How I Flew to Italy for $130-With No Credit Cards
It was a beautiful Saturday morning in November when I got the notification from The Flight Deal: roundtrip fares all over the world for dirt cheap. Houston to South Africa for $400, DC to Israel and Mumbai for $285. I started to sweat. It was like the frequent travelers’ Black Friday. Could this be true? And if so, how did this happen?
A GLITCH FARE
Every so often, an airline (or a booking engine) will mess up and price certain flights incredibly low. This glitch in the matrix typically doesn’t last long (between 1-3 hours), but airlines typically honor the glitch.
On that sunny Saturday, these glitch fares ran the ENTIRE day. A small Norwegian airline called Widerøe, made a huge mistake in it’s booking engine; it was calculating fares completely wrong. During the process of assembling the numerous fees, surcharges and taxes involved in your usual airline ticket, Widerøe neglected to include fuel surcharges in that calculation, resulting in deep discounts on certain fares.The entire world was on sale (not an exhaustive list):
Europe: Dublin, London. Paris, Milan, Rome, Munich, Frankfurt, Oslo, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin
Israel: Tel Aviv
India: Mumbai, Delhi
Middle East: Dubai, Doha, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain
And these were flights on a well known carrier: United Airlines. People were booking their vacations for the entire year! Because I wasn’t a full time entrepreneur then, I knew that I only had a limited amount of vacation days. Where could I travel to in an extended weekend without having to be in the air for more than a day? Europe. The mantra to snag glitch fares is book now, ask questions later. I had no idea where I was going to stay or how I was going to get around. In fact, I just picked a random weekend in February without even requesting vacation off. I’d worry about that later.
Shaking and nervous, I perused the Wideroe booking engine in Norwegian (At the time, I didn’t know that you could switch the language). I had trusty Google Translate open in the adjacent tab. 20 minutes in and success!
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