Flight Deals & Fare Glitches: Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

Flight Deal: South Africa
At Cape Point – I flew to South Africa for this trip on a fare glitch.

 

Since 2014, there’s been a rise in the flight deal  or even better, the fare glitch. Is it always a good idea to buy these tickets? Here’s a few things you should consider when a flight deal/fare glitch pops up.

Of course you should buy the ticket!

When a good deal pops up, I’m of the mind frame that you should ALWAYS buy the ticket. Flight deals and fare glitches are great when you know you want a vacation and you’re not sure where. If your schedule is flexible, then you can really make it work. The recent fare glitch of $252 from NYC to Europe spanned 8 months of travel dates, some people even booking as far out as 2017. Compare that to regular fares from NYC to Europe and you’ll never see something that low.

Don’t call the airline. EVER!

If it’s a glitch fare and not a flight deal, don’t call the airline! Calling the airline can alert them to the glitch and next thing you know your friends can’t get tickets or even worse – your own ticket isn’t honored. Book your ticket (or tickets, some people buy multiple) and wait to see if it’s confirmed.

You have 24 hours to cancel your ticket.

In accordance with the US Department of Transportation, you have 24 hours to cancel a flight reservation, without fees. Don’t believe me? Just read here to see their policy!

Flight Deal: Los Angeles
LA is one of my favorite places to fly to on a flight deal. Here’s Santa Monica pier from prior trip!

 

I’ve booked the flight deal – now what?

Congrats on booking your amazing deal. Now you have 24 hours to figure out if you REALLY want this trip. There are several things I do shortly after booking a flight deal. This is where it comes in handy to weigh if the risk is worth the reward.

  1. See if your trip is long enough for the distance you’re traveling. 
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Let’s say you booked a trip to Australia from LA, and you booked it for 5 days. After googling, you’ll find out that most of your time will be spent flying and that the major attractions you’d like to see would take at least 5 days. The last thing you want is to be locked into a trip that was a mess to begin with.

2.  Check out lodging in the area – is this destination expensive?

If you’re someone who likes to travel on a budget or has minimal funds, not every flight deal or fare glitch is for you. Many people were surprised by how much money they had to spend after nabbing a $150 fare to Abu Dhabi last year. So your flight was cheap but if you have to pay top dollar for your lodging, then you may be out of luck. This can also apply to the Norwegian fares to Martinique – the fare is cheap but accommodations are not! Check out Hotels.com, Airbnb, VRBO and other sites. I’ve also done a post about finding vacation rentals, which you can read here. Do your research and see if this is worth it.

3.  Research the airline you’re flying. 

Some airlines I would never fly, no matter how cheap the flight is. Sorry Aeroflot, I wouldn’t do it. Neither would I do it (again) for Etihad. A good place to start is the website Skytrax, which ranks airlines and provides user reviews. Skytrax recently released their list of the worst airlines in the world.  Cheap flights are amazing, but if you value getting to your destination safely – do a little research. It can go a long way.

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Flight deal: Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy, September 2014: Flew here on a flight deal with Emirates! $500 roundtrip

 

Go and enjoy your trip!

If all of the tips above check out, then go for your trip and have a blast! I’ve done a few flight deals and one fare glitch and to be honest, I regret only two of them. I cancelled a trip to Martinique after a friend had to drop out – accommodations were so expensive there that it made more sense for me to cancel my ticket than to force myself to spend the extra money. I was able to get the majority of my money back so it all worked out in the end. Do what works for you and don’t fall to the peer pressure of everyone booking a ticket. Travel can be fun but being too broke to handle your responsibilities isn’t cute. If it doesn’t make sense for you, then do what’s best!

I recommend you keep an eye on The Flight Deal and Secret Flying for cheap flights, as well as read my earlier post on getting cheap airfare. 

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