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etihad-logoAbout 2 weeks ago, there was a big mistake fare sale on Etihad.  Fares were as low as $179 roundtrip from New York to Abu Dhabi, and you could get fares in the ~$200 range to India, parts of the Middle East and Asia as well as Africa (including Johannesburg, South Africa).

I ended up not pulling the trigger on any of the deals, and I thought it might be instructive to walk through a few of the reasons.

(SEE ALSO: 5 steps to get you ready for the next mistake fare sale!)

(SEE ALSO: Airline regulators may change rules regarding “mistake fares”)

Timing of the mistake fare announcement

When I say that the mistake fare was about 2 weeks ago, I neglect to mention the fact that the mistake fare was announced / discovered ON CHRISTMAS FREAKIN’ MORNING!!! 🙂


So… as a father of 6… I was kind of busy then!  We did have enough time for me to briefly investigate the deal and that it was still ongoing even after I woke up (I don’t know why these deals always seem to happen in the middle of the night!), I was distracted and didn’t put a lot of time into it.

Not a super-exciting destination (for me)

None of the available destinations were ones that really jumped out at me as places I really needed to visit.  Which is probably more a reflection of me, and the fact that at my current stage of life there are a lot of places that I have not been to.

If we look at my travel bucket list, there are plenty of places I still need to visit, and at least for me right now, I have decided to concentrate mostly on closer destinations.

Super long flights (in coach)

I’m not really a luxury snob (let’s not start the whole Anti-Vendoming thing again!), but I have to say I was not looking forward to some really long flights (in coach).  The one destination that intrigued me the most was  Johannesburg.

New York to Johannesburg (via Abu Dhabi).  Map courtesy from

New York to Johannesburg (via Abu Dhabi). Map courtesy from

The flight from New York to Abu Dhabi is 12 and a half hours, and the continuing flight is another 9 hours or so, leaving at 2 a.m. local time.  We’ve already proven that my kids can’t even seem to handle a 4 hour flight

(SEE ALSO: Passenger: “You’re the type of parent that should not have children”)

So I’m not sure 2 overnight flights way longer would have been a great option.  I could have just booked 2 tickets for a getaway, but I’d rather spend that time using miles to travel in business or first class on a shorter flight.

Oddly enough, this is somewhat the opposite of my philosophy on hotels – see also Why “budget” hotels DESTROY “nice” ones.

In the end…

I am not saying that this was a bad deal (on the contrary!) – if you got in on it, congrats to you and I hope you have fun!  Let me know in the comments where you ended up booking!

If you missed out on this mistake fare sale and want to catch up on the next one – here’s 5 tips to catch the next mistake fare sale.


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