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Mistake Fares: How To Save Money On Flights Like A Pro!


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Maighdiln Mullin



Looking for a way to save money on flights and travel like a pro? Look no further than mistake fares. Mistake fares, also known as error fares or glitch fares, are heavily discounted flight prices that occur due to human or technical errors in the airline’s pricing system. These errors can result in incredibly low prices for flights to various destinations around the world.


While mistake fares may be rare, they have the potential to save you hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars on your next trip. However, taking advantage of these fares requires some knowledge and strategy. In this article, we will explore how to find mistake fares, provide tips for booking them, discuss how to maximize their benefits, and address any risks and limitations you should be aware of.


Whether you’re a budget traveler looking to stretch your travel dollars or an adventurous explorer who loves jumping on spontaneous flight deals, understanding and utilizing mistake fares can be a game-changer for your travel plans.


What are mistake fares?

Mistake fares are essentially pricing errors made by airlines that result in significantly lower ticket prices than the usual market rates for a specific flight or route. These errors can happen due to various reasons, such as human miscalculations, technical glitches, or currency conversion discrepancies.


When an airline realizes that they have made a mistake in pricing, they usually try to rectify it as soon as possible. However, during the brief period between the mistake and the correction, savvy travelers can take advantage of these heavily discounted fares and secure a great deal on their flights.


It is important to note that mistake fares are not the same as promotional or flash sale fares, which are intentionally offered by airlines to boost ticket sales. Mistake fares are genuine errors that occur spontaneously and can lead to substantial savings for travelers who are quick enough to snag them.


These error fares can occur on both domestic and international flights, and they can apply to various travel classes, including economy, premium economy, business, and even first-class. However, it is worth mentioning that mistake fares are more commonly found on international and long-haul routes.


While the exact discounts may vary, mistake fares can often be as much as 50% to 90% lower than the regular ticket prices for the same flight. This means that you could potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your airfare by capitalizing on these pricing errors.


It is important to note that mistake fares are typically rare and unpredictable. They cannot be relied upon as a consistent method of finding cheap flights. However, for travelers who are flexible with their travel dates and destinations, and are willing to keep an eye out for these rare opportunities, snagging a mistake fare can be an incredibly rewarding and budget-friendly experience.


How to find mistake fares?

Finding mistake fares can be an exciting endeavor for budget-savvy travelers. Here are some strategies to help you uncover these elusive deals:

  1. Follow fare deal websites and forums: There are websites and online forums dedicated to sharing information about mistake fares and airline pricing glitches. Subscribing or regularly visiting these platforms can help you stay updated on any new deals that pop up.
  2. Sign up for airline newsletters: Airlines occasionally send out newsletters and promotional emails that may include mistake fares or flash sales. By subscribing to these newsletters, you can be among the first to know about these deals.
  3. Use flight search engines and aggregators: Flight search engines and aggregators often have features that allow you to set up price alerts for specific routes or destinations. Enable these alerts to receive notifications whenever there’s a significant drop in prices for your preferred travel dates.
  4. Be flexible with your travel dates and destinations: Mistake fares are often available for a limited time and may have specific travel restrictions. Being flexible with your travel plans can increase your chances of finding and booking these deals.
  5. Follow airlines on social media: Some airlines announce mistake fares and flash sales on their social media channels. Following airlines on platforms like Twitter or Facebook can give you real-time updates on any discounted fares.
  6. Consider using travel agents: Travel agents who specialize in finding and booking mistake fares can be a valuable resource. They have the expertise and connections to uncover hidden deals that may not be easily accessible to the general public.

Remember, finding mistake fares requires patience, persistence, and a bit of luck. It’s important to stay vigilant and keep checking for new deals, as they can appear at any moment and disappear just as quickly. By utilizing these strategies and staying informed, you can increase your chances of scoring a fantastic deal on your next flight.


Tips for booking mistake fares

Booking mistake fares can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it’s important to approach the process strategically to increase your chances of securing these amazing deals. Here are some tips to keep in mind when booking mistake fares:

  1. Act quickly: Mistake fares are fleeting, and they can disappear within minutes or hours. Once you spot a mistake fare, be prepared to act swiftly. Have your payment details ready and be ready to click that “book now” button.
  2. Double-check the fare details: Before finalizing your booking, ensure that you review all the fare details including travel dates, destinations, and any restrictions or limitations. Mistake fares may come with specific conditions, such as non-refundable tickets or limited seat availability.
  3. Book one leg at a time: Airlines often price their tickets based on round-trip fares. However, mistake fares may only apply to one leg of the journey. To take advantage of the lower price, you may need to book each leg separately.
  4. Consider travel insurance: Since mistake fares are often non-refundable, it’s a good idea to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment. Travel insurance can provide coverage in case of trip cancellation, delays, or unforeseen circumstances.
  5. Be prepared for itinerary changes: In some cases, airlines may cancel mistake fares or ask customers to pay the difference in price. While this doesn’t happen often, it’s important to be mentally prepared for the possibility of changes to your itinerary.
  6. Monitor your email: After booking a mistake fare, keep a close eye on your email for any updates or changes from the airline. It’s important to stay informed about any developments relating to your flight.
  7. Avoid making other travel arrangements immediately: It’s recommended not to make any other non-refundable travel arrangements, such as hotel bookings or car rentals, until your mistake fare is confirmed and ticketed.
  8. Stay respectful and follow airline policies: If the airline realizes the pricing error and chooses to cancel the mistake fare, it’s important to remain respectful and understand that these errors are unintentional. Follow the airline’s policies and guidelines in such situations.

Booking mistake fares requires a combination of timely action, attention to detail, and flexibility. By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the world of mistake fares and secure incredible deals on your future flights.


Taking advantage of mistake fares

Once you’ve successfully booked a mistake fare, it’s time to maximize the benefits and make the most of your travel experience. Here are some ways to take advantage of mistake fares:

  1. Explore new destinations: Mistake fares often offer discounted prices for flights to various destinations. Take advantage of these deals to explore new and exciting places that may not have been on your radar before.
  2. Upgrade your travel experience: With the money you save from booking a mistake fare, consider upgrading your travel experience. You may be able to fly in a higher class, enjoy extra legroom, or indulge in premium services.
  3. Extend your trip: Since mistake fares can provide significant savings, consider extending your trip duration. Use the extra time to immerse yourself in the destination’s culture, explore nearby cities, or simply relax and unwind.
  4. Take spontaneous trips: Mistake fares often have limited availability, so be open to spontaneous travel opportunities. If you find a great deal, don’t hesitate to book and embark on an impromptu adventure.
  5. Combine mistake fares with other deals: Mistake fares can be combined with other travel deals, such as discounted accommodations or car rentals, to save even more money on your overall travel expenses.
  6. Share the deal with others: If you come across a mistake fare that suits your travel plans but you’re unable to take advantage of it, consider sharing the deal with friends or family. They may appreciate the opportunity to save on their travel expenses.
  7. Use the savings for other travel expenses: The money you save from booking a mistake fare can be allocated towards other travel expenses, such as dining, activities, or souvenirs, enhancing your overall travel experience.
  8. Document and share your journey: Capture your travel memories by documenting your journey through photographs, videos, or a travel blog. Sharing your experiences with others can inspire and encourage them to seek out great travel deals as well.

Remember, the thrill of booking a mistake fare doesn’t end when you secure your flight. It’s about embracing the opportunities it presents and making the most out of your travel experience. By embracing spontaneity, exploring new destinations, and enjoying the additional savings, you can truly take advantage of the benefits that mistake fares offer.


The risks and limitations of mistake fares

While mistake fares can be incredibly enticing and offer significant savings, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and limitations associated with booking these deals:

  1. Flight cancellations or changes: Airlines have the right to cancel mistake fares or make changes to your itinerary. This can be inconvenient and may require you to make alternative travel arrangements.
  2. No guarantee of ticket issuance: Even after you book a mistake fare, there may be instances where the airline is unable to issue the ticket due to the error being discovered. In such cases, you will not be able to benefit from the discounted fare.
  3. Strict refund and cancellation policies: Mistake fares are often non-refundable and come with strict cancellation policies. Additionally, changing your travel dates or making modifications to your booking may incur significant fees.
  4. Limited availability: Mistake fares tend to have limited availability and may sell out quickly. If you’re not able to secure the deal in time, you may miss out on the discounted fare.
  5. Restricted travel dates or routes: Mistake fares may come with specific travel restrictions, such as limited travel dates or restricted routes. This can affect your flexibility and may require you to adjust your travel plans accordingly.
  6. Timing and luck: Finding and booking mistake fares requires vigilance, timing, and a bit of luck. These deals are not guaranteed, and they can appear and disappear within a short period. It’s important to be prepared and act quickly when you come across a mistake fare.
  7. No loyalty program benefits: As mistake fares are generally heavily discounted, they may not accrue loyalty points or provide the usual benefits associated with regular bookings. If you’re a frequent flyer looking to earn points or enjoy status perks, mistake fares may not be the best option.

It’s crucial to consider the risks and limitations mentioned above before booking a mistake fare. While these deals can offer incredible savings, it’s important to be prepared for any potential drawbacks and understand that they may not always align with your travel preferences or expectations.



Mistake fares provide an exciting opportunity for budget travelers to save money on flights and explore new destinations at heavily discounted prices. While they may be rare and unpredictable, the potential savings and spontaneous adventures they offer are worth pursuing.


To find mistake fares, stay updated with fare deal websites and forums, sign up for airline newsletters, use flight search engines and aggregators, and be flexible with your travel plans. When booking a mistake fare, act quickly, double-check the details, and consider travel insurance for added protection.


Taking advantage of mistake fares allows you to explore new destinations, upgrade your travel experience, and even extend your trip. Consider combining mistake fares with other travel deals and share the savings with others. Document and share your journey to inspire fellow travelers.


However, it’s important to understand the risks and limitations associated with mistake fares. Flight cancellations or changes, strict refund policies, limited availability, and restricted travel dates or routes are factors to consider. Timing, luck, and no guarantee of ticket issuance are also aspects to keep in mind.


In conclusion, if you approach mistake fares with caution, do your research, and remain flexible, you have the chance to save significant money on airfare and create unforgettable travel experiences. Keep an eye out for these rare opportunities, and you may find yourself jetting off to your dream destination at a fraction of the cost!