Wrong fare: how to save on airline error


Erroneous fares are not uncommon, but always a great pleasure. How about you can fly to Asia from Russia for only 8000RUB round trip? Or maybe you can fly to Australia for 12000 roubles? This is not a myth, but the real tickets, which can have any of us, if you know where to look. This article is going to tell you what a "wrong fare" is, where to find it and what to do if you manage to buy a lucky ticket.

I will start with the most important rule of the wrong fare: don't call the agency or airline! Don't ask them questions like "Why is it so cheap? Will I fly at all?". I'll explain the consequences of such a call next, but for now just remember this rule.

The definition of "erroneous fare" came about for a number of reasons:

- The erroneous underestimation of the fuel charge (the so-called "fuel dump").

- erroneous calculation of a flight according to a valid code-share agreement. (A codeshare agreement is an agreement between several airlines which allows sharing the flight. For example passenger bought ticket from S7 Airlines, but ended up flying with Belavia. The airline, which provides the airplane and carries out the flight, is responsible for luggage, flight delays, your comfort in the cabin. And the airline, which sold the ticket and which code is specified in the ticket number is a marketing partner. It establishes rules of air ticket exchange and refund).

- Human factor or operator's physical error when entering the fare in the system.

Incorrect fare can be easily detected: suspiciously low price in comparison with other offers of the airline or agent for the same destination.

Example of erroneous fare. An average price for such a segment is about 20,000 rubles for a round-trip flight.

If you see an offer to buy tickets for a wrong fare, but are worried about the possible consequences of such a purchase, keep in mind that in this situation there are two possible outcomes:

1. The airline will see the mistake, correct it, but will confirm your booking and not cancel the already purchased tickets.
2. The airline will not want to make the flight to its detriment, will correct the mistake and cancel the sold-out tickets, refunding the money to customers.

By the way, there is also a 3rd option: when the airline confirms your booking, but cancels all the possible bonuses associated with it (bonus miles, premium service, etc.) Not the worst option, but it may happen.

In any of the above cases, you do not risk financially! If the booking is cancelled due to an incorrect fare, the money is always refunded to the buyer's account

Fares resulting from such mistakes are undoubtedly very profitable, but you should keep in mind some specifics and rules when buying tickets:

1. The most important rule is not to call an agent or airline. Never, under any circumstances and in any doubt do not call! Confirmation/annulment comes in the mail within a few hours or even a couple of days. Be patient and wait for the letter. By calling to the airline or agency you increase possibility of cancellation of your tickets (and all those who bought them too) and 100 % influence on cancellation of erroneous fare.

2. Think fast and buy. Tickets at the "best" fare are not durable. It may take up to an hour after the error occurred to detect it. So you should book your ticket immediately, otherwise you risk to be left without a successful purchase.

3. Do not make reservations for related services (hotel, insurance, etc.) prior to confirmation. Wait for confirmation of your booking or better still wait a couple of weeks after the confirmation letter to be sure that the flight will not be cancelled. If the confirmation comes and there is no change in the time allowed, buy everything you need at that time.

4. The last segment can be skipped, the first can't. 99.9% of wrong fares occur on routes with transfers. And one of the options for flying on such a fare is "take off from city A, return to city B, but stopover in our city A".

If you have purchased tickets of this nature, remember: you can NOT fly the last segment, which was actually required only to reduce the price. In the example above, the last segment is a return flight from Moscow to Ekaterinburg.

BUT: if the same flight would look like this: "Moscow - Yekaterinburg - change planes in N - Delhi", and you decide to skip the first flight and have a connection in your city (in our case - Yekaterinburg), you cannot do this. Skipping the first segment will cancel the entire ticket.

5. Do not buy tickets at the wrong fare, if you need to fly with them. As mentioned earlier, if an error is detected, the airline may cancel the reservation, refunding your money. In this case, you will have to look for something else in an emergency.

6. Don´t buy your tickets if you are not sure that you can travel with them. Always check that the total price for the group is not higher than the initial price per person multiplied by the number of people in your group. So if in doubt, do not lose your head before the low price and just cancel such tickets.

Example of an erroneous fare. One of the most discussed cases related to this fare is a two-way flight to Australia for 12000 roubles. Despite numerous complaints and the anger of the customers, the airline still cancelled all the tickets and refunded the customers.

You should not be afraid of buying tickets at a wrong fare. There are cases, when airlines purposely make fare mistakes in order to sell out all the seats on the flight and to attract attention. Moreover you do not lose financially: in case of error detection, the airline company returns the money to the customer in full. The only thing you should avoid is buying such tickets, if you are not sure about your plans. You will probably not be able to modify or cancel your reservation.

Search for tickets with an incorrect fare can be done:

- on the airline's website
- at agency websites (Biletix, OZON.travel, Kupibilet etc.)
- on search engines (Skyscanner, Aviasales, OneTwoTrip, Momondo, etc.)
- at Vinsky's forum (the most global forum for independent travelers)
- social networks travel publishers and groups (Vandrouki, Pirates.Travel, etc.).

  • The author of the article

Olga Melnikova is an expert at onlineexpo and creator of the travel diary Manyways_book



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