What is an ‘Error Fare Flight’ and how to find it

Error Fare Flight

What ‘Error Fare Flight’ means?

I will try to keep it as simple as possible. An error fare flight is when an air ticket is heavily discounted. Discounted to a level which is way lower than the average price of any other air ticket for the same flight and day. For instance, while on a flight from London Heathrow to JFK the average flight fare might be £450 there is that one fare which indicates a price of £199.Wow , is that really happening? Yes, it does! Let’s firstly discuss why this is happening before we move to how you can spot those fares.

Airlines-Online Travel Agencies

Online Travel Agencies are by far the most effective way to spot this no-brainer error fare flights. Airlines and online travel agencies (most commonly known as O.T.A) get into agreements in order to increase their sales. Each airline sets several restrictions to the pricing policy the online travel agency display on the airline fares. A typical example: An airline comes to an agreement with an online travel agency to sell air tickets on its behalf. Sounds simple until now right? Well, the online travel agencies are businesses and as businesses they need to make money. This is when some airlines agree to provide the online travel agencies with private fares. Private fares are discounted fares. So, if the price of a normal fare from London to Orlando is £500 , the OTA get access to the same fare but with a discount!

Human Error

The online travel agencies set a unique pricing policy per airline, route and date. There are thousands of parameters during the pricing policy set up and sometimes a simple human error can generate a great flight deal for the consumers! The online travel agencies occasionaly by mistake display the discounted fares received by the airlines without putting a mark-up to make money on it. Yes, it happens!

Currency Conversion Error & Incentive Deals

That’s my personal favorite! Simply because this is exactly where the biggest deals arise. It is very rare but whenever it happens it’s a real bargain. A typical example, instead of £500 for a flight to NYC you may see ₹500 (Indian Rupees) which converts to just £5.8 for an overseas flight! Crazy hah? But like I said this is very rare to happen. Mainly because the moment a deal as such is displayed,the O.T.A’s website will get flooded from visits and red flags spot the mistakes instantaneously. Some online travel agencies generate a really high number of revenues for the airlines. Therefore, they have the negotiating power to strike some very lucrative deals when it comes to incentive payments. The way this works is by simply negotiating the revenues they are going to deliver by the end of the calendar year to each ailine. Both the airlines and the online travel agencies come to a mutual agreement and once the deal is done they have a revenue target to hit. Before I say more about this you may think…now what this has to do with the error fare flights, right? Well, in this case it’s not exactly a matter of an error fare flight rather than of a very good flight deal.I mean in both cases the consumer gets benefited by discounted fares so I am including this case to my examples as it can benefit the consumers the same way the error flight fare can. So back to the incentive explanation now, once the incentive is signed between the airlines and the online travel agencies the latter has to deliver a specific amount of sales by the end of the 12 months period. Once target is met a percentage of the revenue target is going to be paid back to the O.T.A in a form of an incentive. Just imagine some O.T.A generate tens or even hundreds of millions per year to the airlines so a 3% or 4% to that amount paid as an incentive is still a very large amount of money. The real opportunity for the consumers who wish to find a good flight fare deal is towards the last quarter of each year. Simply because this is when some online travel agencies give hefty discounts to selected airlines fares in order to get more sales in. They do this practice when they are desperate for sales and they are running out of time. As if their total sales for a particular airline don’t hit the target then they simply don’t get paid! in an essence they rather lose some money or make no money at all for some air ticket sales than losing the incentive’s money! You simply have to keep your eyes open especially during December each year in order to spot those secret gems (discounted air fares)


Apart from the above there are several other ways for those error fares to appear. I will provide more ways moving forward. The most important part at this stage I suppose is to reveal ways to spot out those deals. One simple way to do this is to keep an eye daily on websites such as skyscanner, momondo, kayak, cheapflights and the list goes on for ever. These websites are called meta search engines and to put it simple they check all the air fares the airlines and the online travel agencies display. Their goal is to show the best flight deal in terms of price. The difficult part is that you have to know when to look and where to look for those error flight fares. Moreover, the availability of the flights can change momentarily and as a result the price can go up in the heat of a moment. This is where FlightsMania comes in to change the game. I have developed a list of the TOP 200 most searched flight destinations out of the U.K and I am checking through all these websites for the right deals. All you have to do is to a)subscribe to my newsletter and once I spot a hot deal I immediately send you a newsletter with the deal b) follow me on Instagram as I will post regularly about those deals c)visit the flight deals page and search for your flight, the booking engine I use compare nearly 700 travel sites so you have a lot of chances to spot a good deal. Give it a try and you won’t regret it.

Happy travels and don’t forget as Hans Christian Andersen once said.. To live is to travel 🙂

Leave a Comment:

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 Replies to “What is an ‘Error Fare Flight’ and how to find it”

  • Wow! That’s great information to have. I never realized that these super low fares can sometimes be due to errors. I will definitely be looking for them now. Thanks for the information!

    • Thank you David,

      I am glad you enjoyed the information. Please keep an eye as more ways on how to find those crazy fares are going to be revealed soon 🙂

  • I have checked flight fares on these sites like skyscanner and cheapflights before but never thought the cheaper fares can be due to errors. Very informative.

    • I am glad you enjoyed the post. Please follow us on social media for more trips and tricks 🙂

  • Thanks for the great advice
    I will check out my flights for Thailand next year, see if I can get them any cheaper than I normally get them for. I have never got any fantastic deals in the last 8 years, but maybe next year I will ? fingers crossed

    • All the best of luck Paul for your next trip flight search 🙂

  • This is really exciting. Have you ever benefited from such an error? How I wished it happened all the time. Hhahaha. Thanks for bringing my attention to the existence of error fair flights. I have actually bookmarked the page.

    Great informative post.

    • Hello and thank you for your nice comments. Have a look to our latest post for more tips and tricks 🙂

  • Hi Maria, are there certain times in the year that more errors are occurring? For example, are there certain moments when new air fares are broadcasted, resulting in a peak in errors?

    • Hi Wouter,

      January is traditionally the month when the majority of the airlines launch what they call ‘cluster deals’ which are basically discounted fares in order to drive interest and kick off the year with some good sales. During that month the traffic of all the online booking engines (meta search engines,online travel agencies and airlines) increases dramatically. I bet the chances are to spot an error fare there. You could also keep an eye on my blog as once I spot one I will share the news immediately 🙂


AirFare Alerts & Blog Posts

Most Shared Posts

Happy Travels!