My Biggest Mistake With a Mistake Fare

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I was swapping travel stories with friends over the weekend and was reminded of one hilarious (in retrospect) mistake I made many years back when I was still new to travel. I forgot about the International Date Line.

A mistake fare had popped up early one morning on Malaysian Airlines for $95 roundtrip business class fares from Los Angeles to Taipei, Taiwan. Since these deals sometimes disappear within hours I was hurriedly trying to coordinate dates with my boyfriend, find tickets, and get ready for work.

Neither of us had much vacation time at the time, so it would need to be a quick 1-2 night trip. But I was pretty pleased. I’d managed to find tickets that worked and get myself into work on time. Later that day I discovered a problem.

I had booked flights that left LAX at 2:30AM landing in Taipei at 6:30AM. One night there and then flying home the next afternoon.

Except there wasn’t an overnight.

We’d be crossing the International Date Line. So the overnight in Taipei turned into less than 12 hours. Yikes!

We made the best of it, hiring a guide to pick us up as soon as we landed and fitting in almost a full day. Visited the amazing Yehliu geothermal park with its giant scuplture formations.

Yehilu Geothermal Park Taipei Taiwan

A temple turned military base where we saw the changing of the guards and a visit to the Chiang Kia-shek Memorial.

Taipei Temple Changing of the guard

Taipei 101 when it was still the tallest building in the world!

Taipei 101 from cab

A final stop at the original Din Tai Fung, home to what some consider the best dumplings in the world.

Din tai fun original location taipei

And then at 1:30 in the afternoon, only 7 hours after we arrived, we were being driven back to the airport for our flight home.

My trips to the Caribbean for only a few hours have raised some eyebrows, but were nothing compared to immigration leaving Taipei and entering the US. That’s when full disclosure is useful. By the time I had finished telling them about the awesome mistake fare — IN BUSINESS CLASS!! — forgetting about the international dateline, my boyfriend being rather upset, trying to still fit in a full day of site-seeing in Taipei, being really jetlagged despite lie-flat seats, and getting sunburned of all things during the layover in Los Angeles, they appeared happy for me to go through and stop talking…

But lesson learned. For all future flights I paid attention to the little +1 next to flight listings, and double checked arrival times before booking.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world.


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