I Almost Booked a Mistake Fare (and it wouldn’t have mattered)

One of the challenges in being able to take advantage of great deals is, when they are truly GREAT deals, they aren’t around very long. And chances are high that I’m either asleep, at work, or some combination of both (hello 5 o’clock)! If collecting points and miles isn’t your full time job, meaning you aren’t constantly scouring social media in hopes of catching a good deal, then there is a good chance you may have missed the Wednesday mistake fare. Wednesday morning I woke up around 6:15 PST and jumped on Facebook from my phone. Full disclosure, this isn’t something I do every morning, (jump straight on Facebook that is) usually I make Julie coffee so she can wake up 🙂 Almost immediately, I came across a post from one of the blogs I follow, The Points Guy. It basically read, “Amazing deal, $50 Business Class flights departing from London”. In order for one to be able to book the deal, you needed to go on to United’s website, change your country of origin in the top right corner to “Denmark” and then proceed to book a flight originating from LHR (London Heathrow).

Lie flat seats for $50? Sold!
Lie flat seats for $50? Sold!

I tried booking a flight for about 30-40 minutes. We were going to be coming home from Dublin during our July trip and my thought was that we could in some way, cancel our return flight and take this one instead. On multiple occasions I got as far as having picked out seats and input all of my information. Each time, I either caused the system to boot me out for not following the process correctly (you had to switch your country of origin and then select that same country as your billing address), or (more likely) the system was trying to prevent people from booking these “mistake fares”. Ultimately, it never worked for me, and that’s probably a good thing too. Later that day, despite many people successfully booking these fares, United came out and said that they would not honor them. To me, this is not entirely surprising as I didn’t expect much out of them anyway. I know that it was borderline sketchy and “too good to be true” to begin with. But these things do happen, usually not to this level, but they do. And there are a number of instances in which airlines DO in fact honor the “mistake”. However, the chances that United was going to let me keep a $50 Business Class fare when the going rate would have been about $10,000 just didn’t seem all that plausible. Bottom Line Mistake fares do happen and they are occasionally honored by the airlines. In circumstances where the deal is just too good to be true, it doesn’t surprise me that the airlines are trying to get out of it. For their part, it was a glitch in the third party currency conversion software that allowed rates to come across so cheaply in the first place. There are some then, that are going to do everything possible to try to get United to allow to them to keep that cheap fare. To each their own I suppose. Doesn’t seem worth the fight to me, but this is America and we sued McDonalds because the coffee was too hot. So you just never know. Chances are, some sort of a “mistake fare” will come along again. The best way to not miss out on them of course, is to commit to following more social media sites and bloggers that will pass along a great deal as soon as they hear about it (well, after they book their own stuff I’m sure). Personally, I would love to take advantage of such a deal in the future, within reason. For now though, I’ll just keep saving my points and miles for our next adventure!

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