and people with money to spend and no destination dependent job commitments who can book same day travel.

If you don’t fit into one of those two categories of people, I suggest you stick to collecting points and miles for your travels, rather than wasting your time, money and effort riding the error fare roller coaster.

Am I the minority in my error fare philosophy?

Did you book the Air France First Class fare? Will you go after these fares again in the future?

Happy Travels!

DW

13 Comments
  • alan
    Posted at 12:17h, 21 December Reply

    so. using 57.5 k miles each way which is 115k aa miles and you have to be flexible in order to find the award space that will eat into your vacation day too.
    i dont know how much you value the miles, that itself is already over 1.5 k usd (u will need to pay tax on top)
    now buying 1.5k usd for revenue ticket in F instead of flying J and earning miles isnt a better deal?
    if spending 1.5k is called a significant outlay, then maybe u should consider a different hobby? or u should fly Y class instead, after all, spending 11k aa miles + tax is still real opportunity cost which is over 1.5k.

    • DW
      Posted at 14:58h, 21 December Reply

      Fair point and I agree if I could be guaranteed a $1,500 F fare, I would book that instead of redeeming miles, but the airline did not honor the fare.

      If you booked the $1,500 Air France F error fare, while I booked an award ticket on American, which one of us would be going to London?

      DW

  • kenny
    Posted at 13:13h, 21 December Reply

    Wow, way to be a total Dbag. First and last visit here.

    • DW
      Posted at 13:19h, 21 December Reply

      Thanks, Kenny! Glad you liked the post!

      • Jig
        Posted at 14:42h, 21 December Reply

        Wow, wonder if Kenny booked the AF F fare 😉

        I really liked your clear eyed view of these fares. Very much the case for me as well.

        Although I admit to recently having booked the Aeromexico business class JFK-SCL deal, using Sapphire Reserve points for 2 people which would have been $1455 if converted to cash. The timing was right for a Valentine’s Day week winter getaway to a warm climate with my spouse, a city and area I’ve never been, our first non-family vacation for a year, leveraged a public holiday on a Monday, we have a friend putting us up at least for the couple of days in the city reducing our hotel point costs, and 3 out of 4 flight segments are on flat bed 787.

        And this was a very low but not error fare ($1091 pp) given other Avianca fares to South America, so Aeromexico hasn’t cancelled (yet).

        • DW
          Posted at 14:50h, 21 December Reply

          Thanks for the note! All I am trying to do is present an alternative thought process. Some fares will work for you, some fares won’t – but don’t just go out and book it because it is an error fare and everyone else is telling you to do so… Especially since it probably won’t be honored anyway!

          DW

    • iv
      Posted at 13:56h, 21 December Reply

      First and last visit too. #DESPERATE FOR CLICKS.

      • DW
        Posted at 18:01h, 21 December Reply

        Thanks, iv. But if you want to get that hashtag trending, make sure to circle back and edit out the spaces between the words.

        The #DESPERATE hashtag is too general and your message will get lost in the masses of political tweets and fans rewatching Desperate Housewives.

        See you soon!
        DW

      • Miles
        Posted at 01:05h, 22 December Reply

        #DESPERATE for attention. I love that you took the time out of your day to reply and comment – haters gonna hate! Keep up the good work DW – lots of valid points here. #punintended

  • Sean
    Posted at 14:48h, 21 December Reply

    I actually think your view on this is correct (although in the minority since most of the ppl that travel a lot don’t have real jobs). Even though you got me by click bait, you were honest.

    • DW
      Posted at 14:53h, 21 December Reply

      Looking back, I think I should have put a “click-bait” disclaimer in the title, as it was not my intention to grab clicks, but to present an alternative to the error fare craziness that happens every time we see one of these fares pop up.

      DW

  • Matt hunter
    Posted at 18:55h, 21 December Reply

    I would just report this blog to the contact section on boarding area for posting an obvious clickbait article like this.

    • DW
      Posted at 19:00h, 21 December Reply

      Come on Matthew… The word clickbait is in the first sentence, which can be seen in the excerpt posted on boarding area.

      Report shmasport…

      DW

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