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Fat Finger Fares, Error Fares, Wrong airfares

Last Updated On: 1/8/2013

Fat finger fares are human errors when entering new airfare that either deeply discount the ticket, or did not even charge for the fare at all.  In 2005, USATODAY wrote an article in which two major mistakes were made regarding airfare such as $51 round trip from L.A. to Fiji, $61 round trip from the East Coast to Iceland, and in 2001, they reported, United's mistake offered a round trip airfare from San Jose, CA to Paris for $27.98. 

Is it really possible to find these fares? Fat finger fares

Yes.  Companies like Airfarewatchdog.com and Flyertalk.com stay on top of newly listed tickets.  You can sign up for free to be notified by email when great airfare is avaliable like fat finger fares.  Then you can call up your preferred travel agency, and book it immediately as it may only take a few minutes to a few hours to catch the mistake.  In 2005, U.S. Airways sold 1,000 tickets before their, $1.86 mistake was caught.  From a few minutes to a few hours, it may be the only chance you have of getting this mistake to your advantage.

Does The Law Protect Me or the Airlines

According to the courts, and the exact wording is, "if a reasonable person would recognize that it was a mistake," the airlines are not required to honor the airefare. Fortunately, most airlines will honor the mistake, but some airlines like Korean did not honor a recent mistake for tickets to one of their destinations that should have cost more than $900, and with the mistake, it was less than $500.  Thankfully, many airlines are more inclined to honor fat finger fares rather than lose a customer or reject any money for the airlines. British Airways errouneously displayed a fare of $40 round trip from any U.S city to any city in India. That case made it up to the courts, and more recently Etihad Airways sold tickets on their website without the Fuel Surcharge, which later caused them to deactivate their website for almost a week.

Fat finger fares will always be here because they are due to human error, so until we become something else, fat finger fares will be around for a very long time.


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