Do’s and Don’ts of Glitch Airfare Etiquette

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!


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.

Amazing tours can be found here for your next glitch trip!

Purchased a glitch fare? Get planning resources here!


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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I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

35 comments on “Do’s and Don’ts of Glitch Airfare Etiquette”

  1. You nailed it!!!!! I would even add not to share the glitch info publicly on your social media page with people who do not get “it”. Also make sure you pay attention to the airport location as cities can have the same name in different countries. For example: a layover in Barcelona, Spain is way different than Barcelona, Venezuela. Just pay attention to the details.

      1. The San Fran to Auckland was not an error or glitch fare. It was priced this way because of a fare war taking place on the West Coast of the usa. Since Alaskan Airlines bought Virgin America, the bigger airlines are trying to price certain routes in a way to make it hard for Alaskan to make a profit. The West Coast to Oceania.

        You did hit it on the head. Never contact the airline about an error or glitch fare. Even if its a SD fare still do not do so. If its a FD fare REALLY DO NOT CONTACT ANYONE. It’s a SD still going on at the moment that many people do not know about. Its been good for about 6 weeks because people are not exposing it to the masses. Also the sites that first published it stated it was finished, but its not. Being part of the travel hacker community I feel we do have to educate new travelers on what to do and not to do. Its all a learning process.

        Good post!!!!!

  2. Haha! I agree with Cessalee up above. Book now, share later. We were lucky to get the Maldives one and have another insanely incredible trip in October, thanks to the error fares. All good points. People..please don’t alert the airlines.. 🙂 . I just wished l lived in London as most of them originate there on this side of the pond.

  3. These are all amazing tips! I am hoping to be able to get one to someplace amazing one day – I just have to multiply by 5, which changes how fast I can react to these things!

  4. This is an awesome post. I have not yet been lucky enough to catch a glitch fare. However, a trip to Tampa + a cruise last January was the result of my seeing that Frontier had $14.99 each way fares. It took 35+ minutes of trying over and over on 3 computers, refreshing because of errors and crashing, etc. but I got it done! I got 2 round trip tickets to Tampa for $59.98 total!

    And now we are hoping to have a little getaway for our anniversary, so I will be on the hunt!


  5. That’s a great write up! My full time job is exactly that, pricing hotels, opening & closing offers, moving prices. Once a team member made an error and a hotel room that costs £450 per night would be available for £45, but we got a call from a potential guest asking what the rate included. That’s when we realised the error (we hadn’t received any bookings yet) and immediately corrected it with the person on the phone. The result? If the guest hadn’t been so naive, she’d have booked a a night at a luxury London hotel at a hostel bed price.

    1. With hotel rate errors, how often do you honor them? I know my experience with hotel rate errors its about a 30% chance they will honor it. As with Error airfares its around 70 to 80%. This is my experience.

  6. This is an excellent read, I saw people posting on FB about the glitch. While it sounds good, I had no idea how it worked. While the deal was amazing I was worried about all the hidden stuff that I knew nothing about.

    1. Jay, I learned about them in travel groups and by checking sites like TheFlightDeal.com. Sign up for alerts and join travel based FB groups because the info is widely disseminated in there!

  7. This is hilarious! Don’t not, I repeat, do not call the airline! LOL I used to have my debit card number memorized, but with Amazon, I don’t even whip my card out anymore. I hope to catch a good glitch someday. I’m itching to do an international trip soon.

  8. Awesome post!!! I definitely will take this advice to heart, and looks like I need to sign up for some glitch fare sites to get notifications!

  9. I always hear about these glitches AFTER the fact!! I love when you say : book now plan later! I think I would get hung up on the details. Thank you for the tips!

  10. This post is genius! I’ve never heard of glitch fare before probably because no one talks about it, it’s a tricky topic. Thanks for sharing and your tips are hilarious!

  11. This is great list of do’s and don’ts! I can’t wait until the next glitch, i’ve been slipping on them lately 🙁

    Ohh and another tip! Don’t miss your glitch flights either! Be at the airport at the recommended times. I overslept for a $200 rt dubai flight and they weren’t trying to help me at ALL. They kept mentioning the fare I paid. I just cried all the way back home lol

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