DYER | Milos Rokosz periodically checks airfare prices online to see if he can get a good deal. He would rather spend a winter weekend catching grouper off the Florida coast than huddling indoors in Northwest Indiana.
The Dyer resident got an unbelievable deal Thursday, booking six tickets to Florida for about $29 each. Rokosz was one of the fortunate fliers who got dirt-cheap flights on Delta Air Lines because a Thursday morning computer glitch that lowered fares by more than 90 percent in some cases. Delta honored all tickets bought at the super low prices.
For $29, Rokosz could not have made it as far south as Cincinnati if he had opted to drive to Florida instead. He visits the Sunshine State at least a half-dozen times a year, including for quick weekend getaways during the winter. But he was looking at airline fares Thursday so he can attend his girlfriend's brother's upcoming graduation from the U.S. Navy's bomb squad school at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach.
"If I couldn't find a cheap fare, we were going to drive," he said. "But if I have a 10-day vacation, I would rather not spend four of those 10 days in a car."
Rokosz stumbled upon the fire sale-priced fares on Kayak.com, a metasearch site for flights, hotels and rental cars Thursday. He then went directly to Delta's website because he did not know if the prices were true or not.
He decided to go ahead and buy tickets for himself and his girlfriend to see if Delta would honor them. He bought tickets to Melbourne, Fla., where he lived for three years, then to Fort Walton Beach, and then back to Chicago Midway International Airport.
He ended up buying six tickets for about $171.
"I am very excited to see them honor the fare, even if they're just looking forward to future business," he said. "I've racked up 100,000 miles on Delta, so them eating the cost is just a drop in the bucket."
Rokosz did the same search again later and found the same six tickets would have cost $2,480.
That would have been enough to persuade him to drive 12 hours to Melbourne, 10 hours to Fort Walton Beach and another 16 hours back.
Instead of spending such long hours in the car, he plans to enjoy the extra time at the beach.
"It's been a miserable winter," he said. "I'd like to do some traveling."