Nothing excites a travel enthusiast (or point and mile freak) more than a mistake fare. Well, hearing that such a fare will in fact be honored or seeing proof that the ticket is actually issued is nice too.
Over the years, there have been some amazing mistake fares. I was lucky to be there at the right time (which generally means being near a phone or computer, or logging onto Twitter, The Flight Deal, Flyertalk, etc.) for a special fare on Delta a few years ago (I went to Stockholm for $150 RT, and Barcelona for $250 – and even ran the Barcelona Marathon – one of my favorites!). That mistake fare was due to the failure to include fuel surcharges on tickets. Last year I was lucky to take a bargain trip of a lifetime on El Al to Israel for $500 RT. Then again, I’ve missed so many bargains and mistake fares. I am still kicking myself over many of these.
We all know that there’s another mistake fare around the corner, but in our heads, we are sure this is the last one ever.
And then when it arrives, there’s doubt that it can be true, excitement over the possibilities, nervousness that it’s all for naught, twitchiness because our hands and heads (and computers) cannot go fast enough, and frustration, because the process is never usually an easy one.
And then… the deal goes viral, we watch on forums, emails and twitterland with popcorn, see the website inevitably breakdown, and then we wait…. to find out whether it will be honored or not.
So where were you on November 23, 2013?
Yesterday, like most other Saturday mornings, I was at my computer catching up on things, thinking of how I should get out the door soon to do errands, to run, etc. I then got a message directing me to The Flight Deal. I learned that Wideroe, Norwegian airline had crazy prices on United Airlines and Star Alliance flights.
As stated by the Flight Deal:
Wideroe.no, a Norweign airline is not including fuel surcharges on fares on United Airlines between the United States and Europe Israel, India, the Middle East and Australia. We tested a few city pairs and for all itineraries with United flights, the fuel surcharge is not included.
God knows why, but it took all day. The website was slow, and figuring out prices and variables was so tenuous that it was almost painful. I booked two flights from New York, one to Dubai in January for under $300, and another to Milan in March for under $250. There was a fun aspect to the day too – not just dreaming of sugarplum fairies, but conversing excitedly back and forth with friends on twitter, in emails and in forums. They are not just virtual friends, they are real!
Finally, I dragged myself away from the computer, showered, and went out for the evening. Apparently, sometime between my bourbon drink and my glass of wine, the Wideroe website broke down, and some of the mistake fare trips booked later in the day never ticketed.
I woke in the middle of the night and saw emails confirming the trips. I logged onto United Airlines website and there they were! They were ticketed. I’m going WHERE?