Home Airlines We’ve Never Booked A Mistake Fare And Why I Doubt We Ever Will

We’ve Never Booked A Mistake Fare And Why I Doubt We Ever Will

by joeheg

Less than a week ago, the travel blogs were buzzing with news about an amazing business class fare from the US to Europe on TAP Portugal. To be honest, who wouldn’t be interested in a round trip business class ticket for $300?

While I saw the headlines come across my newsfeeds, I let it go—the same as I have done for all of the mistake fares I’ve seen before.

While there are a group of people who live to book mistake fares, I don’t fall into that category for several reasons.

I Have To Plan Vacation Time In Advance

My day job requires me to put in for my vacation in advance. I can’t do my job virtually and if I’m not there, someone has to cover for me. That requires planning and keeps me from making spontaneous bookings.

We Like To Travel Where We Want, Not To Where Flights Are Cheap

While mistake fares may be appealing to someone looking to explore, we prefer to visit places on our bucket list. Since we have a limited amount of vacation time, much of our travels are planned out well in advance because of my previously mentioned day job.

Even in the era of COVID-19, we’ve managed to plan a series of socially distanced trips.

Our Trips For 2021 Are Already Accounted For

We already have our 2021 trips planned out, as much as anyone can plan trips right now. Short trips, longer trips, they’re already on the calendar for the rest of the year. Even if I haven’t booked them yet, I know what plans I’m going to make if everything works out and what plans we have in the background if everything goes sideways like it did in 2020.

Final Thoughts

When there was such a thing as in-person Frequent Traveler University gatherings, I spoke with many people who traveled around the world using mistake fares. They went to wherever the lowest fare took them, regardless of the location or if they ever considered going there before. I heard stories about how they got to discover places they’d never considered if not drawn to visit because of a mistake fare to the city.

I appreciate this because in my youth we had to travel to several US cities because of my father’s annual conventions. No matter if it was St. Paul, Memphis, or Tampa, we always found something worthwhile to do while visiting a city. That’s not the way Sharon and I prefer to travel. We find a place we want to go and it’s my job to make that trip happen.

So this means I have to let mistake fares go and I’m OK with that.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary 


Joey March 9, 2021 - 9:43 am

I would much prefer to use miles/points than cash to get me where I want to go. If the miles/points world did not exist, I’d rely more on mistake fares for sure.

Christian March 9, 2021 - 11:01 pm

I respectfully disagree on this one. A little spontaneity is good to keep from getting too ossified, and I include myself here. Sure, most “mistake” fares – actual mistake or not – are not going to run for the ideal times and places you want but that’s the beauty of travel. If you are only going to see what you expect, EPCOT is lots closer. When Cathay had their mistake first class sale that required flying from Vietnam, my wife and I were already going to be in Southeast Asia so I booked us, along with a best guess return. Not only was this a phenomenal bargain that allowed us to be first class revenue passengers for the first and last time in my life, it made us stop in Ho Chi Minh City, which is surprisingly nice and interesting. As a result, we plan on returning to Vietnam. I guess philosophically it’s just a matter of taking the adventures that life lays out at your feet. Anyway, that’s my view on mistake fares and their place in personal travel.


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