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Hidden City Ticketing - It Is Still Out There AA  
User currently offlineBP1 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 593 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 14086 times:

A few days ago one of my colleagues asked me if I ever heard of a thing called "Hidden City Ticketing". Laugh... Having worked for United Airlines, British Airways, USAfrica Airways and America West Airlines (sorry), all I could do was raise a concerned eye brown to him.

I asked him what was his final city and if he was checking bags (the big killer to hidden city ticketing). So then I asked him if he bough one-way or round-trip and he said one-way. So interestingly enough I wanted to see if hidden city still existed today and sadly for the airlines it does. Here is just one example

EXAMPLE 1

PAX: Wants to go 1 way from PHX-DFW on a non-stop.
AA.COM: AA quoting $504.50 one way from PHX-DFW on an AA nonstop.

SOLUTION: Pack light, and buy a one-way from PHX-SAT on AA.com with a connection at DFW and get off the plane at DFW with his carry on bag. One-Way Fare from PHX-SAT on AA is $311.00 a savings of $193.50 by ticketing "hidden city"

Now I am saying this is wrong. Clearly it is wrong. But, it is still done today and if you know how to beat the system, then here you go. I am not picking on AA, I am sure we could find 10 examples for almost every carrier in the USA, but the question is, how many of you actually use hidden city ticketing?

Thanks,
BP1


"First To Fly The A-380" / 26 October 2007 SYD-SIN Inaugural
55 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 14092 times:

I am not surprised it is out there on AA, especially since WN serves SAT but not DFW....it is porbably quite frequent on WN markets that connect thru DFW.

User currently offlineSteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1765 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 14001 times:

For better or worse, I'm sure this exists at least with all of the US majors, not just AA. A quick sampling of one-way fares I gathered for June 25, 2008 from STL:

NW:
STL-MSP $639
STL-MSP-MKE $565
(Incidentally, it would be cheaper still to book a r/t to MKE for $174 and throw 3/4 away)

UA:
STL-IAD $435
STL-IAD-MHT $171

DL:
STL-CVG $419
STL-CVG-CMH $85

CO:
STL-EWR $790 (that's non-stop; cheapest offering was actually STL-CLE-CLT-EWR for $445)
STL-EWR-MHT $308

US:
STL-CLT $136
STL-CLT-MCO $124

Even WN gets in on the action!
WN 1309 STL-TUL $96
WN 1309/51 STL-TUL-DAL $84

I didn't check any other airlines, but it stands to reason they are probably doing the same thing somewhere. It's just a fact of the business.


User currently offlineImapilotaz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 13989 times:

It's funny its this exact reason that Crandall is lobbying hard for a "re-regulated" airline pricing system, requiring airlines to charge the sum of two locals for tickets.

User currently offlineSteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1765 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 13959 times:

Just to get the Canadians involved, here's another one-way hidden city example on July 15 from STL.

AC:
STL-YYZ $270
STL-YYZ-YUL $261


User currently offlineRwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13902 times:



Quoting BP1 (Thread starter):
Now I am saying this is wrong.

Nothing wrong about it if you ask me. The airlines are all about "pay for what you use" these days, so if you're only planning on using part of your ticket, more power to you.


User currently offlineJoeljack From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 956 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13870 times:

I did it last fall...

got off in denver on a OMA-DEN-ONT route...cost me $85 bucks vs $400 something for just the OMA-DEN leg...what a rip.


User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13869 times:



Quoting RwSEA (Reply 5):

Nothing wrong about it if you ask me. The airlines are all about "pay for what you use" these days, so if you're only planning on using part of your ticket, more power to you.

Agreed. Plus, if the airline is willing to offer fares such as these, it clearly means they are willing to risk that a handful of passengers will no-show on their second leg and leave seats flying empty. If they don't want to accept that risk, they shouldn't offer the fare. It's that simple.


User currently offlineWillyj From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 468 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13819 times:

I don't think there's anything wrong with it, as the airlines are obviously taking advantage of passengers living in certain cities - especially hub cities.

One of the most dramatic examples I've seen was for Business class one way from JFK to Geniva. On swiss, the one way fare was about $4800, but a roundtrip ticket from JFK via Geniva to Barcelona or Madrid was about $2600!! Pretty insane!


User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1876 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13788 times:
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It's also a risk for the travel agent booking it, which is why it was strictly forbidden at every agency i've ever worked for.

If a travel agency is caught consistently booking hidden city fares not only will they be debited for the difference between the cost of the original, fraudulently booked ticket, and the cost of the one way in the desired market, but they can infact lose their plate for that airline (meaning they can't sell tickets on that airline).

While once upon a time it would have been easy for travelers and their agents to get away with this kind of behavior, the airlines now have very sophisticated software that looks for exactly this kind of thing, ie repeated instances of a passenger booking a-b-c one way and getting off in city B, not continuing on to city C as he should. if this happens more than occasionally with the same passenger or same arc number, it will be redflagged and likely sent to revenue to follow up with the agency.

Usually though, one 800 dollar debit memo and the threat that if it happens again the agency will lose it's plate, is enough to stop the behavior.



Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
User currently offlineTxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 42
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13735 times:

This is from page 5 of "Customer Service Commitment" at www.southwest.com:

Quote:
With respect to all of our fares, Southwest Airlines does not prohibit or penalize what is
commonly known as “hidden city” ticketing, nor does it prohibit or penalize what is
commonly known as “back to back” ticketing. “Hidden city” and “back to back”
reservations and tickets are authorized for travel on Southwest Airlines. It is important to
note that your luggage will be checked to the final destination as shown in your
reservation record. Should you choose to deplane at a stopover or connection point,
you will be responsible for making arrangements to have your luggage delivered to you.
Southwest will not entertain a lost or delayed baggage claim or interim expenses in this
circumstance.



User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7567 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13723 times:

Problem with people doing this, if the airline catches you just a couple of times they will typically block any future bookings from you.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineOkie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3197 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13692 times:



Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 9):
While once upon a time it would have been easy for travelers and their agents to get away with this kind of behavior, the airlines now have very sophisticated software that looks for exactly this kind of thing, ie repeated instances of a passenger booking a-b-c one way and getting off in city B, not continuing on to city C as he should. if this happens more than occasionally with the same passenger or same arc number, it will be redflagged and likely sent to revenue to follow up with the agency

 checkmark 

Used the hidden cities very frequently back in the late 80's and early 90's. That was when ticket agents were in the business of taking tickets. I was involved at that time with moving people around the country and we would just buy the quanity of tickets needed well in advance to take advantage of the low fare buckets and hidden cities under any name.

Around the first part of the 90's the computer power increased to the point where the airlines could track that you were not using the all the ticket and would throw up a red flag when you were using only part of the ticket. Now of course an ID has to be with the ticket as well.

I had a friend that got nailed on the hidden cities at LAS, got a pretty good scolding and a major charge put on his credit card before they would let him board the plane about two flights later.

Okie


User currently offlineAerofan From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13640 times:

Was done on my carrier. We got wise to the scheme when one pax asked to have his bags tagged to his stop over point. When told no, he kicked up quite a stink. Revenue Management eventually got involved and did a thorough check on agency and passengers from the agency.

Result:

A debit memo was issued to the agency for $1.5 million.
Agency paid $800,000.00 of this
Passengers were red flagged
Miles were cancelled


User currently offlineDL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 13595 times:

Maybe some tracking system will be invented to detect if/when a passenger gets off a flight at an intermediate station in order to avoid the higher fare and then bill their credit card the difference for defrauding the airline.

User currently offlineRamprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1548 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 13486 times:

Don't airlines now cancel the return portion of the ticket if the passenger does not fly the connecting flight?

User currently offlineBP1 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 593 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 13460 times:

From what I understand this only works when these (3) things take place:

1. You purchase a one-way ticket.
2. You DO NOT check luggage under any circumstances.
3. If your non-stop flight is cancelled and they re-book you through another city you are out of luck unless you say you prefer to connect through X city instead of Y city.

With the internet these days and if you do not really care about mileage credit, then what do you have to loose?

BP1



"First To Fly The A-380" / 26 October 2007 SYD-SIN Inaugural
User currently offlineKingAir200 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1630 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 13438 times:



Quoting Ramprat74 (Reply 15):
Don't airlines now cancel the return portion of the ticket if the passenger does not fly the connecting flight?

How would that work anyway? If I booked a round trip ticket from MOT to PHL by way of MSP, but only wanted to go to MSP, how would I check in in MSP for a reservation that started in PHL? I think it only works for one way bookings.



Hey Swifty
User currently offlineRDUDDJI From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1552 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 13387 times:



Quoting Burnsie28 (Reply 11):
Problem with people doing this, if the airline catches you just a couple of times they will typically block any future bookings from you.

Actually they may say they do but in actuality, they don't. They'll go after agents, but pax aren't worth the effort and determining some sort of primary key to distinguish, say all the "John Smith's" out there just ain't worth the effort.

Quoting DL Widget Head (Reply 14):
Maybe some tracking system will be invented to detect if/when a passenger gets off a flight at an intermediate station in order to avoid the higher fare and then bill their credit card the difference for defrauding the airline.

That would break more laws than hidden city ticketees...

Quoting Ramprat74 (Reply 15):
Don't airlines now cancel the return portion of the ticket if the passenger does not fly the connecting flight?

Yes. If you buy a R/T e-ticket LGA-ORD-DEN and fly only LGA-ORD... the remaining "three" e-tickets will be programatically canceled (ORD-DEN, DEN-ORD, ORD-LGA) after 24 hours of the no show on seg 2.



Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently offlineDL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 13347 times:



Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 18):
That would break more laws than hidden city ticketees...

and what laws might those be?


User currently offlineRwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 13319 times:



Quoting DL Widget Head (Reply 14):
Maybe some tracking system will be invented to detect if/when a passenger gets off a flight at an intermediate station in order to avoid the higher fare and then bill their credit card the difference for defrauding the airline.

How is this defrauding the airline? If I buy a combo meal at McDonalds but throw away half my fries, am I defrauding McDonalds?


User currently offlineTranceport From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 282 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 13317 times:



Quoting RwSEA (Reply 5):
Nothing wrong about it if you ask me. The airlines are all about "pay for what you use" these days, so if you're only planning on using part of your ticket, more power to you.

Absolutely agreed. If the airlines can come up with clever ways to nickel and dime people, it's fair game for people to come up with clever ways to get the most bang for their buck. I'd certainly do it without any qualms.


User currently offlineDL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 13294 times:

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
How is this defrauding the airline?

Because you don't enter into a contract with McDonald's when you buy a happy meal but you do when you buy an airline ticket. By not flying the intended routing in order to obtain a lower fare, that individual has violated the terms of the contract in order to defraud the airline. The rules in the "contract of carriage" spell this out although many don't know it or actually feel that they're not doing anything wrong.

[Edited 2008-06-19 20:53:25]

User currently offlineFrequentflykid From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 13284 times:

Do you really blame people?

User currently offlineDL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 13269 times:



Quoting Frequentflykid (Reply 23):
Do you really blame people?

Not really, I know all too well what pinching pennies is all about nowadays but, that doesn't make it right from an airline's perspective.


25 Post contains links RwSEA : Again, how does it constitute fraud? Per www.m-w.com, the definition of fraud is as follows: 1 a: deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perver
26 DL Widget Head : The passenger enters into a contract with the airline to transport him from say LAX to CLT via ATL at a specified fare. The passenger agrees to fly t
27 RwSEA : Oh but what about when the airline overbooks and robs the passenger the ability to use the seat that they paid for? It only goes one way then? The ai
28 Diesel33 : You deceive the airline by suggesting you intend on flying from A to B to get to C but in reality you are only intending on flying to B in order to g
29 Diesel33 : You miss the point that flights are overbooked because these very passengers who book these types of tickets cause airlines to overbook flights to en
30 RwSEA : What legal right is the airline giving up? What item of value is the airline giving up? The ability to price-gouge? Again, they're still buying the s
31 N202PA : Exactly. If the airline feels they need to nickel and dime us to the point of distraction, we as the consumers should feel appropriate in using the s
32 DL Widget Head : You kind of answered your own question... The contract of carriage cuts both ways and the airlines have to pony up if they fail to deliver as spelled
33 Steex : I think this is an oft-debated point. While an empty unpurchased seat is never a good thing, an empty seat that is paid for could be regarded as just
34 RwSEA : It is not against any law. Please show me the federal/state/local statute which states that it is against the law to skip part of your airline journe
35 DL Widget Head : Well, I'm not a lawyer and can't quote statutes or laws nor will I argue semantics with you about whether this is "illegal" or not. Clearly, you have
36 Wjcandee : I'll wade into this for a second. With the exception of WN, most airlines prohibit this practice as part of their contract of carriage. Breach it, and
37 CV990Coronado : If the airlines priced sensibly it wouldn't be necessary in fact maybe if they did price sensibly they wouldn't be in so much trouble now. If you are
38 GeorgiaAME : Sorry, but could you please explain why it is so morally reprehensible to you? It isn't as if the PASSENGER set the price and took what was not his i
39 Frequentflykid : It's an interesting arguement, regardless of which side you fall. I wonder what's "better" for the airline... A customer purchasing a $150 DFW-CLE-BUF
40 BostonGuy : I'm amused at how many people fail to understand the point you're making. Basically, to board an aircraft you are purchasing a license. By law, a lic
41 Turpentyine : How would you find if the connection is gonna be through the city you want to go to? Must take a while doing different flight combos to finally figure
42 Imapilotaz : Virtually all searches on the internet booking systems or airlines' in-house reservation systems show the intermediate stop.
43 777STL : Supposedly AA can confiscate your frequent flyer miles if you do this too often on them. I've got too much to lose by pulling this shenanigans.
44 B752OS : How would they ever be able to do so? There really is no way that airlines could monitor passengers once they hit their connecting city. To do so wou
45 Luv2cattlecall : How would the airline know if you were trying to "pull" a hidden city "scheme" or if you got sick and decided to run to the ER to play it safe? And th
46 Viscount724 : But time is money for most business class passengers. A very few might do that but most can't justify wasting half a day with the added risk of delay
47 Post contains links United_Fan : I know this doesn't constitute a 'hidden city',but these city-pairs aren't bookable thru aa.com. AA operates BUR-ONT-DFW like 3 or 4 times a week. It'
48 AirJamaica : This is a very subjective and interesting topic. Though I agree that when you book a flight with a particular carrier, you enter into a contract wher
49 Dxborbust : hidden city ticketing helped me get onto the waiting list at harvard (although i still eventually ended up getting rejected) my harvard interviewer as
50 Aerofan : Quoting Luv2cattlecall: Result: 1. Agency will avoid you like the plague 2. You'll have empty seats ($150>$0) 3. Passenger will definitely avoid you 4
51 RwSEA : The analogy of stealing a few eggs isn't applicable. A better analogy is buying the dozen eggs in the supermarket but voluntarily throwing a few of t
52 MHG : I am sort of "irritated" about the general attitude towards this subject ! Why is a customer forced to take up the whole item if he prefers to use jus
53 AirJamaica : You hit the nail right on the head. Couldn't have said it better. I can't for the life of me see how my paying the fare they set between point A and
54 MrBrightSide : You learn something everyday... funny enough, this whole airline vs. customer deal. At the end of the day, airline does not own a route - the route wa
55 AirJamaica : Thank you very much.
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