Why You Have To Be Spontaneous When It Comes To Error Fares
A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing one of my favorite sites, Secret Flying, and saw a deal to fly to both Iceland and London from New York for only $440. This was one of the cheapest deals I had seen in ages. After messing around with Google Flights for a bit to figure out which days would yield the cheapest deal, I found I could even get it for $420, which I obviously felt was even better. After reviewing my finances, I definitely didn't have enough to pay for the flight that day, but knew that when I got my paycheck the next morning that I would be rolling in the money and have more than enough to put down $420 on my Spring trip to Europe. I saved the search and knew I'd buy it the moment I woke up the next morning.
With high hopes, I woke up, checked my bank account to make sure I got paid, grabbed my credit card and refreshed the page to purchase my amazing flight deal. And of course, in true unpredictable flight price changing fashion, the flight had gone up from $420 to almost $700. I was in absolute shock. I couldn't believe less than 8 hours could be the difference in price that would make me question if this trip was worth it. Thankfully after messing with dates a little bit and which airports I fly out of, I got the price down to $590, which I was willing to pay, but not super happy about.
This was one of those cases where buying immediately is really your best option for getting a flight deal. Airlines don't wait around for you to make up your mind if you can afford the price or not, so the moment you find something like this, the reality of the situation is that you have to pounce. The time you spend deciding if you can afford it, if you can take the time off work, or even if you aren't even sure what you'd do once you get there just lost you an unbelievable amount of savings.
Just a few days ago, I signed up for Twitter notifications for Secret Flying and The Flight Deal, which means the moment they post a deal they've found, I get it send straight to my phone so I can see what's available. I think the greatest thing to happen to airline websites lately is the "error fare." Due to human negligence or a computer error, occasionally an error fare pops up and it can be absolutely ridiculous how cheap a flight can become at that point.
This choice played in my favor when I woke up on leap day morning to a quiet buzz from my phone, alerting me to an error fare for flights to Europe from NYC for only $250. I was in shock. That price was too good to be true and I had to investigate. I looked at the post on Secret Flying and it appeared that the airline TAP Portugal had accidentally listed many of their flights to and from Europe to the East Coast for less than $300. I figured it might have something to do with the extra day of the year messing with their system. As someone who has a love affair with Europe, I didn't want to miss out on a chance to spend as much time as possible over there (even though I'm already going to be there in May).
After playing around in Google Flights to see possible combinations for a cheap fare, it seemed I could fly into London and back from Madrid for only $222. My mind was literally about to explode at this point. At these prices, I could buy multiple flights and still pay less than it would be for a single round trip to Europe. And buy multiple flights is just what I did, I woke up my boyfriend and roommate and told them of this incredible deal and asked if they'd want to go with me (granted they pay me back later for the flight) and I'd buy all three flights at once. Of course they were totally into it and now I have some companions for my adventure.
And as all error fares would have it, I'm sure the airline saw how many flights were being bought for this low price and changed it back to the usual $700+ within an hour of the original posting. It's a really good thing that I didn't wait and take time to think about whether or not I should get this deal, because even if for some reason my boss doesn't let me take the time off to go or I somehow go completely broke and can't afford to go without being homeless those two weeks, then I can rest easy knowing that it only cost me $222 to purchase voyage over to Europe.
Sadly, a few friends I had let know about the deal, but they waited and missed out on it, which is unfortunate. Sometimes you seriously have to just jump at the deals you see, because they may disappear in a moment, especially with an error fare. So to get the cheapest price, sometimes you have to be completely spontaneous and make an immediate choice when it comes to buying or else you might kick yourself later if you wait and find it's gone. So I encourage you travelers to make a quick decision or else possibly miss out.