Travel deals that are quickly unavailable

Edit: New readers to this topic can joint it as of August 2023 by clicking here.

Travel deals, is there anything better to stir the imagination? I’m convinced it’s the reason I put up with the barrage of travel marketing emails instead of unsubscribing, despite the fact that I’ve only done one overseas trip in the past four years.

One thing that I’ve noticed, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, is the ‘limited availability’ style offer that presents a bottom dollar price that either quickly sells out or is downright unavailable (and to make it clear, my expectation going in is that any ‘availability’ means willing to take a 35-hour flight detouring through the other side of the world, possibly fighting a mystical beast mid-journey, and only departing at midnight during the next cosmic eclipse window).

In my observations, these deals typically range from frustrating to tie down if you actually want to book them to an outright ‘bait and switch’ practice, and potentially misleading. Sometimes, I’ll call the company in question with the aforementioned accusations and once you jump through all the hoops it’s often explained away as an ‘error’ or that the deal was unusually popular and has already sold out.

I’m hoping we can get an ongoing thread happening within the Community where other travel deal spotters post this type of bad behaviour. Whether it is just hard to find the deal that originally brought you in or downright illegal practices, let’s start start posting our experiences to see how frequently the Community is experiencing these issues too. If you’ve called the travel company, add it to the comments too.

I’ll get us started. I received the below travel offer from Flight Centre at 4:35pm, which clearly states “Maldives return from $415”. While I doubt I’ll be visiting the Maldives anytime soon, I clicked on the email within 10 minutes of receiving it just to check if the offer was actually available.

And here’s the result - the ‘from’ price has instantly changed to $502*. I haven’t even considered this holiday and already the cost is piling up. Now I’m sure they’ll have a reason for this, perhaps the $415 price is for those departing in airport located north of mine (although even with private browsing, location services off, a variety of airports selected - the price remained at $502*). However, segmenting a database based on existing location data or alternatively presenting a range is pretty basic for most email marketing operations these days.

Further, there’s no way to check the exact availability remaining to attempt to workshop any other factors such as hotels, as you need to enter your details and speak to a salesperson from Flight Centre. I don’t think it’s a spoiler alert to say that the up-sells and add-ons have just begun.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences, please share them below.


Always depressing to see budget tickets for less than the price it would cost me to get to the departure point.

I have suspicions on QANTAS as well - search for seats even months out and suddenly they all get snapped up …

AirAsia X - are they the ones where the return ticket can be cashed in for a funeral plan?


Marketing . With the advent of the internet and the use of emails by the general populace it was only a matter of time before marketing companies took full advantage of these new medias . /

Once we would have said " Never let the truth get in the way of a good story " Now we say ""Never let the truth get in the way of a good advertisement "


Not, never let truth get in the way of alternative facts? Fact, $415. Alternative fact $502. 1 seat left at that price, be quick.


Seems like click bait to me.

It is also interesting they (and many others) use the term ‘from’. From means anything above.


5 Years later since the last activity in this topic Qantas seems to have launched a teaser of their own.