So, I knew today was leap day and I’d heard there were going to be many leap day sales, but frankly I wasn’t jumping up and down for bargains.
I receive daily emails from Kayak.com with lists of airfares of places I’m possibly going to. I’ve been keeping an eye on airfares for Amsterdam, as my classmates from Universiteit van Amsterdam are planning a reunion in the late spring. I glanced through the fares and noticed that the airfare for Amsterdam had dropped by over $300. The flights were on TAP-Portugal, a Star Alliance Airline. I perked up – I started checking various dates and whatnot. The $340 airfare (which required a night in Porto) did not work for me, but perhaps the $420 one did. Yes, I think so. As I hesitated, it quickly jumped to $470. What to do? I dived in and purchased it.
I had no idea if this was a mistake fare, or a sale, or if it was limited to this one location or to many. Moments later, I received a mass email from SecretFlying.com announcing Error Fare flights from New York to many European cities from only $252 return with TAP Portugal!!
At this point, I assumed my Amsterdam flight was part of this, and I started looking into other possible trips. I get a little frantic, pumped, frenetic at times like this, it’s hard to explain. In the end, since I was only looking into weekends, I opted for a nonstop jaunt to Lisbon in January for $285 round trip.
Let me backtrack a bit. As soon as I learned of the this sale, I sent out notifications to friends. My travel friends jumped on it. But then there are those people who always say I wish you had told me or next time, let me know. So, I did let them know by posting about the sale on Facebook. I hope some people caught this sale as a result, but I tend to doubt it as there was only radio silence.
I won’t write the whole list of how to find special travel sales. Some of it is fortuitous, as happened this morning to me with the Amsterdam fare. But, I had the Kayak notification in place, and, had I not set up that notification, I likely would not have found that fare.
Some basics again:
- Follow TheFlightDeal and SecretFlying on Twitter and/or Facebook. Set up notifications so you get an email or text when they post.
- Set up notifications with Kayak or similar websites
- Keep your finger on the pulse, by keeping an eye on Twitter, on websites such as Flyertalk, and some of the travel blogs.
- Have a buddy system set up with friends – agree to call or text one another if you see something worthwhile (If you see something, say something!). And, since you need to be ready at a moment’s notice – have your calendar and credit cards handy.
- Know that this can suck up a lot of time, and sometimes the deal dies before the flight is booked, or the trip is not honored by the carrier.
By the way, six hours after booking the $472 airfare to Amsterdam, it jumped to over $1,200, and the $285 airfare to Lisbon jumped to over $800.
For a good laugh, read this: 13 Stages of a Mistake Fare, by Hans Golden.
Happy Leap Day!