A few years ago, while I was on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean about to pull out from port I had a wifi long range antenna and was “slurping” wifi. I was trying to book from Chicago to Copenhagen for just $199 (it was just $99 from NYC) on Delta a mistake fare that was posted by Rick on the Frugal Travel Guy website. As the boat pulled out I dropped signal and could not get it booked. I could have jumped on the ship wifi, but I let it go.
Fast forward to today. I am on the road with limited access (here we go again). I had a few seconds to approve a comment from a reader who was kind enough to comment on the Delta Points “Mileage Run tab” here on the blog right after posting on FlyerTalk (or maybe the other way around). I had about 2 min to check on the Delta app to see if I could find a deal before I had to go, but the deal seemed dead a that point already. Ah well.
Then I get to a computer at lunch. The deal seems really dead at this point and seems not to be bookable where it was before. I have tons of emails from readers telling me the deals they got. The best ones were the newest ones that showed the deal was not just in coach but in first class as well. WOW!
I then see from a reader that at some web sites you may be able to book. I jump on and try to repeat and book and then post. I see seats on eBookers.com to go skiing this winter for $63 each in first class from Chicago. I can drive past SBN to ORD for 1st class seats at that price. I booked and a PNR shows up right away at Delta but NO ticket number. Uh oh. Maybe I will not get it after all.
I then go back and try to book again to take screen shots to be able to put up a post that the deal is STILL LIVE – GO GET IT! But the price is now gone. I try other dates and destinations. Nothing. I test the other sites that work and nothing. The deal had died that fast.
I continued to check readers’ emails and all those who booked at Delta.com had ticket numbers right away. They had paid and tickets issued. This normally means they are good to go; but what about those who booked on other sites. Reports started to trickle in that outside sites were issuing ticket numbers too.
Then Delta issued a press release that they were going to honor the mistake fare. Amazing and IMO the right thing to do. They could have attempted to cancel them all but the PR backlash would have been bad if they had; not to mention the possible legal implications had they attempted this. This was a very short lived mistake and I applaud them for “owning” this mistake. Personally I think the hours and hours of the Delta.com website being 100% down this year cost the company much more than the few who got tickets on this deal. Plus, most of the bookings were in coach. The few who got first class bookings were at the tail end of the deal.
What to take from this. As with all mistakes, or deals, or fare “attacks” i.e. a great deal by an airline to take on a route, you book book book and ask questions later. If you wait, you will miss out. If you call to ask your loved ones if some dates will work or not you will miss out. If you hesitate you will miss out. Also, follow all the social sites. Read the blogs, follow DeltaPoints on twitter, check on FlyerTalk. If you see ANYTHING that makes you go “hummmm”, try to find some time to see if the deal is for real and can work for you. – René
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