I’m Going To Austin (The Long Way)!

Filed Under: British Airways, Great Deals

A few hours ago I posted about the amazing first class fare which British Airways filed between Dubai and Austin.

Since I’m in the Maldives and was sleeping when the fare “broke,” I was a bit late in sharing the deal, though the fare stayed around for a surprising amount of time. The fare is now finally dead, though in the meantime presumably dozens (probably hundreds?) of people managed to get in on the deal.

What routing I booked

Personally I stretched out the routing on oneworld carriers as much as possible (meaning I didn’t book Emirates, Etihad, Swiss, etc., tempting as it may have been), and booked the following:


That’s 12,948 “butt-in-seat” miles. Here’s the routing on a map:


How many miles will that net me?

So while not a mileage run, really, I booked it over a set of dates where I needed to be in the Middle East anyway, so it’s about as economical of a return as I could have planned on.

I’m also excited to fly the Qatar Airways A380 and British Airways A380 again.


I’m especially excited about spending my entire Qatar Airways flight at the awesome onboard bar


Will the fare be honored?

The base fare for this ticket was ~$857, so it’s pretty clear what happened here. Given that this was the full fare refundable British Airways fare, they clearly just left off a zero, since the fare was supposed to be ~$8,577:


That being said, I actually think this was one of the less obvious mistake fares out there. There are paid first & business class fares published out of Colombo, Cairo, etc., for similar prices. In other words, to the untrained eye I think it’s not as obvious of a mistake as American’s $450 business class fares to China, or United’s super-cheap Danish fares.

So will it be honored? The DOT regulations regarding post-purchase price increases seem to pretty clearly indicate that the fare has to be honored. But ultimately if the airline chooses not to honor, it’s between them and the DOT, so I guess we’ll see what happens!

What makes this especially challenging from British Airways’ perspective is that travel on other carriers was allowed. When you book a mistake fare exclusively for travel on the airline which issued the ticket, the downside is somewhat limited, since those seats may have otherwise gone out empty. However, British Airways is on the hook to pay Emirates, Swiss, etc., the full fare first class ticket cost (or whatever their inter-airline agreement says), so this could be extremely costly for British Airways.

I’m curious to see if they try to weasel their way out of this fare…

If I were a betting man I’d guess British Airways will try to weasel their way out of this fare, and that this may just be one of the most interesting, drawn out mistake fare “cases” we see in a while. But I could be wrong.


Bottom line

My approach to this mistake fare is the same as all the others I’ve booked. If they honor the fare, great. If they don’t, it’s not the end of the world either. I’m just along for the ride.

Do you think the fare will be honored? Did you take advantage of the fare, and if so, what routing did you book?

  1. I just got home, got relaxed, turned on Netflix as my wife and daughter left for dance class them this bomb landed. Austin to Dubai. So I thought. WOW then relized it is Dubai to Austin one way. Still awesome. So I booked 2 trips. Once in late September and another for New Years in Dubai. Both with my wife and daughter. Confirmed and paid. You should have seen my wife, not so WOW….
    Any idea of how to get there…..I am in Houston but can leave from Austin.

  2. I grabbed dxb-lhr-jfk-lax-aus on ba to jfk and aa onward. I didn’t even think to route it to dxb-lhr-lax-jfk-aus. Oh well you live and you learn.

    At least the return will be a damn sight better then my trip out in the back of a Etihad 77w from a ticket bought during their christmas sale.

  3. I’m probably being a snob about this given I only travel on paid intl prem fares now and have more miles than I could ever burn, but all these recent mistake fares you’ve purchased just scream bottom feeder. But then again, you don’t really have a real job, so hey, more power to you.

  4. Ken Y, yet you are reading Lucky’s blog. Can you see the irony in your attempt at an insult?

  5. How do you manage to get those longer routings to work? I saw the fare and booked on one Orbitz, but I only saw DXB-LHR-JFK-AUS, DXB-LHR-ORD-AUS and DXB-LHR-DFW-AUS show up as options. A guide as to how to do this would make for a good blog post (hint, hint).

  6. Given that it’s fairly typical that there is a wide variation in fares paid (or redeemed) in any particular cabin, aboard any particular aircraft, it’s hard to work out Ken Y how these fares make much difference to say corporate rebates, dynamic fare pricing, etc etc

    It’s not like you spend your flight trying to work out whether those seated around you paid more or less than yourself (or maybe it’s just you?).

  7. @Lack I’m pretty new to the whole mistake fares, miles for redemption awards, etc thing (heck, I even “wasted” 42k of my KF miles redeeming a return to JNB in Y not too long ago), so erm … humour a newbie, what does RGN stand for?

  8. @ Ken Y. — One of the side effects of having a blog which gets millions of pageviews per month is that there will be haters. And I’m fine with that. As I say “haters gonna hate,” and I’m happy ignoring them, because negative comments reflect more on them than on me.

    And up until now I’ve ignored all the negative (150+) comments you’ve left on this blog, calling me everything from a bottom feeder to jobless to ugly to fat to telling me I don’t have a life to… well, I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

    I feel confident enough in myself to not even address any of the above. But what makes you different than most of the negative commenters is that:
    a) You’re consistent. You don’t just comment for a week and then disappear, like many of the people leaving negative comments (I can appreciate I’m not their style, and they have better stuff to do with their time).
    b) You’re not an anonymous troll in the sense that you use your real name and real email address which is linked to your real Facebook.
    c) You ask legitimate questions on some posts as well, so you clearly are interested in the hobby… though you’ve never left a a positive comment.

    So I guess my question is this — you have a real job, you’re hot, you’re skinny, you’re not a bottom-feeder, and you have lots of awesome stuff to do with your time (at least I would assume all of the above based on the fact that you’ve called me the opposite of all of them)… why do you bother reading my blog? Is it because you find it helpful? If so, how about focusing on that? Or if you don’t get value out of my blog, how about moving on? While I’d hate to lose your “business” given what a passionate reader you are, it seems like a no brainer for someone that supposedly has as awesome of a life as you do, no?


  9. Well I for one like your blog. Ken Y should remove the “I’m probably” from his comment in the interest of honesty.

  10. A post has just appeared on FT saying they have had an email saying their fare has been voided. Copy of the email looks a little dodgy though with very poor wording / english so be interesting to see what others end up with.

    Going to snag me one of these deals….one day…hopefully….maybe!

  11. Hi Lucky,
    I saw the fare yesterday. And found bookable tickets DXB-LHR-ORD-AUS.
    How did you find and book such a roundabout routing? I tried britishairways multicity tool so could strech it somewhat, but that wasn’t working. So I’d be curious to know how you found the routing and how you booked it.

  12. Lucky, just curious. Do you book these types of tickets on the likes of Orbitz/Pricelice? And if so, do you spoon feed each segment and preferred carrier? All my bookings have been with miles so not really experienced with these complicated routing fares, and when I try finding what I want on Orbitz it won’t price. Maybe a quick post would be a good idea? Thanks!

  13. @Lucky – Your response to @Ken Y. was terrific. Articulate, thoughtful and very classy. Well done.

  14. Great to know that you will be coming to Austin. Let me know when. It would be awesome to finally meet you.

  15. Hi Ben,

    Any sense of when we’ll hear from BA, and if there will be an official announcement or what? How do we know one way or the other? I booked one for June and so I want to think about positioning flights pretty soon. Thanks!!

  16. I could see BA reaching an agreement with DOT to allow them reroute pax to fly DXB-LHR-AUS direct on BA metal on the original dates, or else a full refund.

  17. @ Tom — In theory I could see that, though they have no first class on the Austin route as far as I know, and don’t think they could justify downgrading people.

  18. @ Adam — I bet we’ll know one way or another within 24-48 hours. I’ll certainly post when I hear more.

  19. @ BD — I booked this one through Orbitz using the multi-city tool, and entered it segment by segment. I’ll try to make a post about the process in the near future.

  20. @ Abhi — I used some of the “hints” regarding legal routings in the FlyerTalk thread on the fare, and then used ITA to stretch it a bit further. Then I used Orbitz multi-city to book.

  21. Ben, good response to Ken Y. Maybe it’s time you be FRANK with him? the block button exists for a reason.

  22. Well, this is a first. Today my infrequently awarded Best Comment of the Day prize goes to . . . Lucky himself! That was actually pretty funny. Why anyone would think that you don’t have a “real job” when you work practically 24/7 and blog about it all in minute detail besides is completely beyond me.

  23. @ mohad — This is a mistake fare between two specific airports. It’s not something you can “transfer” to other airports. Sorry.

  24. Really amazing how often mistake fares happen… One would think it’s not that hard to proof the fares when entering them. Or do you think this kind of thing exists for a reason? It can’t be that much of a hit for the airlines to take in the grand scheme of things.

  25. @Lucky – eloquent and classy reply to the (apparently) perfect Ken Y.
    Given you are able to be so respectful in your replies to such a serial hater, I would like take the opportunity to be a little less classy – I hop you don’t mind;

    If I had to guess, Ken Y is probably a lonely low level executive who is mad jealous of your youthful good looks, quick wit, awesome talents and the fact you have Krug for breakfast. Ken Y probably recognizes he can’t do that because he has to show up at his unfulfilled job every day and kiss his bosses arse, day in and day out, while you sip your Krug and enjoy life doing what you love and he probably isn’t doing that. Therefore he takes it out on you to get a reaction. Or perhaps Ken Y is just a miserable little fart who pretends to pay for premium fares to sound important. Yeh, Ken Y, whatever…loser. Move along will you.

  26. @Lucky – can’t see the fare code basis on orbitz or cheapoair, but do you think these OTAs booked into F1MEOW? Just wondering if the OTA’s representation as “non-refundable” is truly accurate.

  27. @ petey — Booked so quickly that I didn’t bother looking. But I’m pretty sure that was the fare basis and it was fully refundable.

  28. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for posting this last night. I was able to take advantage of this when I saw your post last night. I’m doing DXB-LHR (QF A380 F), LHR-LAX (BA A380 F) and LAX-AUS (AA F). I booked it through Expedia. This was actually perfect timing because I was short 10K to requalify for EXP for next year.

    I saw a bunch of different combinations from DXB to AUS. I kept going back to your trip reviews to see which options were the best so I settled on QF and BA. I hope they honor it.

  29. @Lucky – Please ignore those haters. I have a “real” job (although I prefer yours) but I don’t travel with my job so I don’t have a company paying for my premium travels. In addition, I make a decent living but would never pay $10K plus for first class. Only through your blog that I’m able to travel in premium cabins whether through award tickets (based on your tips) or through mistake fares like this one.

    You’re awesome and ignore the haters!!!

  30. Nice work with Ken…it’s pretty clear who came out on #top.

    All of the rest of us appreciate what you do.

  31. @Jason:
    Well, with the money and time you must have floating around, may I suggested a stretch limo, or perhaps a rented helicopter?

  32. @Tom, @Ken, @Keith, @el…
    Apart from Ken’s comment about Lucky being a bottom feeder, I think he might have a point. There are obviously many of us who have to scrounge around for the chance to travel, and those who seem to have endless supplies of miles to burn (e.g. positioning from the US to Dubai just to take advantage of a ‘cheap’ fare directly back to the US) could do a little to share the wealth, by allowing those of us of lesser means to take advantage of these rare opportunities. Just a thought.

  33. What a poor, uneducated statement. Or Ass should work. I work for a company that you probably use everyday. So for us that you think are without jobs are really the ones that have jobs that matter. These fares like last night from Dubai to Austin is now on our calender to show my kids places that they can see in person after we have studied them. Right now we booked another fare from TPG from JFK to Nairobi another great family trip to help educated my kids. You are just frustrated and do not think about what you say.
    PS. We are looking forward to seeing the Great Wall that to these people in this community. Bottom feeders……..You should leave

  34. All the efforts I put into a 60 hour work week to get vacation time to take my family to these places that, thanks to the people for sharing. It really pisses me off to hear someone suggest I am a bottom feeder. To the person that said that for those that get these deals are bottom feeders I will suggest again to you to walk a straighter path and speak less and yes ….please leave

  35. First off, the guy is not a snob! He’s a douch, big difference.

    2) I’m try’n to learn the ways of the bottom feeders so silly question. What the hell will you do for 12 hours at LAX. I’m a person who always tries to find direct flights and wouldn’t consider a 12 hour layover also I would have to choke my wife out b/c she would be complaining the whole time.

    I will say this until now I never had access to club lounges. After hearing about some of the places have rooms and spa like treatments, perhaps a 12 hour spa retreat is what the doctor ordered.

  36. What does this have to do with Swiss and emirates? I thought the mistake fare was on BAs website and wouldn’t it only apply to BA flights?

  37. @ Noahksprenger — The fare worked on a variety of airlines, including Swiss and Emirates as well for travel between the Middle East and Europe.

  38. Thanks again Ben. I came back last week from DXB to AUS. My small family was amazed at the Burj K. Spent a little time on the mall and even went to the beach. I really was impressed with a person that took us through the airport sec. to the First Class lounge. We stayed there for 5 minutes and choose to go across the hall to a VIP lounge with Showers.
    I was amazed with the Austin Intl. Did I really only see 1 luggage claim. This was our first time flying First class and was on British Airways. I made the mistake and should have tried a different airline. Was great for helping my daughter to reach Exec. Plat this year at age 7.
    I thought this was a refundable fare, I ask for 2 reasons. One is I might want to cancel. Was not very happy with the flight. Trips to HKG in Bus. were better. I can not imagine the people that pay the full fare ….

    Thanks again for the site and all the info you help us with. Thanks Jason & Maria & Rubylee

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