Mistake Fares, which are also called error fares, occur when an airline or online travel agency (OTA) sells a ticket for significantly less than intended.
Because it was a Mistake Fare that led to the start of Going, we wrote this detailed guide all about Mistake Fares and the best way to score one. And, be sure also to read: Mistake Fares: 3 Things to Know Before You Book.
Will airlines honor Mistake Fares?
Until 2015, the United States Department of Transportation more-or-less required airlines to honor Mistake Fares that consumers bought directly from them. Though it's no longer required, airlines still know that canceling people’s tickets generates horrible press, so they usually prefer to eat the losses from a Mistake Fare.
If the Mistake Fare doesn’t get honored, you’ll often be given the option to purchase at the intended price, but you’re by no means obligated to. The worst case is that the purchase you made simply gets refunded and you’re no worse for the wear.
How often do Mistake Fares get canceled?
On average, around 10% of Mistake Fare purchases get canceled 😞
In the instances that an airline or online travel agency decides not to honor the ticket purchase, you’re almost always notified within 72 hours (and typically sooner than that). However, we recommend waiting a week or two before making any non-refundable plans.
The more egregious the mistake, the higher the likelihood it won’t be honored. A $250 roundtrip economy flight from NYC to Paris is more likely to get honored than the same flight for a $100 roundtrip in first class.