Another amazing glitch has come and gone. This time it was San Francisco or Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand for $220 roundtrip. Oh wait, or is it Miami to Brazil or Panama for $118 round trip? Or what about East Coast cities to Europe for $200 round trip. The point is, these glitch or error airfares are crazy. But some of them could have lasted longer. That’s right, due to novice travelers breaking the cardinal rules of glitch fares, some of these fares ended earlier than they should have, causing some fliers who were in the midst of purchasing or ticketing to get their plans cancelled. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of glitch airfare etiquette. Spread the word so we can all book more flights. Happy Hunting!
DO: BOOK NOW!
Plan later. Share later. Go to the bathroom later. Run your errands later. Well, you get the point.
These fares go quickly and sometimes can be gone within hours or even minutes. If you see something, don’t want around for your hemming-and-hawing friends or family. It’s go time, and your window is limited. At the very most, multitask and call or text people while you are searching. But there is nothing more bitter than missing a deal because your friends are moving slow. Trust me, I know. It happened to me, and I was in a bad mood for at least four days.
Similarly, you can plan out the minutiae later. If necessary, do a quick search to make sure hotels in your destination are in your budget but worry about the details later. This is the essence of “book now, plan later.” Or you may not have a trip to plan.
DON’T: CALL THE AIRLINE OR THE BOOKING SITE!!!
Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT call the airline or the website with the glitch until the glitch is over. Also, because for some reason this is a thing… Do NOT go to the airline ticketing office. This is cardinal rule number one in the “don’t” category. Seriously. If you call while the glitch is going on, you are alerting them to the error and they will fix it. This will likely cause travelers whose tickets have not completed the process to be cancelled and the error will be fixed.
This is a rookie move. Wait until the deal is for sure for sure dead before you call to do anything. Need to cancel or change something? Book the new ticket and wait to cancel because you typically have 24 hours to cancel and get a full refund. Just wait until the glitch is dead so you don’t kill it for everyone else.
DO: Have friends who have your back
Glitches often come in the middle of the night. You need good friends who will send you alerts on the glitches, and make sure you see them. And if you don’t respond during the night, they may have to actually call you to get you out of bed to book.
Another option is to have an extremely close friend that is authorized to book on your behalf. Have someone that you agree on dates and prices, and if they see the ticket and you don’t they have your personal information to book for you. Whatever your arrangement may be, you will need friends to alert you promptly to these deals. Also, join travel groups and turn on your notifications on Facebook, for example, so when an error fare goes down, you will be on top of it.
DON’T: Contact anyone on social
By anyone I mean (again) the airline or the booking site. You would be amazed at how many boneheads will tweet whatever airline it is and ask “Is this fare legit?” Do you not think they are monitoring their Twitter feeds to see if something is going on or a mistake has been made? Again, along the lines of calling, why would you do this? This is the quickest way to have someone screenshot your Tweet and for you to get a bunch of angry messages from people about how you ruined the glitch for everyone. Do not become the victim of Internet ire by committing this amateur mistake.
DO: Have pertinent information memorized
Memorize your credit card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV codes for quick booking. You really don’t want to be searching for the right card and have the price start changing in the midst of your booking. No bueno.
DON’T: Share error fares with novice friends and not tell them the rules of the game
If your friends aren’t hip to the glitch airfare game, don’t leave them in the dark. Otherwise they will be the ones calling the airline and ruining the deal. When you pass along the info to less savvy individuals, it may behoove you to tell them not to contact the airline for any reason while the error is going because there is a good chance this will ruin it and cause the deal to end early. See above.
DO: Check to make sure you have 24 hours to cancel
If it isn’t an airline or booking site you are familiar with, try to check the terms of the site as quickly as possible to make sure that you have a cancellation window. U.S.-based airlines are required to give a 24-hour cancellation window for bookings and most (if not all) third party sites have free 24-hour cancellation as well. Make sure you know the deal as you are booking.
So what did I miss? What are the other do’s and don’ts of glitch airfare etiquette?
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