So, in early January, I found an amazing fare from Vancouver to Los Angeles for only $65 return on Delta. Luckily, I follow a number of sites and travel related groups like Next Departure, and Secret Flying, so I can sometimes hear about a great deal before the masses buy it all up or do something silly like call the airline. If you find a deal that seems to good to be true…DON’T CALL THE AIRLINE!
In this case, it was an error fare, meaning the airline messed up somewhere along the way and didn’t remember to charge any base fare, so all I paid was taxes and fees.
I was just coming out of a restaurant, checking my phone, when I saw it. I knew a price like that wouldn’t last, so the decision on whether to book it was being made as I was typing in the details on Delta’s mobile site on the ride home. The mobile version was giving me troubles and luckily home was only ten minutes away, so I ended up running to the desktop as soon as I was in the door and managed to get the deal. YAY!
Once I scored this deal for myself (and my husband/travel partner), I called a bunch of friends and family to see if I could help them get it too. The clock was definitely ticking on this one, but the dates were wide open from January to June. I even considered buying a couple different dates for myself, because…$65!!!
A call to my parents went something along the lines of:
Me: Hey Mom
Mom: Hey Honey, how ar
Me: Do you want to fly to LA for $65, because if you do, you need to book it right now?
Mom: Yes, but we’re on the ferry right now on our way t
Me: I’ll do it for you. When are you going?
Followed by me frantically getting their details and booking their trip.
I had a couple of other friends who needed a bit more time to get organized. There was a lot of back and forth amongst travel friends to coordinate dates and times. As a result, by the time they had all agreed on a flight, it had sold out. They had to keep at it and it was a might stressful. But, all’s well that ends well, and they managed to get the deal and will soon be on their way to Disneyland.
Another friend didn’t decide if he wanted to go in time, and wasn’t able to book it by the time the deal expired and all the great fares had sold out.
The deal was gone in about 3 hours.
So, travelling cheap sometimes means you have to be ready to jump on an opportunity as soon as you see it. A good thing to note is that US flights can be subject to a 24 hour “change your mind” refund. So, book it, and then decide if you want to actually use it.
It worked out for me because:
- I was alerted to the deal early on through following some great deal-finding sites
- I was near a computer/mobile booking device
- I had my travel partner with me and didn’t have any delays in discussing whether to book it
- the deal worked on dates that worked for us
- I knew we could find a way to swing the whole trip financially
- because it was an error fare, Delta said they would not give me any SkyMiles, BUT while I did attach my booking to my Skymiles account, I used my Alaska Mileage Plan number in the loyalty section and ended up scoring 540 miles each way
- we were bumped up to First Class (and so got breakfast in a comfy seat in the air for $32) on the YVR-LAX leg
- I paid with my Amex Gold card and got 2:1 points