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mzlin
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:32 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:59 pm

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 :thumbsup:
 
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airzim
Posts: 1414
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:05 pm

ethernal wrote:
airzim wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:

Of course they lose the ability of selling it because they already sold it. If the customer uses that ticket or not should be irrelevant to the airline. They sold it, they got their money. That's where it ends. Customer has the right, but not the obligation to use it. To the airline this should not make any difference.


I believe the airline cannot recognize the revenue if the coupon is not collected if you noshow a segment. They have the cash but can’t book it until something like a year later. So I’ve been told.


This is nonsensical and inaccurate, at least in most typical cases. The value of the dropped segment is usually trivial and below any subsequent change fees. There is nothing that would stop them from recognizing the revenue after a week when it is clear that they are not taking the flight and the airline's obligations are extinguished.

I do not know about the instance where the last segment exceeds the change fee, but I imagine that this would be a very rare situation.


Admittedly I’m not an accountant, but the value is not really relevant to the process they must follow for revenue recognition. Not even sure why you’re bringing up the change fees. But typically if you cancel a flight you have a year to rebook at which point the airline can’t recognize the revenue until you actually take the flight. Perhaps this is the same for no show segments, but again I was told this so I’m not sure given accounting rules are fluid and interpreted differently.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:05 pm

LAXintl wrote:
Distance-based pricing, or as some tried zone pricing was a flop in the U.S. because it made things like key and popular transcons more expensive. Gone were the sub $299 round trips.

Seat pricing should always be dynamic and should be based on more important factors like market supply vs demand and inventory management than rigid one-dimensional Soviet price model.


Of course it should be dynamic, and it can still be. However what should be prohibited is making a flight cheaper by adding an extra leg. After all, that extra leg cannot have a negative price.

Distance-based pricing is nothing but pricing per leg. Airlines are free to determine the price for each leg and they are free to give a discount on any additional leg, but that discount can never be more than 100%. Many LCCs use this pricing model.

In Europe Ryanair charges per leg for it's flights. For a long time they didn't offer connections, since recently they do on a limited scale at some airports. However for a connecting flight on Ryanair, you just pay the fare of the two flights added up. No transfer fee, no discount either. Ryanair is a distance-based pricing airline.

Norwegian is another distance-based pricing airline. They also got a fare per leg. Norwegian does offer connections, however if you connect on Norwegian they charge the price of the two legs plus a transfer fee but minus the tax difference for departing vs. connecting passengers. Therefor it might sometimes be cheaper to self-connect on Norwegian.
 
ethernal
Posts: 90
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:19 pm

airzim wrote:
ethernal wrote:
airzim wrote:

I believe the airline cannot recognize the revenue if the coupon is not collected if you noshow a segment. They have the cash but can’t book it until something like a year later. So I’ve been told.


This is nonsensical and inaccurate, at least in most typical cases. The value of the dropped segment is usually trivial and below any subsequent change fees. There is nothing that would stop them from recognizing the revenue after a week when it is clear that they are not taking the flight and the airline's obligations are extinguished.

I do not know about the instance where the last segment exceeds the change fee, but I imagine that this would be a very rare situation.


Admittedly I’m not an accountant, but the value is not really relevant to the process they must follow for revenue recognition. Not even sure why you’re bringing up the change fees. But typically if you cancel a flight you have a year to rebook at which point the airline can’t recognize the revenue until you actually take the flight. Perhaps this is the same for no show segments, but again I was told this so I’m not sure given accounting rules are fluid and interpreted differently.


Revenue can be recognized when the airline has extinguished is responsibility to the customer for provisioning the service. For a no-show on the last leg - after some reasonable period of time (probably more than an hour, but certainly less than a year) where it is made clear that the passenger is not going to take the last leg - this means either two things:

1) The airline is willing to grant you the opportunity to recycle the value of the last leg minus any applicable change fees. If the change fee is greater than the value of the segment not flown, then the obligation is extinguished and the airline could then recognize that revenue. In the event that the ticket retains value after a change fee, that portion of the revenue could not be recognized until that residual value is consumed or expires (which, for vouchers/credits is often 1 year).
2) The airline decides it has fulfilled its contractual terms (it tried to get you from Point A to Point B via Point C) and you are clearly not taking it. It fulfilled its obligations (it flew the leg, it got you to point C, and gave you appropriate amounts of time and opportunity to take the flight from Point B to Point C). You have no remaining contractual right to any further service - therefore, they can recognize that revenue.

Again, the test to recognize revenue is whether or not I have delivered to my contractual obligations to the customer. More often than not for a a last-leg no-show, this would be #2. For a first-leg no-show, generally it would be #1.
 
alasizon
Posts: 1954
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:25 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
Distance-based pricing, or as some tried zone pricing was a flop in the U.S. because it made things like key and popular transcons more expensive. Gone were the sub $299 round trips.

Seat pricing should always be dynamic and should be based on more important factors like market supply vs demand and inventory management than rigid one-dimensional Soviet price model.


Of course it should be dynamic, and it can still be. However what should be prohibited is making a flight cheaper by adding an extra leg. After all, that extra leg cannot have a negative price.

Distance-based pricing is nothing but pricing per leg. Airlines are free to determine the price for each leg and they are free to give a discount on any additional leg, but that discount can never be more than 100%. Many LCCs use this pricing model.


This would wreck many of the hub and spoke operations in the US as that is what fills some of the seats that enables the frequency and gauge that travelers prefer. Even WN has pricing that works this way. For instance on 8/19 I can fly PHX-SDF-MDW for $150 but if I want to fly that same PHX-SDF leg it is $189.
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Texas77
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:42 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:25 pm

goosebayguy wrote:
United need to change their pricing.


agree. I want to do this just to stick it to united, not because I hate united, but because this policy is illogical madness
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:26 pm

slowrambler wrote:
The whole point is that they sold it but didn't get their money - getting their money would mean the customer bought the more expensive ORD-SFO.

No sane network airline can avoid pricing like this. You charge a premium where you offer something additional - nonstops, frequency, whatever - and less when you're just one of many options. But this means that connections tend to cost less.


Then they shouldn't have sold it. They did get their money, what do they care if their product is only half consumed? That should be none of their business. They sold it, end of discussion.

The premium for non-stops is bullshit! Non-stops should be cheaper because they cost the airline less money. Non-stops are also more environment-friendly as they reduce the distance flown.

You say no sane network airline can avoid pricing like this, I disagree. They can!

Now back to the example, ORD-SFO-SNA. ORD-SFO has a certain price, but ORD-SFO-SNA has a lower price. For calculating purpose, let's say ORD-SFO is $ 200. ORD-SFO-SNA is $ 150. The airline is counting on people buying the ORD-SFO flight to pay $ 200, but then some seats are taken up by passengers flying ORD-SFO-SNA. For those seats they only get $ 150 instead of the $ 200 they could otherwise have got. So you'd think they don't want those passengers on board of that flight since they could have sold those seats more expensive otherwise. The fact that they do accept them proves that seats on this flight don't have to cost the $ 200 they charge for it. Those seats could be sold for $ 150 as well. Maybe even less because the passengers flying ORD-SFO-SNA also have to fly the SFO-SNA leg which also has to be paid from that $ 150 they paid. Let's say that leg costs $ 50, that would mean the ORD-SFO leg could cost as little as $ 100.

Based on the principle that non-stop flights should be cheaper than one-stop flights, network carriers in it's current form have had their time.
 
Texas77
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:26 pm

alasizon wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
Distance-based pricing, or as some tried zone pricing was a flop in the U.S. because it made things like key and popular transcons more expensive. Gone were the sub $299 round trips.

Seat pricing should always be dynamic and should be based on more important factors like market supply vs demand and inventory management than rigid one-dimensional Soviet price model.


Of course it should be dynamic, and it can still be. However what should be prohibited is making a flight cheaper by adding an extra leg. After all, that extra leg cannot have a negative price.

Distance-based pricing is nothing but pricing per leg. Airlines are free to determine the price for each leg and they are free to give a discount on any additional leg, but that discount can never be more than 100%. Many LCCs use this pricing model.


This would wreck many of the hub and spoke operations in the US as that is what fills some of the seats that enables the frequency and gauge that travelers prefer. Even WN has pricing that works this way. For instance on 8/19 I can fly PHX-SDF-MDW for $150 but if I want to fly that same PHX-SDF leg it is $189.


you must be wrong. WN always has the perfect answers whenever the other big US airlines screw up, I know because I read it here every day.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:37 pm

alasizon wrote:
This would wreck many of the hub and spoke operations in the US as that is what fills some of the seats that enables the frequency and gauge that travelers prefer. Even WN has pricing that works this way. For instance on 8/19 I can fly PHX-SDF-MDW for $150 but if I want to fly that same PHX-SDF leg it is $189.


However the difference is that Southwest just allows hidden cities. They don't chase customers who skip a leg, they don't even cancel the rest of their ticket. They just don't give a shit. That gives Southwest far better publicity than United. And the fact that Southwest works that way might be reason for folks to fly Southwest instead of United.

The hub and spoke operations that the US has seen so far are wrecked anyway. Southwest has so many hubs that you can call it a mesh network instead of hub and spoke. Environment issues are doing the rest, bringing the prices of direct flights down and connecting flights up.
 
ethernal
Posts: 90
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:44 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
slowrambler wrote:
The whole point is that they sold it but didn't get their money - getting their money would mean the customer bought the more expensive ORD-SFO.

No sane network airline can avoid pricing like this. You charge a premium where you offer something additional - nonstops, frequency, whatever - and less when you're just one of many options. But this means that connections tend to cost less.


Then they shouldn't have sold it. They did get their money, what do they care if their product is only half consumed? That should be none of their business. They sold it, end of discussion.

The premium for non-stops is bullshit! Non-stops should be cheaper because they cost the airline less money. Non-stops are also more environment-friendly as they reduce the distance flown.

You say no sane network airline can avoid pricing like this, I disagree. They can!

Now back to the example, ORD-SFO-SNA. ORD-SFO has a certain price, but ORD-SFO-SNA has a lower price. For calculating purpose, let's say ORD-SFO is $ 200. ORD-SFO-SNA is $ 150. The airline is counting on people buying the ORD-SFO flight to pay $ 200, but then some seats are taken up by passengers flying ORD-SFO-SNA. For those seats they only get $ 150 instead of the $ 200 they could otherwise have got. So you'd think they don't want those passengers on board of that flight since they could have sold those seats more expensive otherwise. The fact that they do accept them proves that seats on this flight don't have to cost the $ 200 they charge for it. Those seats could be sold for $ 150 as well. Maybe even less because the passengers flying ORD-SFO-SNA also have to fly the SFO-SNA leg which also has to be paid from that $ 150 they paid. Let's say that leg costs $ 50, that would mean the ORD-SFO leg could cost as little as $ 100.

Based on the principle that non-stop flights should be cheaper than one-stop flights, network carriers in it's current form have had their time.


It's a bit more nuanced than that. Before I begin, let me be clear - this is purely about revenue extraction. It is purely in the airline's best interest. They are trying to maximize the number of routes they can operate profitably. City-pair pricing is one of the ways that they achieve this. They do it to make more money.

That said, airlines are a low margin business. And the goal of the airline - in order to make a route work - is to get as many dollars per seat as possible. And the reality is that on most flights outside of peak travel times, most of the people on that flight are paying on a per-segment basis less than what it takes to actually deliver them from Point A to Point B. If everyone on the plane paid the same low price (say, advanced fare with a connection on a discounted economy fare), the airline would make $0 (or, perhaps better said, lose money). The route would not work, and they would have to stop flying it. Airlines - especially network carriers - make routes work by balancing high margin customers (last minute O&D purchases being an example) with the "seat-fillers" that help cover part of the plane costs by filling a seat that they can't fill with "individually" profitable customers.

The pricing model that enables hidden city ticketing is one of the mechanisms they do to do that.

It is a perfectly rational pricing model. That said, there is a difference between pricing that way and actually enforcing it and whether it make sense. I mean, do you really think someone who is doing hidden city ticketing would have paid your full-price O&D fare? More than like they wouldn't have. They would have looked at the next cheapest solution - which probably still wouldn't have meant flying on your overpriced ticket. The only way the purchase of THAT specific ticket has an impact on revenue potential is if that SAME person would have otherwise bought a more expensive ticket. And, I think in net, the answer to that is probably no in most cases.

And any airline that wants to make a big deal about it is not going to make themselves better off. It's bad marketing, it's bad customer service, and it's somewhat driven by I would say overzealous pricing distortions.
Last edited by ethernal on Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:46 pm

DarthLobster wrote:
Once again UA proves it views it’s own customers as the enemy. If the public has found a loophole, it’s up to them to engineer a fix instead of gestapoing a stopgap solution.

Its theft. The pax on the hidden city itenerary is effectively robbing UA of the extra revenue by doing ABC-JKL instead of ABC-JKL-XYZ. Its hard for people to see it as such because UA doesnt have anything tangible for sale due to the nature of the airlines being a service industry. Its the same as someone walking in to Best Buy and stealing a video game.
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SEU
Posts: 187
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:49 pm

I know that passengers shouldnt be doing it, but it should be up to UA to fix it, if pax are doing it then they should have a way of stopping it, like an online account or something.

The problem for UA, is when they call a passenger out for doing it, if the pax then says "XYZ happened so I couldnt make the extra flight" - who are UA to call them a liar?
 
ethernal
Posts: 90
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:50 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
DarthLobster wrote:
Once again UA proves it views it’s own customers as the enemy. If the public has found a loophole, it’s up to them to engineer a fix instead of gestapoing a stopgap solution.

Its theft. The pax on the hidden city itenerary is effectively robbing UA of the extra revenue by doing ABC-JKL instead of ABC-JKL-XYZ. Its hard for people to see it as such because UA doesnt have anything tangible for sale due to the nature of the airlines being a service industry. Its the same as someone walking in to Best Buy and stealing a video game.


Don't be so melodramatic. Hidden city ticketing is not theft, and any attempt to morally equivocate the two is a logical thread that you are guaranteed to lose.

Failure to consume a service and hypothetical losses of revenue that may or may not have occurred combined with no additional cost to the airline is not tantamount to theft.
 
alasizon
Posts: 1954
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:51 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
alasizon wrote:
This would wreck many of the hub and spoke operations in the US as that is what fills some of the seats that enables the frequency and gauge that travelers prefer. Even WN has pricing that works this way. For instance on 8/19 I can fly PHX-SDF-MDW for $150 but if I want to fly that same PHX-SDF leg it is $189.


However the difference is that Southwest just allows hidden cities. They don't chase customers who skip a leg, they don't even cancel the rest of their ticket. They just don't give a shit. That gives Southwest far better publicity than United. And the fact that Southwest works that way might be reason for folks to fly Southwest instead of United.

No, WN does not allow it. They don't chase after pax who violate it but WN specifically states in their Contract of Carriage it is not allowed.

b. Stopovers
(1) A stopover is an intentional interruption of the itinerary by the Passenger. No stopovers are permitted on published fares, except upon combination of individually purchased One-way fares.


PatrickZ80 wrote:
The hub and spoke operations that the US has seen so far are wrecked anyway. Southwest has so many hubs that you can call it a mesh network instead of hub and spoke. Environment issues are doing the rest, bringing the prices of direct flights down and connecting flights up.

WN is a hybrid network but still, what you are proposing would put an end to that model which is essential for many smaller markets to maintain service outside their immediate region (i.e. PacNW airports that have service to the Southwest & Midwest).
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AEROFAN
Posts: 1764
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:01 pm

goosebayguy wrote:
United need to change their pricing.


Not just United. The airline industry needs to change its pricing model. When I used to work for an airline, it was part of my responsibility to catch these travellers. It was fun. Now, I can't blame anyone for trying to find a better price. Good for them if they are successful.
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:05 pm

LAXintl wrote:
The whole airline pricing model is based on individual market dynamics. So a ORD-SFO-LAS journey might be cheaper than simply a ORD-SFO booking.

Airlines have tried to simplify fare structures over the years but many have met with disasters such as AA's attempt twice to roll out simple fares with fewer price buckets and fare rules as consumers actually found them to be even less flexible than today's alphabet soup of options.


What do you mean customers actually found them less flexible? They were only less flexible because AA made them so - and they absolutely did not have to. You make it sound as if the fares somehow one day evolved on their own...
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:08 pm

LAXintl wrote:
The whole airline pricing model is based on individual market dynamics. So a ORD-SFO-LAS journey might be cheaper than simply a ORD-SFO booking.

Yes some passengers think they are clever by skipping a last leg, airlines imo very much have a right to go after such customers and in egregious cases should seek the fare difference or do things like suspending their frequent flyer account if applicable.


I firmly agree with passengers trying to get over. Parts of the industry's pricing strategy is nothing more than price gouging and if a customer can beat an airline at its game - bully for them.
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:11 pm

usdcaguy wrote:
Of all the carriers, UA is the most likely to create a police state. Their puny carry-on allowance (personal-item-only allowance) for basic economy is unreal, and you can't even get your boarding pass until an agent has looked at your personal item BEFORE you go through security. So unless you have a lot of dough and have a job that allows you to fly a lot and become an elite, UA assumes you're a criminal. This is just another step in profiting from poor people who can't afford the egregious prices the carrier is charging. Reporting customers to "corporate security" is simply wrong and tantamount to a Stalinist state security system. They're way too desperate to catch up to DL, who allows a free standard carry-on in basic economy.


I simply do not understand why so many of you suck at the teats of airlines. If UA doesn't suit you, fly another. Vote with your pocket and you will see how soon any company changes its tune.
 
catiii
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:12 pm

77H wrote:
ethernal wrote:
flyfresno wrote:
First of all, it's completely up to United to price flights, and it's also up to them whether they allow or disallow this sort of ticketing in their contact of carriage. Yes, it might cause people who use hidden city pairs to not fly them anymore, but if they are losing revenue anyway on those people (I don't know if that's true, just speculating), then they would probably rather not have those people flying on them anyway. On the other hand, I do think it's a bit ridiculous that people are *complaining* that the airline is disallowing and going after people who do this. It's obviously taking advantage of a flaw in the system, and if someone was able to get away with it without getting caught, good for them, but it's just that, taking advantage of the system.


It is probably better stated that United is taking advantage of the system. They are trying to price discriminate against customers by taking advantage of monopoly pricing power on a nonstop route.

This is like someone who buys an unlimited drink cup at a theme park where the rules clearly say "same day only," then brings back that cup back on other days and uses it because the theme park isn't checking who paid that day and who didn't. Eventually, the theme park might choose to crack down on people skirting the system. Patrons might not like it, but the theme park is clearly within their rights to disallow reuse on other days, just like United and other airlines are clearly within their rights to disallow hidden city ticketing.


This is nothing like that. This is the equivalent of saying "You can use this cup for 10 refills. Oh, but you must use it for 10 refills - not 3, 5, or 8 refills - or else we'll charge you double what you paid."

As I said above, United is free to do what they want in terms of banning customers. But it is just shooting themselves in the foot.

If they want to control hidden city ticketing, then force all fares lower than the non-stop segment to be part of a round-trip. And if your round-trip price is STILL less than the one way nonstop, perhaps just stop essentially insanely abusive pricing practices.


Name me one nonstop route or market that UA has a monopoly on ? The only one that readily comes to mind is ITO which is only served by UA.

If UA doesn’t have a monopoly then you have the choice to fly someone else which means UA cannot take advantage of the system as you state.

77H


Half the markets they fly ex EWR...
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:13 pm

maverick4002 wrote:
I always found the practice of skipping a leg questionable

Eh, disagree. Price the trips accordingly to avoid this. And after all the nonsense airlines pull, they were the try to never take responsibility, and the gajillions of dollars they are making, I dont care. If you find a skiplag leg, do it!


:checkmark: :checkmark: :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup:
 
RDUDDJI
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:13 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
I'll state the obvious. They lose the ability to sell that downline booking, because it's reserved for someone who has no intention of using it.


Of course they lose the ability of selling it because they already sold it. If the customer uses that ticket or not should be irrelevant to the airline. They sold it, they got their money. That's where it ends. Customer has the right, but not the obligation to use it. To the airline this should not make any difference.


You obviously don’t understand how airline pricing models work. This makes a difference in two different ways. A) customer paid for a service, but fraudulently used a more expensive service. (Revenue Loss) B) in the scenario of hidden city where customer books XXX-YYY-ZZZ but only intends to fly XXX-YYY, then the airline loses a bookable seat on YYY-ZZZ. In the age of computers, they do a decent job of trying to recover that lost booking through things like overbooking, but it still creates waste (read: cost) for the airline.

I’m not defending the practice, just pointing out that there is a cost to the airline. For peeps to suggest otherwise just because they don’t like or agree with the practice is silly.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:15 pm

ScottB wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
The whole airline pricing model is based on individual market dynamics. So a ORD-SFO-LAS journey might be cheaper than simply a ORD-SFO booking.


Consumers aren't responsible for the airline pricing model. The airline is perfectly free to NOT price the longer journey lower than the shorter one, thus avoiding this issue entirely.


:checkmark: :checkmark: :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup:
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:19 pm

UPlog wrote:
ITSTours wrote:
What would the carrier lose if a customer throw aways the ticket?

Nothing materially. In fact they would use less fuel or they can accommodate an extra standby passengers.


One customer here or there does not matter, but if such tactic was to become more significant (and UA says it's on the rise), it destroys the entire pricing model and takes up seats that could very well be sold at higher profit.


So I as a customer, am suppose to care about any airline being able to see a seat at a higher profit? Really?
 
greggariouspdx
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:20 pm

AA really cracked down on this in the early 1990's. I lived in Dallas at the time and the fares from DFW were crazy. But as Braniff was in its dying days, you could book a flight from MCI to the East or West Coast for less than $200 r/t. I was dating someone in CLE at the time and AA had a MCI-CLE fare of $59 each way connecting thru DFW. As I was an Elite and an Admiral's Club Member at the time, I probably got away with it longer than I should have. The game ended on a snowy January night when the CLE Station Manager stopped me at the gate and escorted me to the ticket counter with two cops to tell me that my ticket was confiscated and I had to buy a one-way ticket for $800 back to DFW. He was a real jerk about it but in hindsight he was only doing his job. Shortly after, I received a letter from the AA Revenue Management people telling me I'd better not ever try this again or I would forfeit my miles and be banished from AA. I later became friends with a Senior AA FA who told me that they had an entire Team tracking people whom they suspected of using Hidden City fares. I think UA will have a hard time prosecting people for this but they can sure make it unpleasant.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:20 pm

ethernal wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
DarthLobster wrote:
Once again UA proves it views it’s own customers as the enemy. If the public has found a loophole, it’s up to them to engineer a fix instead of gestapoing a stopgap solution.

Its theft. The pax on the hidden city itenerary is effectively robbing UA of the extra revenue by doing ABC-JKL instead of ABC-JKL-XYZ. Its hard for people to see it as such because UA doesnt have anything tangible for sale due to the nature of the airlines being a service industry. Its the same as someone walking in to Best Buy and stealing a video game.


Don't be so melodramatic. Hidden city ticketing is not theft, and any attempt to morally equivocate the two is a logical thread that you are guaranteed to lose.

Failure to consume a service and hypothetical losses of revenue that may or may not have occurred combined with no additional cost to the airline is not tantamount to theft.

Ok then, how would you classify it? Because if the value of JKL-XYZ is valued at $100, and a nonrev fills that seat for $0 because the hidden city pax is a no show, how is that not theft against UA?

It's the 21st century and the overwhelming majority of the US economy is service-based. Theft will still occur even if it's not physical objects being taken.
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andrefranca
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:24 pm

US carriers being US carriers....
Andre F. :blockhead:
 
ethernal
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:31 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
ethernal wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
Its theft. The pax on the hidden city itenerary is effectively robbing UA of the extra revenue by doing ABC-JKL instead of ABC-JKL-XYZ. Its hard for people to see it as such because UA doesnt have anything tangible for sale due to the nature of the airlines being a service industry. Its the same as someone walking in to Best Buy and stealing a video game.


Don't be so melodramatic. Hidden city ticketing is not theft, and any attempt to morally equivocate the two is a logical thread that you are guaranteed to lose.

Failure to consume a service and hypothetical losses of revenue that may or may not have occurred combined with no additional cost to the airline is not tantamount to theft.

Ok then, how would you classify it? Because if the value of JKL-XYZ is valued at $100, and a nonrev fills that seat for $0 because the hidden city pax is a no show, how is that not theft against UA?

It's the 21st century and the overwhelming majority of the US economy is service-based. Theft will still occur even if it's not physical objects being taken.


...sorry, but what are you talking about?

The hypothetical revenue loss (and I say hypothetical because United already made a decision that they were willing to accept that yield for those two legs and there is no guarantee they would have ever been able to sell ABC-JKL at an O&D premium) occurs on ABC-JKL. JKL-XYZ has nothing to do with it - in fact, if anything, that is a net benefit to United because they may not enter an overbook/oversell situation as a result of the no-show. At the very least, they pay slightly less fuel costs and reduce their turn time if the seat rides empty.

At least on ABC-JKL you could make the strained argument that the passenger would have paid the full ticket price if the option to do hidden city ticketing didn't exist. That argument doesn't exist for JKL-XYZ because that hypothetical O&D demand never existed in the first place.

Theft of services is a real crime. That's when you use a service and don't pay. As archetypal examples, dining and dashing or ditching a taxi without paying is theft of services. Theft of services is not used to describe an instance where you buy a service and don't use it.
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:33 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
I'll state the obvious. They lose the ability to sell that downline booking, because it's reserved for someone who has no intention of using it.


Of course they lose the ability of selling it because they already sold it. If the customer uses that ticket or not should be irrelevant to the airline. They sold it, they got their money. That's where it ends. Customer has the right, but not the obligation to use it. To the airline this should not make any difference.


You obviously don’t understand how airline pricing models work. This makes a difference in two different ways. A) customer paid for a service, but fraudulently used a more expensive service.


Fraudulent used a more expensive service, you said, How so? Which part of the service is more expensive? Is the water being served different, more expensive? Does the seat change? More fuel used?Different air? Do you get different food? What makes this more expensive? London historically generally has always had the highest HIP and airlines charge you the premium because they can get away with it. If they can get away with charging you a premium simply based on popularity of a demand for a destination and because they can, there should be nothing stopping a customer from trying to get the best deal possible and beat the airlines at their games.

Kudos to all passengers who do this.
 
Exeiowa
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:44 pm

I do not have a problem with others doing this, although I probably would not. I have purchased a return which was less than a one way and not used the return which was about 2/3rd the price. I have also not taken flights twice. Is this also stealing? They could have sold it for more after all (actually they probably did anyway)

If they are tracking people through miles, for most of us they really have very little valur these days, so if they took the meagre amount I have acquired I would not even notice.

If there is a loop hole people will exploit it. I think if they want to prevent it they should do so in a less heavy handed way. Options are quite restricted when you wish to travel so in many ways you just have to accept what they offer. For companies benefiting from the public's resources (airspace, traffic control, airports) maybe they could treat us a little better.
 
mcogator
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:50 pm

I did a hidden-city trip last year. The last leg kept on getting delayed and delayed, and I was already home, so I called the airline to cancel and requested a refund of that portion and was granted it. Even though the refund was only $20 USD on a $500 fare, I still felt dirty and slick at the same time.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
 
SL1200MK2
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:59 pm

This has me wondering, however, if one were take it even a step further. Say for instance, you booked a one-way SFO-EWR far in advance during a sale. Let’s say it was $129. As time passes, the fare goes up dramatically, and I never take the flight. Would united be upset because they could have sold that ticket for more? Obviously this is an obtuse hypothetical, but it seems like the same concept.
 
bob75013
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:00 am

alasizon wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
alasizon wrote:
This would wreck many of the hub and spoke operations in the US as that is what fills some of the seats that enables the frequency and gauge that travelers prefer. Even WN has pricing that works this way. For instance on 8/19 I can fly PHX-SDF-MDW for $150 but if I want to fly that same PHX-SDF leg it is $189.


However the difference is that Southwest just allows hidden cities. They don't chase customers who skip a leg, they don't even cancel the rest of their ticket. They just don't give a shit. That gives Southwest far better publicity than United. And the fact that Southwest works that way might be reason for folks to fly Southwest instead of United.

No, WN does not allow it. They don't chase after pax who violate it but WN specifically states in their Contract of Carriage it is not allowed.



Southwest does not prohibit hidden city fares. Your saying so does not make it so. Here's the contract. Show us where it prohibits hidden city usage:

https://www.southwest.com/assets/pdfs/c ... rriage.pdf
 
Yossarian22
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:03 am

TWA772LR wrote:
DarthLobster wrote:
Once again UA proves it views it’s own customers as the enemy. If the public has found a loophole, it’s up to them to engineer a fix instead of gestapoing a stopgap solution.

Its theft. The pax on the hidden city itenerary is effectively robbing UA of the extra revenue by doing ABC-JKL instead of ABC-JKL-XYZ. Its hard for people to see it as such because UA doesnt have anything tangible for sale due to the nature of the airlines being a service industry. Its the same as someone walking in to Best Buy and stealing a video game.


More than a decade ago, when CVG was still a massive Delta hub, it was quite common for passengers to save hundreds of dollars by opening and closing their trips in DAY, often times with a regional DAY/CVG segment to start or end the trip. For decades, CVG was the most expensive or second most expensive airport in the country. How much of a theft was it, if you skipped the final CVG>DAY leg of your journey?

It is a role of the dice. I would never do a hidden city ticket, outside if the old CVG/DAY situation, because lets say I book the above example of PHX>MDW>SDF. If the original PHX>MDW segment is cancelled, I could be rerouted through another city like DEN and there is not much I could do about it.
 
bob75013
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:10 am

Yossarian22 wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
DarthLobster wrote:
Once again UA proves it views it’s own customers as the enemy. If the public has found a loophole, it’s up to them to engineer a fix instead of gestapoing a stopgap solution.

Its theft. The pax on the hidden city itenerary is effectively robbing UA of the extra revenue by doing ABC-JKL instead of ABC-JKL-XYZ. Its hard for people to see it as such because UA doesnt have anything tangible for sale due to the nature of the airlines being a service industry. Its the same as someone walking in to Best Buy and stealing a video game.


More than a decade ago, when CVG was still a massive Delta hub, it was quite common for passengers to save hundreds of dollars by opening and closing their trips in DAY, often times with a regional DAY/CVG segment to start or end the trip. For decades, CVG was the most expensive or second most expensive airport in the country. How much of a theft was it, if you skipped the final CVG>DAY leg of your journey?

It is a role of the dice. I would never do a hidden city ticket, outside if the old CVG/DAY situation, because lets say I book the above example of PHX>MDW>SDF. If the original PHX>MDW segment is cancelled, I could be rerouted through another city like DEN and there is not much I could do about it.


At least at WN, if the airline changes your flight, you can tell WN that you don't want the flight and tell them to change you to another that you specify - regardless of fare basis. I presume that other airlines operate in much the same way.
 
N649DL
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:17 am

This isn't new at all. UAL threatened to shut down Mileage Plus accounts over this type of thing 4-5 years ago. I get super frustrated with booking search crashes and various quirks especially on United.Com so I have no idea how these people get around it or have the time for it.

Then again, why is UAL still having issues with this type of thing? It's kind of the chicken and egg approach, the panhandlers probably know how to manipulate the search as the website is still a derivative in some ways from the CO days. Yet UAL is the only one making noise about this over the last few years.
 
Texas77
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:23 am

AEROFAN wrote:

I simply do not understand why so many of you suck at the teats of airlines. If UA doesn't suit you, fly another. Vote with your pocket and you will see how soon any company changes its tune.


Live by IAH and then tell me that...
 
MIflyer12
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Texas77 wrote:
AEROFAN wrote:

I simply do not understand why so many of you suck at the teats of airlines. If UA doesn't suit you, fly another. Vote with your pocket and you will see how soon any company changes its tune.


Live by IAH and then tell me that...


There are airlines other than UA flying non-stop to more than 50 destinations from IAH, plus what is offered from Hobby. If you're not deep into MP status you just like being beaten.
 
Ziyulu
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:30 am

If I only need 12 eggs, but the pack of 18 eggs is cheaper than 12, I buy the 18 and throw away the rest. The store would go after me if they knew about it, right?
 
B747forever
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:36 am

Well, I am proud to say that over the last 12 months I have saved close to $5000 on hidden city ticketing on all UA itineraries. Several close in bookings flying LAX-EWR-XXX with intended final destination EWR are many times 50% cheaper than a simple LAX-EWR ticket, and saved close to $2000 on a family trip flying LAX-NRT-LAX-YVR dropping LAX-YVR. Good luck to UA pursuing every customer that does this.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
continental004
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:36 am

UA could just stop prince gouging but that would just be too obvious *shrugs*

So many corporate apologists here smh
 
Pyrex
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:42 am

airzim wrote:
I plan to do this in a few weeks with my family. I booked a great fare in long haul J which involves 6 legs with segments 2-4 operated by a Star carrier on that airline’s ticket stock. However I want to skip the last leg (leg 6) on UA and I’ve booked a separate ticket on another carrier for the following day to get to another destination.

I’m crediting to MileagePlus. Since leg 5 involves an entry in the US, I don’t have to worry about the bags going on the final flight. We plan just to clear C&I and walk out of the terminal. Should I let them know I’m going to no-show? Can make an excuse about being sick. Or just have 4 people no show and cross my fingers? Just curious what folks think.


Call United and tell them CBP mistook you for a dangerous terrorist and denied you entry into the I.S. if they ask why they did not use the same airline that brought you in to deport you, tell them you managed to escape. If they ask went you are booked in a U.S. domestic flight next month, tell them you came in from Mexico and managed to jump the wall.
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jetmatt777
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:43 am

Ziyulu wrote:
If I only need 12 eggs, but the pack of 18 eggs is cheaper than 12, I buy the 18 and throw away the rest. The store would go after me if they knew about it, right?


For our carry-out customers we are offering 2 for 1 appetizers and half off all entrees. A man goes to the takeout window and orders all of his food and goes and sits down at the bar to eat them. It’s the same food and it costs the restaurant the same right? It’s still dishonest.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
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tlecam
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:10 am

slowrambler wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
I'll state the obvious. They lose the ability to sell that downline booking, because it's reserved for someone who has no intention of using it.


Of course they lose the ability of selling it because they already sold it. If the customer uses that ticket or not should be irrelevant to the airline. They sold it, they got their money. That's where it ends. Customer has the right, but not the obligation to use it. To the airline this should not make any difference.


The whole point is that they sold it but didn't get their money - getting their money would mean the customer bought the more expensive ORD-SFO.

No sane network airline can avoid pricing like this. You charge a premium where you offer something additional - nonstops, frequency, whatever - and less when you're just one of many options. But this means that connections tend to cost less.


YOu’re right of course - they’re focused on the opportunity cost of the lost revenue from a higher priced non-stop ticket.

However, as Scott and others mentioned up thread - the airlines are going to be very leery about going to court on this, because the contract of carriage has not been legally tested in any substantial way by the courts. You can imagine how hard it’s going to be to make the argument that, “hey they paid for two flights and only took one and we didn’t refund them any money and we got screwed!” It’s hard to argue that “something additional” is actually something less by a different, easily understood metric.
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geologyrocks
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:13 am

I get why airlines do it. There is obviously a premium for a non-stop flight but trying to argue to the general public that you are losing money because a paying passenger has elected to not fly in a seat that said passenger has already paid for is asinine. If it's one-way and they didn't check any bags then...
 
travaz
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:16 am

I am not defending the Airlines by any means. But if I want to go PHX ORD and the one way ticket is $200.00. If I buy a ticket PHX BDL for $180.00 and get off in ORD United lost $20.00 in revenue.
 
c933103
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:18 am

caverunner17 wrote:
I don't know how they can legally do anything, and no, I don't care what it says in the fine print of the "contract". Airlines would have a hard time proving damages as you did pay and they'd likely end up reselling that empty seat anyways to a standby passenger.

I've done it a couple of times through the years. Just book one-way tickets, don't use a FF account, don't check baggage. I don't see how any airline can "force" you to take a flight. I could see banning passengers who abuse it (say more than 5 or 10 times/year), but going after someone who does it only 1-2x year isn't going to gain them any good publicity and would just rack up legal fees.

From those statements quoted in OP, it seems to me like someone was trying to travel using the hidden city ticketing method yet checked in luggage, which appears to me to be the reason why they emphasis on understand the situation and help get passengers and their luggages to their final destination
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Bricktop
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:22 am

travaz wrote:
I am not defending the Airlines by any means. But if I want to go PHX ORD and the one way ticket is $200.00. If I buy a ticket PHX BDL for $180.00 and get off in ORD United lost $20.00 in revenue.

But United set the price. :spin: Them, not the traveler.
 
Yossarian22
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:25 am

travaz wrote:
I am not defending the Airlines by any means. But if I want to go PHX ORD and the one way ticket is $200.00. If I buy a ticket PHX BDL for $180.00 and get off in ORD United lost $20.00 in revenue.


How many passengers are actually doing this?

Short of something like I discussed above, booking for DAY and getting off at CVG (50 miles/80 KM apart, and even then I would only do it if I were being picked up, as if I parked or car or have a rental car reservation, and my itinerary changes to XXX>ATL>DAY, that’s not great), I don’t find it to be worth the risk of what can happen if my flight is cancelled.

If the lost revenue has any noticeable effect on the bottom line, United probably needs to rework their fare structure. Otherwise you have to imagine, in the grand scheme of total operations, this is a drop in the bucket. Is it really worth going after a small number of crafty passengers who are taking a risk to save what is a large amount of money to them but a small amount to the airline?
 
travaz
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:28 am

Bricktop wrote:
travaz wrote:
I am not defending the Airlines by any means. But if I want to go PHX ORD and the one way ticket is $200.00. If I buy a ticket PHX BDL for $180.00 and get off in ORD United lost $20.00 in revenue.

But United set the price. :spin: Them, not the traveler.

I don't disagree that the Airlines created the problem as the consumer will always find a better price if available. I just think that in a Court, using contract law, its an argument that might fly for United.
 
jetmatt777
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:31 am

If people read the OP it’s clear that the company is only looking for agents to escalate those possible PNRs up to corporate security for further investigation.

They are likely looking for serious offenders, who some even in this thread, admit to thousands of dollars of dishonest booking. I don’t think they are going after someone who did it once and saved $75.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
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