Thanks to a website glitch in December, lucky travellers were able to lock in extremely low fares from Delta Airlines, including a round trip between New York and Los Angeles for just $40. Catching “mistake fares” might mostly be luck, but you can take advantage of these anomalies if you know where to look. Forums such as “Mileage Run Deals” at FlyerTalk.com and “Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking” at MilePoint.com post pricing errors and unusually low fares as soon as they’re discovered. Subscribe to the discussion and get an instant email for every new find. It also helps to follow some savvy travellers on Twitter like @ThePointsGuy, @FrugalTraveler and @TheFlightDeal.
Once you think you’ve caught a mistake fare, don’t call the airline to double check or the deal might be dead. Instead, book it fast. According to Matthew Bailey, a frequent flyer who runs CanadianFreeFlyers.com, “It usually takes an hour or two for the airline to realize what they’ve done.” In most cases, vendors will honour the fare if it’s purchased before the correction is made.