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Travel site looks for errors that produce ultra-cheap air fares

Travel site looks for errors that produce ultra-cheap air fares
The London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament are pictured as the sun sets over River Thames. Cheapflightsfinder.com found a round-trip fare from San Francisco to London for $367. (Niklas Halle'n / AFP/Getty Images)

A computer error caused Delta Air Lines to offer super-low fares a few years ago that were up to 90% below regular prices, including a $35 one-way ticket from Raleigh, N.C., to Philadelphia.

The Atlanta-based carrier caught the mistake within a few hours but not before the cheap flights were booked by some lucky travelers.

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A travel website announced this week that it is adding a service that can look for and display errors that lead to extremely low fares.

Cheapflightsfinder.com said it can find error fares by tracking the lowest fares on “over 1,200 sources” and then comparing those prices with the price for the same flights on other search engines.

The website, based in Britain, said it has already found several super-cheap deals, including a round trip from San Francisco to London for $367 and New York to Paris for $346.

“Error fares can occur due to a multitude of reasons — sometimes it is due to a misplaced decimal point, a currency conversion mistake or even human error during data entry,” the company said in a news release.

But the travel website warned that airlines are under no obligation to honor the error fares. Because of that, the site offers this advice: “Book quickly before the airline figure out what’s up.”

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