ethernal wrote:United is welcome to do what they wish, but persecuting hidden city ticketing is not going to win United any favors. For the average consumer, the idea of getting in "trouble" for not consuming a service that you have paid for borders on insanity. The average consumer won't view hidden city ticketing as unethical or wrong; they'll view the airline as unethical for what they would perceive as unjustifiable pricing.
And, quite frankly. consumers are right. Married segment city-pair pricing (which enables hidden city ticketing) is merely an attempt at price discrimination and reducing consumer surplus (in return for producer surplus, and in the process also creating some deadweight loss as well where everyone loses). Indeed, by encouraging people to take connecting itineraries, airlines actually increase the total cost to serve and make all of society worse off - and the environment too.
Of course it is more nuanced than that with cross-subsidization and being able to expand a larger network which ultimately helps consumers (more frequency, better balancing of loads, and so on) - but it's still ultimately primarily an attempt to extract incremental revenue from customers.
United can set its terms, and it can of course revoke frequent flyer program status or bad you from flying them. But no court in the Western world would actually allow retroactive revenue extraction from a consumer due to hidden city ticketing - which is why these things are never taken to court. The fact that Lufthansa filed a suit against someone for this is some strange mix of insanity, incompetence, and a degree of rigidity in thinking only a German could embrace.
I am all for freedom of contracting, but unilateral agreements between consumers and large corporations rightfully do not get the same full latitudes private contracts between two equal parties (whether two individuals or two large corporations) do - and for good reason.
Anyways, good luck to United. They've been doing such great things as of late, but perhaps old habits die hard. Then again, this seems to come up every now and again across all of the airlines - so it's not really news.
the funniest and most intelligent post of the thread so far