Will The Dubai First Class Mistake Fare Be Honored Already?!

Filed Under: Advice, British Airways

A couple of days ago I posted about the amazing first class fare which British Airways filed between Dubai and Austin.


British Airways essentially left off a zero on the cost of their full fare first class ticket price. Rather than charging $8,577+ one-way, they were charging $857+ one-way. The best part were the flexible routing rules, which allowed for quite a bit of backtracking.


As I explained in a follow up post, I even booked one of these fares, routing through Doha, London, Los Angeles, and New York.


The one question I’ve been asked about 462 times over the past 48 hours is whether or not this fare will be honored, given that a lot of people wanted to book hotels and positioning flights. My response has been “we’ll see, I’d give it 48 hours.”

Well, it has been over 48 hours, so I guess I owe you guys an update. We still haven’t heard one way or another from British Airways. They haven’t publicly acknowledged the fare, and for the most part the tickets seem to still be intact. Some people report having their tickets cancelled by online travel agencies, though I haven’t experienced that yet.

With that in mind, I’d recommend continuing to be patient, as it’ll likely be early in the week before we know more.

So… how could this play out?

British Airways will honor, though may not acknowledge the fare

It’s entirely possible that British Airways will honor the fare, but just won’t publicly acknowledge it. It could be that this is all we’re going to get. I find British Airways to be a pretty arrogant proud airline, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t even want to admit they made the fat finger mistake.

As I’ve explained before, I’m not one to pout when airlines don’t honor mistake fares (I’ve never filed a DOT complaint), though I do generally think if airlines aren’t going to honor mistake fares, they have the obligation to let consumers know as quickly as possible.

British Airways won’t honor/this will get really messy

As I speculated a couple of days ago:

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.

Why do I feel this way?

  • As I said above, I find British Airways to be a pretty arrogant airline, and if nothing else I feel like they might just not honor it on principle… or at least try to.
  • Keep in mind that travel on other airlines is involved here, in which case this could be a very costly mistake for British Airways. If they are forced to honor this in the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if they at least try to rebook everyone on British Airways metal, so they don’t end up having to pay Etihad, Emirates, etc., for the full fare ticket cost.

So yeah, I guess we’ll find out soon, and really there’s nothing you can do to “push” this in the meantime. What’s interesting is that this fare has actually been around since early February (which I only found out when the mistake fare “broke”), and many people have already flown on it before.

Bottom line

If you can hold off on booking positioning flights and hotels, I’d probably do so. It’s certainly possible the fare will just “cleanly” be honored and that British Airways won’t even acknowledge it.

But given that this is British Airways, and given that travel on other (non-partner) airlines is in many cases involved, I think this will get more exciting than an episode of Maury.


Do you have a different taken on this than I do? How do you see British Airways handling this fare?

  1. Thank god for the 5 day hold on AA awards 😀

    I called to adjust my routing with BA yesterday for this fare and they said I could do so for free with the fare I had. They looked over the ticket and everything and never mentioned it not being confirmed. Treating it like every other ticket. So far at least…

  2. Surely the fact that others have flown it and it has been around for a couple of months means BA is much more likely to honor these bookings?

  3. My guess: no official announcement will be made but bookings that are indirect or made on partner airlines will get an email that says “good news, we’ve re-accomodated you on a more direct routing!” and re-route people on all BA metal to DFW/ORD/JFK and then AA direct to AUS. Maybe original routing credit will be offered with enough crowing, but they’d much rather pay for that than to pay partner airlines thousands of dollars in losses.

  4. “left off a zero”

    Technically, the decimal was in the wrong spot, once spot too far to the left.

  5. I have already booked trip to Barcelona for my wife and kid one way then they fly to Dubai for 2 days then will have the return leg booked on this SPECIAL. Call you what you want but for me it was just a good price. I have been charged and paid for the ticket. Expect a lawsuit that will cost much more than any ticket will cost for the time and planning I have made. Will be celebrating our girls birthday and have family meeting us there already.

  6. @ JCF

    You aren’t entitled to a mistake fare, if they work out great, if they don’t, rebook. You are certainly entitled to sue them, but merely filing the law suit would almost definitely cost more than simply buying two full fare first class tickets from DXB-AUS and your likelihood of winning would be very low.

  7. @ Craig — I don’t necessarily think that has any implications on whether this is honored or not.

  8. Supposing that BA tries to “re-accommodate” on BA metal to avoid having to pay partner airlines for the true cost of the first class fares, they do offer a LHR-AUS nonstop on one of their new Dreamliners (BA# 191 LHR 11:55a AUS 16:05pm). That would mean people losing a lot of back-tracking segments if booked that way. Perhaps (hopefully) they’ll just quietly honor it but I’d stay very flexible in the meantime in case they do try to pull a re-route on their metal for a more direct routing to AUS.

    Yet again, I missed out on an awesome deal! Grrrrr….

  9. I booked two itineraries with one through Orbitz and one through Expedia. Today all the charges are posted. My two trips are in fact for the same day with different routing. I first booked BA/BA/AA and after online reading I booked EY Bus/EY/BA/AA. One of the BA segment (LHR-LAX) is the same for the two itineraries.

    I definitely want to keep the 2nd route just to fly EY F. My question is that can I cancel my 1st route now or should I wait for some official response from BA? I worry that BA may cancel the 1st route but keep the 2nd one.

  10. @ JW — It’s anyone’s guess. Like I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if BA handles this poorly, so personally I wouldn’t cancel yet.

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