Bet You Didn’t Know: Mistake Fares Exclusively for Your City or Airline

By Julian, author of Devil’s Advocate

 

Last week I wrote about some of the tools I use to quickly find and book mistake fares (see “Bet You Didn’t Know: A Toolkit for Chasing Mistake Fares). It was a popular post, but a number of folks mentioned that subscribing via text to every tweet from @TheFlightDeal and @FareDealAlert can mean getting a lot of daily texts, many of which might not be relevant.

Personally, I like receiving every deal those guys find, even if many of them don’t directly apply to me. Sometimes seeing a routing can give you ideas that you might not anticipate. For instance, I live in Los Angeles but travel to New York often enough that mistake fares from both the East and West Coasts, and even the middle of the country, can be potentially useful to me.

However, I realize not everyone is insane like me. Actually, I like to think that I’m insane in my own special way, but that’s probably part of my insanity. In any case, it’s certainly fair to ask if there’s a way to cull all the texts down a bit.

So with thanks and hat tips to several commenters from last week, including Carlos, Yihwan, and a guest, today we’ll cover exactly how to filter all those mistake fares so you can be alerted immediately to the deals only for your hometown, or a specific airline, or both.

First, do not panic!

The method I noted last week to turn on mobile notifications from Twitter is the simplest way to get informed of these deals. Today’s procedure is slightly more complicated, but far from difficult. Also, while this technique involves using an RSS feed, you do NOT need to setup or maintain an RSS reader of any sort. We’re only using the RSS feed as a source, so if you’re not an RSS expert, don’t worry, you don’t need to become one anytime soon.

What you will need is to sign up for a free service known as “If This Then That” (or IFTTT for short). You can find it at www.ifttt.com. Signing up takes about 10 seconds and requires nothing more than a username, an e-mail address, and a password.

IFTTT is a great little tool that allows you to create what are technically known as “conditional statements.” A conditional statement is just what it sounds like — it’s a statement that if one action occurs, then another will occur as well. The most prominent conditional statement in my own life goes something like “if I continue to eat all this chili, then I will continue to get as fat as an elephant.”

mistake fares

In this case, we’re going to use IFTTT to set up a conditional statement using the RSS feeds from The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alert. We’re going to tell IFTTT that if The Flight Deal posts a deal involving our hometown or airline, then send us a text.

Setting up IFTTT for a specific city or airline

Once you’ve signed up for IFTTT, you’ll want to click on “My Recipes.” Recipes are what IFTTT calls their conditional statements. Click the blue “Create a Recipe” button on the right to start building your Flight Deal or Fare Deal Alert recipe.

mistake fares

On the page that follows, when you click on the blue word “this” in the words “if this then that” IFTTT will ask you to choose a “trigger.” A trigger is just the “if” part of your conditional statement.

There’s about a gazillion possible triggers, but the one we’re looking for is the RSS feed, which is labeled with the standard internet Feed Icon. If you don’t know what that looks like, it’s an orange square with white radio waves and labeled “Feed.”

mistake fares

Click on the Feed Icon and IFTTT will ask if you want to be alerted for every new feed item, or if you want to filter what you receive. Since we’re trying to restrict our texts, we want to click on the “New feed item matches” box.

mistake fares

Here’s where we get to decide what we want to see. If you live in New York and only want fare deals from there, you can enter “New York” into the keyword box. If you have Diamond status on Delta and only want to fly Delta, enter “Delta.” You can put anything you want in the keyword box, and IFTTT will only alert you when fares are posted with that keyword.

mistake fares

But what about both?

Of course, some of us want to filter our alerts even further, perhaps by both city and airline at the same time. Unfortunately IFTTT doesn’t support search operators or complex search terms (such as “New York AND Delta”) but there’s a way around this. Luckily both The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alert provide separate RSS feeds by city, which we can use to our advantage.

If we want all the Delta fares from any city posted on The Flight Deal, all we have to do is type “Delta” in the keyword box and add “www.theflightdeal.com/feed/” (without the quotes) in the Feed URL box. Note that for both The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alert, you can see their webpages in an RSS feed by simply adding the word /feed/ to the end of the URL.

mistake fares

But if we only want to see Delta flights to or from New York, we’ll keep Delta in the keyword box but change the URL to only use The Flight Deal’s NYC feed…

mistake fares

It’s cut off in this screenshot, but the word “feed” is at the end of the Feed URL after the “nyc” part.

You can find all the various city feeds on The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alert’s websites under the “Flight Deals” tab at the top left of their main pages. Just don’t forget to add /feed/ to the end of the URL when you enter it here on IFTTT.

Once you’re finished with your filtering and RSS choices, click the blue “Create Trigger” button and IFTTT will confirm your choices.

And now it’s time for Then.

The hardest work is done — the rest is easy. All we have to do is tell IFTTT how we want to be alerted when a fare post hits that matches our filters. In other words, the “then” portion of our recipe, which IFTTT calls “actions.”

Click on the blue word “then” in the main “if this then that” text and you’ll be given a list of options for actions. As I mentioned last week, my personal preference is to receive alerts by text, as I find that’s the fastest and easiest way to get them to my phone. But you can choose any way you want to be alerted — text, e-mail, iPhone or Android notification. Even a Facebook post, though I’m not sure how that would be useful here. Of course I believe Facebook is destroying the fabric of the universe, so I’m probably not the best person to ask on that one.

Whatever method you choose, just pick it from the Actions menu. Most of the choices are self explanatory, but for texts, you’ll want to choose the dark green “SMS” icon.

mistake fares

The very first time you choose an action, you may be prompted to “activate the channel.” This just means setting up your cell number or e-mail for use on IFTTT. The prompts are very easy to follow, so I won’t spell them all out here. For SMS texts, it’s the usual process of having IFTTT send you a text with a PIN to be certain you’re trying to set up your own cell phone and not someone else’s.

Once you’ve done that and selected “Send me an SMS,” you can customize the format of the text you’ll be receiving. Usually the default settings will be fine.

mistake fares

You can leave all these settings the way you find them.

Click on the blue “Create Action” button and you’ll be at the final step, which is confirming everything you’ve done on one screen…

mistake fares

All you have to do is click on that final blue “Create Recipe” button and you’re off and running!

If at any point you want to alter the settings on your recipe — either to filter a different airline or city or to change where you want the alerts sent — click the edit button (it looks like a pencil) on the main “My Recipes” page and you’ll be able to change anything you need. You can also create multiple recipes for different cities and airlines and have them all running at the same time.

The one danger if you’re filtering airfare alerts is that when a big mistake fare hits that doesn’t conform to your filters, you won’t get the message. For instance, if you had our example filter in place, you wouldn’t have gotten alerted about last week’s American Airlines mistake fare from Washington to Beijing because it wasn’t from New York and it wasn’t on Delta. But if you don’t live anywhere near Washington and don’t want to be bothered with a positioning flight, then you can safely use IFTTT to filter out anything that isn’t useful to you.

Did you know how to use IFTTT to filter mistake fares for your city or airline?

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Other Recent Posts From The “Bet You Didn’t Know” Series:

A Toolkit for Chasing Mistake Fares

3 Ways to Earn the Most Points at Disney

Waitlisting for United First or Business Class

Find all the “Bet You Didn’t Know” posts here.

About Devils Advocate

The Devil's Advocate learned the ins and outs of travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment (and yes, of course it’s all real). He now splits his time between New York and Los Angeles and loathes New York winters only slightly less than Los Angeles traffic.

More articles by Devils Advocate »

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43 Comments on "Bet You Didn’t Know: Mistake Fares Exclusively for Your City or Airline"

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Rita
Guest

Great 5 minute learning! Thanks!!

Grant
Guest

Great post Julian, I had no idea IFTTT existed. Have a great weekend!

Carlos
Guest

Thanks for the credit.

Iolaire McFadden
Guest

Great how-to, I’ve read other posts about twitter and SMS and have my own yahoo pipes generating RSS feeds that I watch but having triggers that go right to SMS is very helpful and more useful to everyone who doesn’t use RSS…

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[…] post from frequentmiler discusses another service that allows for filtering, plus SMS notification: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…ty-or-airline/ For non RSS or less technical users it looks MUCH similar than the yahoo pipes […]

Chris F.
Guest

I’ve been kicking myself over and over for not checking my feeds or email the day of the Beijing mistake fare, made so much more painful as we’re about to spend miles for a flight into Beijing next week… This is great, thanks. It will at least help so I’m hopefully better prepared for the next one.

Denise
Guest

thanks so much! I’d been thinking I should send Flight Deals to myself via SMS, but I just sent it up to just send Philly deals to me!

TonyM
Guest

Cool! Thanks! I was wondering about how this would be done.

medichill
Guest
I have made 3 mistake fares because of these techniques. Here are the recipes I use: Frequent Milers Quick Deals Trigger –> Feed URL –> http://feeds.feedblitz.com/frequentmilersquickdeals The Flight Deal (replace philadelphia with your city) Trigger –> Feed URL –> http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/philadelphia/feed/ Flyertalk Mileage Run Deals Trigger –> Feed URL –> http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/external.php?type=rss2&forumids=372 Between these alerts and getting texts from Twitter feeds, I see a lot of stuff. Once you get used to all the messages, it becomes very easy to quickly scan and then delete or open. I actually saw the DCA-PEK via FMQD when it showed as expired but I got… Read more »
JustSaying
Guest

Bad form to post dead links…..medichill…….YMMV……..

NoonRadar
Guest

Great post. Mind commenting how frequently are these particular feeds populated, and therefore sent to you via sms or email?

I’ve only used IFTTT recently and that is for notification of PM on Reddit. Its pretty reliable, though for people who are not familiar, IFTTT notifications are not instant, it checks every few minutes for new items (10-15?).

Rebecca Lehmann
Guest

Great tip! However, I prefer using an Android notification over SMS.. I run a similar formula during the holidays to track a totally different event and found that I was running over my text message limits pretty quickly.

NoonRadar
Guest

How does the Android notification work/performs, compared to the sms one?

Allison
Guest

I KNEW there had to be a way!!! Thank’s for the very easy walkthrough.

Cardbeagle
Guest

Nice job. I already had a couple recipes but this is one of the best for me.

tim
Guest

Should we be using the ITAT code when setting these filters? i.e. DTW instead of Detroit?

JGM
Guest

No way – I was just thinking about how to do this a week ago when I signed up for IFTTT and then again last night as I was searching recipes to use for twitter posts. Thanks for the tips – this makes my job of figuring it all out by myself that much easier.

Dee
Guest

Excellent! Thank you very much!!

justSaying
Guest

Excellent post……you are in rarified air on this one……..I set this up last week from the posts you had forwarding from another blog and it is “working like a charm”……..before I was getting peppered 20 times a day with sales I didn’t want…….now I’m getting peppered 1-2 times a day with sales I don’t want………but I have faith that this system will eventually reap great benefits for me and my family……….and for that and what FM and staff do on a daily basis we ARE GRATEFUL………..just a wonderful addition to my daily routine……..

JustSaying
Guest

It seems like the logic used here could also be used to search for award seats…….any idea if anyone has used http://www.ifttt.com/ to do that?

Randy
Guest

I am a non-techie and found your directions easy to follow.
I also last week followed your directions to follow the 2 fare alert sites and enable mobile notification.
Should I now go back to those 2 twitter pages and disable mobile notification if I’ve now set up the IFTTT RSS feed? Thanks!

Jolly
Guest

Any idea how to set it up to only alert on genuine mistake fares?

Also, theflightdeals twitter deals are posted every hour, on the hour, except for mistake deals.

GoodMXguy
Guest

Hey.

I had a problem setting up my filter from Philadelphia. I tried this one, http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/philadelphia/
but the system said the link was not working so I settled with:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheFlightDeal?format=xml

Thanks for posting, I need to experiment with IFTTT.com, but it seems like a very useful site.

Shari
Guest

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing! It makes me think there’s gotta be a recipe you can then also set up for those big mistake fares in general … will have to think on this!

MileHighBug
Guest

I received a message from the IFTTT team that says the following:

You have reached IFTTT’s monthly limit of 10 SMS messages.

All of your Personal Recipes that send SMS messages are paused until Wednesday, April 01, 2015.

Is there any way to change this limit? I got that many SMS messages in one day.

Kyle
Guest

This is awesome. I had PushBullet, but never really implemented it, now I have and already got alerts over the weekend. Great use of technology and great post outside the lines a little bit from the usual stuff. I love it.

MileHighBug
Guest

subscribe

Justin
Guest

Hmm this doesn’t seem to be working for me. Let’s see if someone can help:

My recipe reads: If new feed item from http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/dc/feed/, then send a notification

And the notification is an Android notification. But I’ve had it on for the past two days, and I checked the site to see that new items have posted, but I have not received any Android notifications in the past two days. Anyone have any ideas?

Bren
Guest

Did you download the IF by IFTTT app? You’ll need the app on your phone to receive android notifications.

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[…] Mistake Fares Exclusively For Your City or Airline […]

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[…] Blatant Rip Off Post this had a ‘Hat tip’ to a comment on another Frequent Miler post that showed Yihwan from Milewriter (our latest superstar) offering the original post…. Original Post […]

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[…] Mistake Fares Exclusively for Your City or Airline […]

May
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Subscrobe

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[…] on the Flyertalk Deal RSS page. I get alerts about cheap deals from my City. Works pretty good. http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…ty-or-airline/ I have it set up on this forum to alert me to any news about my local airports as well. You can […]

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[…] – Get on If This Then That and create an IFTTT recipe so you’ll receive alerts directly, rather than having to scour websites and forums looking […]

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[…] – Get on If This Then That and create an IFTTT recipe so you’ll receive alerts directly, rather than having to scour websites and forums looking […]