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?
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.
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!
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…
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?