Error fare is simply a deal that is so attractive, affordable (and cheap) that someone somewhere had to make a mistake and thus created the error fare. And we all are very excited to get something on a very discounted price, especially flight tickets, which can lead to a vacation or trip.

Information is valid at time of publication. So sometimes you may not find the price mentioned in the post (ex. after several days of the original posting date). It means that the deal was sold out or supplier (airlines/agency) has changed the conditions or removed the offer.

Pricing of flight tickets is very complicated and difficult process which involves lots of elements and parts.  International fares include three main components:

  1. base fare, depending on the fare or booking class like L or Y for coach and Z or C for business;
  2. taxes and fees imposed by governments and airports;
  3. fuel surcharges, also reflected as YQ/YR on a ticket price breakdown.

Some airlines may still include fuel surcharges in the base fare, and others may break them out only for certain routes. So, to be short. the fuel surcharge is probably the main reason fro error fares.

Causes of error fare

1. Human factor.

In a highly computerized world nowadays there are still some situations, where people are involved in typing, adding, copying processes. Very simple:  incorrectly entered price – someone typed in $55,7 or $55 instead of $557.

2. Travel Agency mistake

Sometimes Online Travel Agencies (OTA) can be the causing reason of an error fare. And to be exact: their internal wrong price-forming process, not limited to fuel surcharges missing, or some computer/software glitch. You can simply tell if it is a OTA mistake: exactly this error fare will NOT be replicated elsewhere.

3. Missing fuel surcharge

Fuel surcharges along with other taxes and fees are added to each ticket, which basically form the total price for the trip. Some fees are high, some are lower. And exactly these taxes are also manually added into the booking systems so there is a chance someone entered these values incorrectly or completely could forget about them.

For example price breakdown for Atlanta-Paris roundtrip flight:

fuel surcharge can be coded as YQ or YR

As you can see in this example fuel surcharge takes 50% of a total ticket price.

4. Open-Jaw flights.

Another common mistake of error fare. Open Jaw ticket simple explanation: airport of departure is different from the airport where you will return. And the formation of these tickets is a pretty complicated process. It involves the cooperation of more airlines and calculation of airports fees and taxes for more airports. Thus, there’s a big possibility of mistake and errors in ticket price formation.

Can I predict error fares?

The answer is NO. Mistake is mistake. Error fare is a completely uncontrolled process.

Image Credits:Florent Barrault used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / resized from original .