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Should login be required for access to Mistake Fares?
FT members have long been concerned about airlines using information posted on FT against FT members. This may have occurred after the recent Korean Airlines mistake fare to Palau.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has noted that blogs (presumably including FT) spread news of the fare, that it's impossible to distinguish innocent victims from canny exploiters, and that this circumstance makes a DOT court case against Korean Airlines unwinnable. In other words, if it's posted on FT the DOT will not pursue the airline to honor its fare. This recent DOT decision strengthens the long-running argument in favor of hiding the hottest deals.
Furthermore, Korean Airlines may have attempted to identify FT members by comparing their posted itineraries with actual ticket purchases. That might be legal, but it would be a bannable violation of FT rules if a member did it.
Because of the suspected attempt to identify FT members, which may or may not have occurred but is always a possibility, I am leaning toward proposing recommending a login requirement for access to mistake fares and other ultra-hot deals. Logging in requires membership, and membership requires acceptance of the rule against trying to identify or stalk other members. It also hides information from search engines and prevents hyperlinking to these FT posts.
The login restriction might apply to a new forum, it might be a new subforum under Mileage Run Deals, or it might even include all of Mileage Run Deals and Mileage Run Discussion.
I would like to discuss pros and cons of implementing an access restriction at all, and of the various options to implement it.
Last year a majority of the TalkBoard voted to require a login for Mileage Run, but due to unclear wording we rescinded that recommendation. Then the TalkBoard could not agree on what to do. I hope to resolve that situation this year and find a consensus for a particular change or for the status quo.
By having things like mistake fares (and pretty much all other fares, etc) available to the public, lurkers become members and they stick around which helps grow FT and bring in new people and new perspectives - which is a good thing, IMHO...that's what brought & kept me here, anyways...
On another note - how would this sort of thing be implemented? There isn't a "Mistake Fare" forum - only a Mileage Run Deals and Hotel Deals forum. I wouldn't support creating a "Mistake Fares Forum" because it's just not necessary & wouldn't have volume, IMHO.
Also, a logged in requirement is "security theater" - I can guarantee you that most airlines & hotels have logins (hell, we've got "Company Representatives" at titles now).
This idea doesn't really solve anything, IMHO.
Not that there's anything to solve...
Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of faces if you look at them right.
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I know this will be a hotly debated issue, but since you asked the question:
I agree with PVDtoDEL. I have been and still am in favor of both a login requirement and a seasoning requirement for access to the Mileage Run forums. I'm less concerned about whether the seasoning is 90/90 or 180/180; I'm only concerned that there is some such requirement.
I understand this would break many RSS readers. I acknowledge that FT is about sharing information. And I agree that lack of access to MR-related forums might discourage lurkers from becoming members -- but I could also argue the reverse, that other lurkers might finally have a good reason to register and post. These arguments have been made before.
There are certainly many trade-offs to this decision, and in spite of the disadvantages noted by bhatnasx, I absolutely support requiring login (and account seasoning) for access to mistake fares.
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There is a simple solution to that:
Allow "Mileage Run Discussion" to be viewed by the public, and have the 180/180 requirement to view Mileage Run Deals. Then move the "Good Deals" threads to the Discussion forum, as a megathread. When a deal is posted there with sufficiently low CPM, then it can be moved to Mileage Run Deals. That way people can still bring good fares, but once fares are out there, they won't be wide open for the public to see.
I'd hope that if a newbie brings a deal that is good enough to be posted in Mileage Run Deals, someone will be courteous enough to tell them...
"I don't have a problem with registered/log-in. And if you do a search in the public forum, this was discussed previously in a long thread. Also, the 180/180. So current & new TB members might want to read the discussions in both the private & public TB forums. IIRC it was a hot button topic, & had a lot of pro/con on both sides.
I was supportive of log-in then & would be supportive of it now.
I don't think it's a hardship to be registered/logged in, and eliminates the alledged elitism of the 180/180/keeping newbies out because, like the walking through snow 20 miles with no shoes story, it seems that everyone knows one newbie who posted something valuable in MR."
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Originally Posted by Mary2e
I'm wondering if this point isn't even moot. I can't recall the last time a really good mistake fare was posted.
Thing is, by the time a mistake fare is posted on FT, either in a restricted forum or not, the ship has pretty much sailed. Mistake fares are better fodder for listservs, imho.
That said, sure, why not create a restricted forum for them....although of course there are long-time FTers who work for the companies that set fares and formulas so would be perfectly eligible to hang out in even the most restricted forums...
I've always felt that posters should be signed in to view this forum if for no other reason than to keep it away from the search bots.
I agree with this point. Even just to sign-in to view the forum will keep crawlers from placing it on all the search engines.
I am in for the login, but in regards to a 90/90 or 180/180 that is still up in the air, though I do believe there should be some sort of min posts/days registered. This keeps people active in other parts of FT, not just the mistake fares.
FT is to help the frequent flyer, to earn miles, to gain status, not just to exploit mistake fares only to turn around and book the ticket then call up the airline and inform them of their mistake.