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Revelation
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:05 pm

afcjets wrote:
IMO hidden city will never banned, illegal, or subject to paying the fare difference if you no show on your remaining segment(s)

I think you're probably right.

I just wonder why these large corporations with their 'industry associations' haven't tried to solve this problem the way these problems usually get solved, by using their corporate muscle to get Congress to do them a solid.

Surely there's a farm bill somewhere that such a self serving law could be attached to?
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:09 pm

DDR wrote:
Gulfstream500 wrote:
DDR wrote:

I guess I don't understand the return part. How do you get back home after skipping the last leg on the outbound flight?


Book the return on another airline.

Ex. book CLT-IAH-AUS with UA, but don’t fly the IAH-AUS flight.

Then, book IAH-CLT-BOS with AA, but don’t fly the CLT-BOS flight.


Ah. Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense now.


That example works only because both airports are hubs. If only one airport is a hub you can only do it in one direction by either booking two one-ways on the same or a different airline, or if the hidden city is on the return, you can book a multi-city trip which will allow you to combine roundtrip fares which might be less expensive. If the outbound flights are where the hidden city works, you can only do it by booking two one-ways though. CLT-LAS-CLT-FLL
 
nry
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:18 pm

Loyal travelers aren't using hidden city ticketing. People using this trick by definition are chasing the cheapest fare. That is not the behavior of a loyal customer.

In any case, all this hot air is doing exactly what United wants - driving the travel hackers to other airlines. I'm sure they make incremental revenue from them, but it's not predictable nor a way to build a sustainable business. Let's put this announcement in context of the high-J 763s put on EWR-LHR-EWR. They know exactly what they're doing.

All this discussion about minutiae of CoC's really doesn't matter.
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afcjets
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:25 pm

nry wrote:
In any case, all this hot air is doing exactly what United wants - driving the travel hackers to other airlines.\



It may deter some flyers but it won't be sending other flyers using hidden cities to other airlines, with the possible exception of LAX and ORD. If you want to try it in DEN, IAD, IAH, or SFO, United is your only option, unless your destination happens to be another airline hub.
 
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:38 pm

nry wrote:
Loyal travelers aren't using hidden city ticketing. People using this trick by definition are chasing the cheapest fare. That is not the behavior of a loyal customer.


That’s probably true of folks who are truly hidden city ticketing but what about a Milwaukee-based business passenger scheduled to fly BHM-ORD-MKE who suddenly gets an 8:00 meeting in Chicago the next day dropped on her? If I were that passenger, I would seriously consider skipping the ORD-MKE leg, going to the meeting, and taking Amtrak back to MKE. I think UA likes that sort of passenger much more (among other things, she probably buys a lot of refundable tickets and/or pays a lot of change fees).
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Cubsrule
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:40 pm

Revelation wrote:
afcjets wrote:
IMO hidden city will never banned, illegal, or subject to paying the fare difference if you no show on your remaining segment(s)

I think you're probably right.

I just wonder why these large corporations with their 'industry associations' haven't tried to solve this problem the way these problems usually get solved, by using their corporate muscle to get Congress to do them a solid.

Surely there's a farm bill somewhere that such a self serving law could be attached to?


What does this sort of van look like in practice? Criminal prosecution for hidden city ticketing?
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:54 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
What does this sort of van look like in practice? Criminal prosecution for hidden city ticketing?

Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Similar as if a utility finds you're stealing electricity/gas/cable/telephone/etc.

This assumes the pax is stealing revenue from the airline equivalent to the difference between the nonstop fare and the hidden city fare at the time of purchase.

I know that premise is debatable, but once it's written in to law and presuming it passes constitutional muster, the debate becomes irrelevant.
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Varsity1
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:14 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.

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.


Are you a southwest fan now?
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Cubsrule
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:15 pm

Revelation wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
What does this sort of van look like in practice? Criminal prosecution for hidden city ticketing?

Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Similar as if a utility finds you're stealing electricity/gas/cable/telephone/etc.

This assumes the pax is stealing revenue from the airline equivalent to the difference between the nonstop fare and the hidden city fare at the time of purchase.

I know that premise is debatable, but once it's written in to law and presuming it passes constitutional muster, the debate becomes irrelevant.


Theft requires intent to steal. How do you suggest proving that?
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:22 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
nry wrote:
Loyal travelers aren't using hidden city ticketing. People using this trick by definition are chasing the cheapest fare. That is not the behavior of a loyal customer.


That’s probably true of folks who are truly hidden city ticketing but what about a Milwaukee-based business passenger scheduled to fly BHM-ORD-MKE who suddenly gets an 8:00 meeting in Chicago the next day dropped on her? If I were that passenger, I would seriously consider skipping the ORD-MKE leg, going to the meeting, and taking Amtrak back to MKE. I think UA likes that sort of passenger much more (among other things, she probably buys a lot of refundable tickets and/or pays a lot of change fees).


Honestly they're probably not that concerned about that business traveler. There's also the assumption here BHM-ORD-MKE is cheaper than BHM-ORD. The airline should know enough about her track record (likely business traveler, potentially spends a lot of money on the airline) that she wouldn't be flagged as a hidden city ticket problem.

What I want to know is if there's a small subset of people who do this so regularly it's starting to become a noticeable problem.
 
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:23 pm

Varsity1 wrote:
Are you a southwest fan now?


I ain't, but there are some things they do right.
 
travelsonic
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:30 pm

Revelation wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
What does this sort of van look like in practice? Criminal prosecution for hidden city ticketing?

Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Similar as if a utility finds you're stealing electricity/gas/cable/telephone/etc.


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I am just hyper-analytical.

If I am understanding you correctly, I am having trouble with the analogy - as from what I understood, the hidden city ticketing, you're still paying the fare that was required for the particular ticket. If we go into warping the idea of theft of service like this, counting not to make the money they wish they could, the implications would be rather silly and far reaching when applied to, say, day to day things (perfectly legal things, not illegal things) people do which have the same net effect of denying them the potential to make some money they wish they could. Window shopping, buying something and then returning it, looking to buy something, then seeing a competitor is selling the same product for a better price and going with them, arguably do the same sort of things, yet wouldn't at all, reasonably be considered theft of anything.
Last edited by travelsonic on Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
nry
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:31 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
That’s probably true of folks who are truly hidden city ticketing but what about a Milwaukee-based business passenger scheduled to fly BHM-ORD-MKE who suddenly gets an 8:00 meeting in Chicago the next day dropped on her? If I were that passenger, I would seriously consider skipping the ORD-MKE leg, going to the meeting, and taking Amtrak back to MKE. I think UA likes that sort of passenger much more (among other things, she probably buys a lot of refundable tickets and/or pays a lot of change fees).


There will always be valid reasons to drop legs. However, if you're truly a road warrior with status, you probably called United to get you a confirmed seat on a next-day ORD-MKE flight and billed the difference to your client in Chicago. In any case, if you're MKE-based probably already flew MKE-(ORD)-BHM outbound, so you won't get flagged.

[EDIT] There's also United's 24-hr Same Day Change policy that gives their elite flyers the ability to change flights w/o extra fees that might work in this scenario as well[/EDIT]
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:46 pm

Revelation wrote:
Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Similar as if a utility finds you're stealing electricity/gas/cable/telephone/etc.

This assumes the pax is stealing revenue from the airline equivalent to the difference between the nonstop fare and the hidden city fare at the time of purchase.

I know that premise is debatable, but once it's written in to law and presuming it passes constitutional muster, the debate becomes irrelevant.


However wouldn't the airline be equally guilty for provocation? After all, they made it possible for the passenger to book a ticket with a hidden destination and therefor steal their service.

It's the same as parking your car and leaving the keys in the door. Don't be surprised if you find it stolen, you provoked it. You made it possible for anyone to steal your car. In some places, that's a crime as well.

The best solution would be a law that prohibits airlines from pricing a multi-leg flight cheaper than either of the legs alone. So if an airline offers AAA-BBB-CCC, this is not allowed to be cheaper than AAA-BBB or BBB-CCC. It must be at least the same price. Airlines would quickly adapt to such a law and it would make air travel more fair. Most important, it would end the possibility of hidden cities.
 
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:48 pm

travelsonic wrote:
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I am just hyper-analytical.

Similar disclaimer. I'm not a lawyer. I'm just workshopping a hypothetical. My distaste regarding corporate behavior should be clear from my posts.

My main question is: if corporations are so shameless about their greed, why aren't they using their corporate muscle to work behind the scenes to get Congress to grant them a cut out?

travelsonic wrote:
If I am understanding you correctly, I am having trouble with the analogy - as from what I understood, the hidden city ticketing, you're still paying the fare that was required for the particular ticket. If we go into warping the idea of theft of service like this, counting not to make the money they wish they could, the implications would be rather silly and far reaching when applied to, say, day to day things (perfectly legal things, not illegal things) people do which have the same net effect of denying them the potential to make some money they wish they could. Window shopping, buying something and then returning it, looking to buy something, then seeing a competitor is selling the same product for a better price and going with them, arguably do the same sort of things, yet wouldn't at all, reasonably be considered theft of anything.

All of this is sound logic, which is why they'd need Congress to grant them some special cut out, using all the usual lingo they use to justify why aviation deserves special treatment.

Cubsrule wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
What does this sort of van look like in practice? Criminal prosecution for hidden city ticketing?

Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Theft requires intent to steal. How do you suggest proving that?

Look for a pattern. First time, meh. Second time, hmm. Third time, you're gaming the system.

It's not like we're allowed to fly anonymously any more.
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Aliqiout
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:53 pm

ScottB wrote:
77H wrote:
once you enter time into the equation you have to start considering that passenger A bought the XXX-ZZZ via YYY ticket at time H prior to departure at price P. Your argument doesnt consider that at any time between time H and departure, passenger B could have and would have booked either XXX-YYY or YYY-ZZZ at higher price Q at time I. But your reservation is holding that inventory at price P.


None of this is material because the consumer doesn't control the revenue management algorithm. Whether the passenger flies only the leg to the hub city or the full spoke-hub-spoke itinerary, the airline will still realize the same amount of revenue. If the airline's algorithm doesn't correctly predict that those two segments could be sold separately for more money at a later date, THAT STILL ISN'T THE CONSUMER'S RESPONSIBILITY.

If United sells me a basic economy ticket to SFO today for travel in November for $500 and puts that same itinerary on sale in two weeks for $400 do you think they'll refund me the difference? Fat chance. If I buy a basic economy ticket for YYY-ZZZ and end up not being able to take the flight, is the airline being deprived of revenue? I can't get a refund or travel credit for my seat that's ostensibly flying empty.

77H wrote:
You bought tickets to 2 concerts in different cities on the same day knowing you can’t be at both. While you’re correct in saying that the performer still gets payed, you have to account for time.


I didn't necessarily say they were the same day; in fact, if they were for the same performer, they likely wouldn't be. I just said that I hypothetically would choose to not go to one show for some reason -- but the seat was still paid-for even if it's empty.

Let's use another hypothetical -- season tickets to the symphony. And let's say that a season ticket for 20 performances comes at a 10% discount compared to buying each ticket individually. Do they come after you for lost revenue because you didn't show up to one performance? After all, they presumably "lost revenue" because that seat was empty. No, that would be ridiculous.

Your beginning argument is a good moral argument for hidden city, but your hypothetical falls short. You buy a bunch of individual performances. You don't buy individual flights, unless you are self connecting.

The only reason to buy the performances all together is to save money. They have the same value to you as if you bought them all separately. When you buy two flights on one ticket, either you are honestly buying a ticket, in which case the individual flights might be valueless to you, or you are hidden city ticketing and one flight has all the value (more than you paid), and the other has zero value.
 
Aliqiout
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:57 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

Why is a seat more like a hammer and less like an option? Didn’t he really buy the right to occupy the seat? Looking at it through that lens, it’s easier to understand the perspective. Would you be happy if you expected a 100-pound 12-year-old girl next to you and Lawrence Taylor showed up to sit in the seat?


It’s a reservation - you miss the check in time and the seat is up for grabs.

You pay a $50 reservation fee at New York’s finest restaurant, they have a strict policy of checking in at the host stand 15 minutes before your reservation. You show up 45 minutes late and find they have used the table you reserved to seat another party who walked up and asked to be placed on the wait list.

Since you paid $50 does that mean you are entitled to have that table sit empty all night long? Of course you have the option to use an airline ticket, but why should someone get mad when they exercise the option to NOT use it and the airline sells the seat to someone who WILL use it?


It’s an option that expires X minutes before departure. But really the problem is that air tickets don’t really follow real-life analogies.

Let’s say I need to go CLT-ABQ in February and have options connecting in ORD for $300, DEN for $350, or IAH for $400. I pay $400 for the the IAH connection because it’s the least likely to have foul weather. What common sense (note: NOT contract of carriage fine print) reason is there that UA doesn’t owe me $50 if they reroute me on the DEN flight I paid more to avoid?

Right, you won't get the $50 dollars back. It is the same reason hidden city ticketing is banned, you are not buying CLT-IAH and IAH-ABQ, you are buying CLT-ABQ. Of course in this situation you would be able to get a full refund. If you wanted to buy CLT-DFW-ABQ instead.
 
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:01 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
The best solution would be a law that prohibits airlines from pricing a multi-leg flight cheaper than either of the legs alone. So if an airline offers AAA-BBB-CCC, this is not allowed to be cheaper than AAA-BBB or BBB-CCC. It must be at least the same price. Airlines would quickly adapt to such a law and it would make air travel more fair. Most important, it would end the possibility of hidden cities.

Airlines don't want fairness, they want everything to work in their favor.

This is one of the few cases where they get the short end of the stick, but give it time, they'll find a way, they always do.
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Cubsrule
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:04 pm

Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:

It’s a reservation - you miss the check in time and the seat is up for grabs.

You pay a $50 reservation fee at New York’s finest restaurant, they have a strict policy of checking in at the host stand 15 minutes before your reservation. You show up 45 minutes late and find they have used the table you reserved to seat another party who walked up and asked to be placed on the wait list.

Since you paid $50 does that mean you are entitled to have that table sit empty all night long? Of course you have the option to use an airline ticket, but why should someone get mad when they exercise the option to NOT use it and the airline sells the seat to someone who WILL use it?


It’s an option that expires X minutes before departure. But really the problem is that air tickets don’t really follow real-life analogies.

Let’s say I need to go CLT-ABQ in February and have options connecting in ORD for $300, DEN for $350, or IAH for $400. I pay $400 for the the IAH connection because it’s the least likely to have foul weather. What common sense (note: NOT contract of carriage fine print) reason is there that UA doesn’t owe me $50 if they reroute me on the DEN flight I paid more to avoid?

Right, you won't get the $50 dollars back. It is the same reason hidden city ticketing is banned, you are not buying CLT-IAH and IAH-ABQ, you are buying CLT-ABQ. Of course in this situation you would be able to get a full refund. If you wanted to buy CLT-DFW-ABQ instead.


Isn’t the natural logical conclusion of this argument that connections ought to be the same price regardless of the hub at which they connect?
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Cubsrule
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:04 pm

nry wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
That’s probably true of folks who are truly hidden city ticketing but what about a Milwaukee-based business passenger scheduled to fly BHM-ORD-MKE who suddenly gets an 8:00 meeting in Chicago the next day dropped on her? If I were that passenger, I would seriously consider skipping the ORD-MKE leg, going to the meeting, and taking Amtrak back to MKE. I think UA likes that sort of passenger much more (among other things, she probably buys a lot of refundable tickets and/or pays a lot of change fees).


There will always be valid reasons to drop legs. However, if you're truly a road warrior with status, you probably called United to get you a confirmed seat on a next-day ORD-MKE flight and billed the difference to your client in Chicago. In any case, if you're MKE-based probably already flew MKE-(ORD)-BHM outbound, so you won't get flagged.

[EDIT] There's also United's 24-hr Same Day Change policy that gives their elite flyers the ability to change flights w/o extra fees that might work in this scenario as well[/EDIT]


Who in their right mind would fly ORD-MKE without a connection on one end or the other?
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Aliqiout
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:16 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

It’s an option that expires X minutes before departure. But really the problem is that air tickets don’t really follow real-life analogies.

Let’s say I need to go CLT-ABQ in February and have options connecting in ORD for $300, DEN for $350, or IAH for $400. I pay $400 for the the IAH connection because it’s the least likely to have foul weather. What common sense (note: NOT contract of carriage fine print) reason is there that UA doesn’t owe me $50 if they reroute me on the DEN flight I paid more to avoid?

Right, you won't get the $50 dollars back. It is the same reason hidden city ticketing is banned, you are not buying CLT-IAH and IAH-ABQ, you are buying CLT-ABQ. Of course in this situation you would be able to get a full refund. If you wanted to buy CLT-DFW-ABQ instead.


Isn’t the natural logical conclusion of this argument that connections ought to be the same price regardless of the hub at which they connect?

Not from the airlines perspective. The filed fares between any two cities generally don't change based on the connection city, but different fare classes are open on different segments depending on how many seats the airline has sold, it thinks it can sell on any individual flight.

Of course even when the same fare classes are available there will be a small difference in the total price, because of the different fees, or in the case of international flights, taxes, are charged by each hub airport.
 
bob75013
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:18 pm

Revelation wrote:
travelsonic wrote:
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I am just hyper-analytical.

Similar disclaimer. I'm not a lawyer. I'm just workshopping a hypothetical. My distaste regarding corporate behavior should be clear from my posts.

My main question is: if corporations are so shameless about their greed, why aren't they using their corporate muscle to work behind the scenes to get Congress to grant them a cut out?

travelsonic wrote:
If I am understanding you correctly, I am having trouble with the analogy - as from what I understood, the hidden city ticketing, you're still paying the fare that was required for the particular ticket. If we go into warping the idea of theft of service like this, counting not to make the money they wish they could, the implications would be rather silly and far reaching when applied to, say, day to day things (perfectly legal things, not illegal things) people do which have the same net effect of denying them the potential to make some money they wish they could. Window shopping, buying something and then returning it, looking to buy something, then seeing a competitor is selling the same product for a better price and going with them, arguably do the same sort of things, yet wouldn't at all, reasonably be considered theft of anything.

All of this is sound logic, which is why they'd need Congress to grant them some special cut out, using all the usual lingo they use to justify why aviation deserves special treatment.

Cubsrule wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Theft requires intent to steal. How do you suggest proving that?

Look for a pattern. First time, meh. Second time, hmm. Third time, you're gaming the system.
.


My understanding is that is exactly what United is doing. Do it infrequently and you'll get away with it. Do it repeatedly and they'll challenge you.
 
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:27 pm

Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
Right, you won't get the $50 dollars back. It is the same reason hidden city ticketing is banned, you are not buying CLT-IAH and IAH-ABQ, you are buying CLT-ABQ. Of course in this situation you would be able to get a full refund. If you wanted to buy CLT-DFW-ABQ instead.


Isn’t the natural logical conclusion of this argument that connections ought to be the same price regardless of the hub at which they connect?

Not from the airlines perspective. The filed fares between any two cities generally don't change based on the connection city, but different fare classes are open on different segments depending on how many seats the airline has sold, it thinks it can sell on any individual flight.

Of course even when the same fare classes are available there will be a small difference in the total price, because of the different fees, or in the case of international flights, taxes, are charged by each hub airport.


UA absolutely manipulates fares on certain connections. Connections in the 3-4 hour range (i.e. the longest legal connections) are quite often significantly cheaper. That’s hard to explain if you start with the assumption that they sell the same inventory on every flight.
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:31 pm

bob75013 wrote:
My understanding is that is exactly what United is doing. Do it infrequently and you'll get away with it. Do it repeatedly and they'll challenge you.

Right, but they can't do anything to recover their missing revenue after the fact, because they are on shaky legal ground.

The real fix from their point of view would be a law letting them collect the revenue after the fact.
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gwrudolph
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:36 pm

LAXBUR wrote:
I understand an airline’s frustration with this. But at the same time it may cost them more to pursue this all while giving the issue more attention which also won’t benefit the airline.


Exactly. United should pick its fights more carefully. No wonder it is always in the bad light of the media.

Asking your customer service reps to clamp down on this behavior is bound to blow up in their face. It’s pedantic culture is always getting in the way of improving brand reputation
 
jetmatt777
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:41 pm

gwrudolph wrote:
LAXBUR wrote:
I understand an airline’s frustration with this. But at the same time it may cost them more to pursue this all while giving the issue more attention which also won’t benefit the airline.


Exactly. United should pick its fights more carefully. No wonder it is always in the bad light of the media.

Asking your customer service reps to clamp down on this behavior is bound to blow up in their face. It’s pedantic culture is always getting in the way of improving brand reputation


The memo is not asking CS agents to even confront the individuals. All it is asking CS agents to do is to refer the cases to corporate for further investigation. Likely most cases won’t go any further than that, but if they find a few cases where people are taking advantage of the loophole multiple times per year in the tubes of thousands of dollars they may pursue some cases. I doubt they would sue someone over it, but confiscating miles or even warning of being blacklisted may happen?

Or maybe nothing will happen at all. Maybe UA is casting a broad net just to see what the actual level of abuse is. They may find nothing worth pursuing or even changing policy on. But any good business worth its salt should know how much revenue “leakage” is happening and be able to put a number on it. To NOT know that information would be a disservice.
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gwrudolph
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:53 pm

Bricktop wrote:
Revelation wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Because any such law would be unconstitutional. At the end of the day we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to a pursuit of happiness includes paying a lower price for airfare?

Congress has done a bunch of things that get in the way of an individual's pursuit of happiness, such as perimeter laws, the Wright Amendment, etc.

And now that the USSC has said corporations are people too, aren't they entitled to happiness as well?

Seems someone could come up with a law saying the overall aviation system is healthier when hidden city travel is banned.

Nothing makes me happier than "Sticking it to the man".

I have never used the hidden city trick, but the way the deck is stacked against the traveler by the airlines (US3) and their "policies" like $200 change fees, etc. screw 'em. For example, my wife, daughter and I were going to fly EWR to SFO to see family. Daughter (teen at the time) decided she didn't want to go, preferring to stay home with her friends and go to a concert. I had bought non-refundable tickets (eyes wide open on that) but I figured we'd have a sweet empty seat between us. Well TS for us. They sold her seat at a high last minute price and pocketed it all at a huge profit. So yeah, no pity for the airlines.


Yep. Love “sticking it to the man” particularly when “the man” has such one-aided policies

Sorta like when you cancel your trip even far out and they fee you down to no value on the ticket, then turn around and resell it to someone else. That’s real fair . . .
 
gwrudolph
Posts: 397
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:57 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
gwrudolph wrote:
LAXBUR wrote:
I understand an airline’s frustration with this. But at the same time it may cost them more to pursue this all while giving the issue more attention which also won’t benefit the airline.


Exactly. United should pick its fights more carefully. No wonder it is always in the bad light of the media.

Asking your customer service reps to clamp down on this behavior is bound to blow up in their face. It’s pedantic culture is always getting in the way of improving brand reputation


The memo is not asking CS agents to even confront the individuals. All it is asking CS agents to do is to refer the cases to corporate for further investigation. Likely most cases won’t go any further than that, but if they find a few cases where people are taking advantage of the loophole multiple times per year in the tubes of thousands of dollars they may pursue some cases. I doubt they would sue someone over it, but confiscating miles or even warning of being blacklisted may happen?

Or maybe nothing will happen at all. Maybe UA is casting a broad net just to see what the actual level of abuse is. They may find nothing worth pursuing or even changing policy on. But any good business worth its salt should know how much revenue “leakage” is happening and be able to put a number on it. To NOT know that information would be a disservice.


Well if they will rarely actually enforce it except in abusive cases, then what’s the point?!?! Focus efforts on improving your business vs fighting with your customers. Lord knows United still has much work to do in that area
 
Ziyulu
Posts: 631
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:01 pm

I think a better way is to stamp SSSS on a traveler's boarding pass when they next travel. If you think about it, it makes sense. Such travelers need additional screening.
 
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Revelation
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:11 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
The memo is not asking CS agents to even confront the individuals. All it is asking CS agents to do is to refer the cases to corporate for further investigation. Likely most cases won’t go any further than that, but if they find a few cases where people are taking advantage of the loophole multiple times per year in the tubes of thousands of dollars they may pursue some cases. I doubt they would sue someone over it, but confiscating miles or even warning of being blacklisted may happen?

Or maybe nothing will happen at all. Maybe UA is casting a broad net just to see what the actual level of abuse is. They may find nothing worth pursuing or even changing policy on. But any good business worth its salt should know how much revenue “leakage” is happening and be able to put a number on it. To NOT know that information would be a disservice.

Why do they need CSA to get involved?

Should be a simple database query to compare boarding pass swipes to itineraries to figure out who didn't get on to the plane flying the hub to spoke route, no?

Why put more workload on CSAs and risk one who decides to become confrontational?
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Alfons
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:00 pm

Revelation wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
The memo is not asking CS agents to even confront the individuals. All it is asking CS agents to do is to refer the cases to corporate for further investigation. Likely most cases won’t go any further than that, but if they find a few cases where people are taking advantage of the loophole multiple times per year in the tubes of thousands of dollars they may pursue some cases. I doubt they would sue someone over it, but confiscating miles or even warning of being blacklisted may happen?

Or maybe nothing will happen at all. Maybe UA is casting a broad net just to see what the actual level of abuse is. They may find nothing worth pursuing or even changing policy on. But any good business worth its salt should know how much revenue “leakage” is happening and be able to put a number on it. To NOT know that information would be a disservice.

Why do they need CSA to get involved?

Should be a simple database query to compare boarding pass swipes to itineraries to figure out who didn't get on to the plane flying the hub to spoke route, no?

Why put more workload on CSAs and risk one who decides to become confrontational?





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Aliqiout
Posts: 291
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

Isn’t the natural logical conclusion of this argument that connections ought to be the same price regardless of the hub at which they connect?

Not from the airlines perspective. The filed fares between any two cities generally don't change based on the connection city, but different fare classes are open on different segments depending on how many seats the airline has sold, it thinks it can sell on any individual flight.

Of course even when the same fare classes are available there will be a small difference in the total price, because of the different fees, or in the case of international flights, taxes, are charged by each hub airport.


UA absolutely manipulates fares on certain connections. Connections in the 3-4 hour range (i.e. the longest legal connections) are quite often significantly cheaper. That’s hard to explain if you start with the assumption that they sell the same inventory on every flight.

I never said they sell the same inventory on every flight.

The longer connections are often less expensive on hub and spoke airlines, because a flight that necessitates a long connection will likely require a long connection to many other destinations and from many other origins as well. Even in non banked hubs some flights will have better connections to or from many destinations. The only way to overcome this is if there is enough O&D between the hub and the spoke at that particualar time to sell the higher fare.

This is just a general principle, and rare exceptions can be found when airlines manually manipulate connections in response to a specific unique circumstance. The combinability of flights is found in the fare rules, that is why third party agents can sometimes find ways to combine fares and flights that the airline misses. Generally the airline publishes a fare between two places and then any legal connection can be made using those fares. It is very rare to have conditions more specific than the general routing rules, maximum and minimum connection times, and an occasional "non stop travel required.

Airlines like WN that aren't available through third parties probably could manipulate things like this more. I am not a WN expert, so I don't know if they do.
Last edited by Aliqiout on Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:35 pm

Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
Not from the airlines perspective. The filed fares between any two cities generally don't change based on the connection city, but different fare classes are open on different segments depending on how many seats the airline has sold, it thinks it can sell on any individual flight.

Of course even when the same fare classes are available there will be a small difference in the total price, because of the different fees, or in the case of international flights, taxes, are charged by each hub airport.


UA absolutely manipulates fares on certain connections. Connections in the 3-4 hour range (i.e. the longest legal connections) are quite often significantly cheaper. That’s hard to explain if you start with the assumption that they sell the same inventory on every flight.

I never said they sell the same inventory on every flight.

The longer connections are often less expensive on hub and spoke airlines, because a flight that necessitates a long connection will likely require a long connection to many other destinations and from many other origins as well. Even in non banked hubs some flights will have better connections to or from many destinations. The only way to overcome this is if there is enough O&D between the hub and the spoke at that particualar time to sell the higher fare.


Sure, but the price differences show up far in advance when not many tickets are sold, suggesting that they price more aggressively on some connecting itineraries than on others.
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ikramerica
Posts: 14897
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:51 pm

travelsonic wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
What does this sort of van look like in practice? Criminal prosecution for hidden city ticketing?

Treat it like theft of service, I suppose.

Similar as if a utility finds you're stealing electricity/gas/cable/telephone/etc.


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I am just hyper-analytical.

If I am understanding you correctly, I am having trouble with the analogy - as from what I understood, the hidden city ticketing, you're still paying the fare that was required for the particular ticket. If we go into warping the idea of theft of service like this, counting not to make the money they wish they could, the implications would be rather silly and far reaching when applied to, say, day to day things (perfectly legal things, not illegal things) people do which have the same net effect of denying them the potential to make some money they wish they could. Window shopping, buying something and then returning it, looking to buy something, then seeing a competitor is selling the same product for a better price and going with them, arguably do the same sort of things, yet wouldn't at all, reasonably be considered theft of anything.

How you intend to use something impacts what you might be charged.

Educational software licenses.
Buying a purebread animal for less if you sign a contract not to breed it.
Paying a photographer for personal use of photos but not reproduce them or sell them.

In all three cases, you are getting the same exact product but paying less because you promise to use the product in a certain way.

As for the airline, the lost revenue to them is that they had an opportunity to sell both halves of your ticket to two other people for more.
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AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:32 pm

mauro10 wrote:
If an airline is able to sell XXX-YYY for $400 and sells XXX-YYY-ZZZ for $150 then they are stupid, right? But here is the thing: airlines are not stupid. They predict how many people book only XXX-YYY and the rest of the plane is going to be empty unless they fill it with connecting passengers just to get some extra revenue. And they get it.


I don't understand what you are trying to say by this your example:
1. The reason why XXX-YYY the shorter distance is priced at almost 3 times the price of XX-YYY-ZZZ is because they know that they can gouge you on XXX-YYY because of demand for the product to support this price point. If there wasn't
2, It's not as if the aircraft that will fly XXX-YYY is the same one that will fly XXX-YYY-ZZZ sometimes it could be. But this would be rare so the who argument of an empty seat on the YYY-ZZZ portion is purely smoke.
 
Gulfstream500
Posts: 374
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:45 am

afcjets wrote:
DDR wrote:
Gulfstream500 wrote:

Book the return on another airline.

Ex. book CLT-IAH-AUS with UA, but don’t fly the IAH-AUS flight.

Then, book IAH-CLT-BOS with AA, but don’t fly the CLT-BOS flight.


Ah. Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense now.


That example works only because both airports are hubs. If only one airport is a hub you can only do it in one direction by either booking two one-ways on the same or a different airline, or if the hidden city is on the return, you can book a multi-city trip which will allow you to combine roundtrip fares which might be less expensive. If the outbound flights are where the hidden city works, you can only do it by booking two one-ways though. CLT-LAS-CLT-FLL


It is not a good idea to book the hidden cities on the same airline, as you make it possible for the airline to notice that you're taking a hidden city flight.
Thinking of a good signature is hard...
 
mauro10
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:12 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:59 am

AEROFAN wrote:
mauro10 wrote:
If an airline is able to sell XXX-YYY for $400 and sells XXX-YYY-ZZZ for $150 then they are stupid, right? But here is the thing: airlines are not stupid. They predict how many people book only XXX-YYY and the rest of the plane is going to be empty unless they fill it with connecting passengers just to get some extra revenue. And they get it.


I don't understand what you are trying to say by this your example:
1. The reason why XXX-YYY the shorter distance is priced at almost 3 times the price of XX-YYY-ZZZ is because they know that they can gouge you on XXX-YYY because of demand for the product to support this price point. If there wasn't
2, It's not as if the aircraft that will fly XXX-YYY is the same one that will fly XXX-YYY-ZZZ sometimes it could be. But this would be rare so the who argument of an empty seat on the YYY-ZZZ portion is purely smoke.



They can gouge you in XXX-YYY, for sure. But if they could do it for all the seats, they would never sell this connection flights, right? Why selling two flights for $150 when I'm sure I can sell only one of these two for $400? But they can't, because $400 isn't the fare that is supposed to fill the plane. It is supposed to maximize revenue in XXX-YYY. Let`s take a simple example: if I fly a 200-seater XXX-YYY and I know that $300 is the fare that fills the plane: $300 x 200 seats = $60,000 in revenue. But they work with demand elasticity. Let's say that rising the fare to $400 means 50 less passengers buying it. $400 x 150 seats = the same $60,000. But now I have 50 empty seats that I can sell cheap for connecting passengers just to add some revenue to the flight. It is a choice based on the fact that these seats are NOT being sold for $400 in XXX-YYY. So the fact that the connection passengers are somehow preventing the airline to sell the seat with more expensive fares is just false. And even if this was true, what can the passenger do? The airline chose to offer that fare

And then, the YYY-ZZZ sector... is just a voluntary no-show and there are rules for that already. Fees for getting a refund or rescheduling and all sorts of things. Let's take another example: If I buy a flight departing 4PM and then something happens in my schedule and I realize that I'm not making it to the airport that soon. If they charge me $200 to change or cancel the reservation and I can buy a one-way ticket with other airline cheaper than that, I'm just going to buy it and miss the original flight. Just like hidden city travelers, I don't want a refund, I don't want to reschedule. I just think: ok, I'm going to book another flight, and you can keep my money even knowing that I'm not using the service. Buying a ticket is buying the right to be in the planes that make my flights. If I choose not to be, but I don`t expect any compensation from the airline, what makes me a thief? If I bought XXX-YYY-ZZZ, I have the right to be in these two planes and if I choose to be in just one of them, thaen what? I still paid for the right to be in the second flight and chose to let the seat empty. The airline can schedule and price the flights using whatever logic they want, but I can't choose how to use a product that I paid for? Good luck trying to make this case look good in court
Last edited by mauro10 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
happytraveller
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:35 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:07 am

But if I pay for a service and then decide not to use that service then it should be up to me, not the airline. I hope that the courts in Europe decide in favour of the consumer in this matter, as the airlines have it all their way at the moment. Airline conditions of carriage need a good sort out anyway, far too one-sided.
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:22 pm

If you use the hidden city ticketing to your benefit, if anyone asks, be sure to say that you suddenly got nausea and had to exit the airport.

When the airlines start honouring their part of a fair deal (not the one they dictated), e.g., by not bumping passengers who paid for their trip. Or actually delivering the luggage that you paid 100$ for them to deliver. Or not giving a million force majeure excuses when you ask for your EU compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. THEN we can talk about the morals of not using your entire ticket. Not before. Until then, you had a force majeure that necessitated your exit, just like the airline had a force majeure last week that required them to fly some other flights and cancel yours.
 
Aliqiout
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:37 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

UA absolutely manipulates fares on certain connections. Connections in the 3-4 hour range (i.e. the longest legal connections) are quite often significantly cheaper. That’s hard to explain if you start with the assumption that they sell the same inventory on every flight.

I never said they sell the same inventory on every flight.

The longer connections are often less expensive on hub and spoke airlines, because a flight that necessitates a long connection will likely require a long connection to many other destinations and from many other origins as well. Even in non banked hubs some flights will have better connections to or from many destinations. The only way to overcome this is if there is enough O&D between the hub and the spoke at that particualar time to sell the higher fare.


Sure, but the price differences show up far in advance when not many tickets are sold, suggesting that they price more aggressively on some connecting itineraries than on others.

The price differences show up in advance because the airlines have historical data and model the expected loads. Revenue managment is not just reactive.

Someone with enough time on their hands could check this. It would be interesting.....
 
Aliqiout
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:39 pm

happytraveller wrote:
Airline conditions of carriage need a good sort out anyway, far too one-sided.

I wholeheartedly agree with this.

It would not be surprising for EU courts to be much more consumer friendly than US courts on this issue.
 
greendot
Posts: 214
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:52 pm

nry wrote:
Loyal travelers aren't using hidden city ticketing. People using this trick by definition are chasing the cheapest fare. That is not the behavior of a loyal customer.


I think it's vital to understand that human virtues and positions of morality are not to be assigned to corporations. Loyalty is a human trait, not a corporate one. A corporation is guided solely by legal constraints and profit, occasionally under the helm of moral people. United is not privately held so it is explicitly under the tyranny of shareholders and Wall Street. At the end of the day, United will never fall on the sword for "what is right", they will only do "what is legal" and what "maximizes shareholder returns". That's why companies like United buy into leftist virtue signaling. It's a cheap copy of morality, but in facade only. Therefore, a corporation will always try to use words like "loyalty" whenever it suits their business objectives. Have loyalty for your wife, don't let some corporation guilt trip you into a false sense of loyalty. These people are not your friends or family. Never buy into this "loyal customer" falsehood.
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1758
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:08 pm

Revelation wrote:
bob75013 wrote:
My understanding is that is exactly what United is doing. Do it infrequently and you'll get away with it. Do it repeatedly and they'll challenge you.

Right, but they can't do anything to recover their missing revenue after the fact, because they are on shaky legal ground.

The real fix from their point of view would be a law letting them collect the revenue after the fact.


Why should there be a law? Why should the government get involved with this?
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:20 pm

AEROFAN wrote:
Why should there be a law? Why should the government get involved with this?


To protect the customer. I know this isn't very common in the US, but in Europe there are a lot of laws that protect customers against the power of large companies. Customers have rights and those rights, unfortunately, have to be in the law because those companies wouldn't have granted those rights out of themselves. They need to be forced to give customers those rights.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 13992
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:31 pm

Aliqiout wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
I never said they sell the same inventory on every flight.

The longer connections are often less expensive on hub and spoke airlines, because a flight that necessitates a long connection will likely require a long connection to many other destinations and from many other origins as well. Even in non banked hubs some flights will have better connections to or from many destinations. The only way to overcome this is if there is enough O&D between the hub and the spoke at that particualar time to sell the higher fare.


Sure, but the price differences show up far in advance when not many tickets are sold, suggesting that they price more aggressively on some connecting itineraries than on others.

The price differences show up in advance because the airlines have historical data and model the expected loads. Revenue managment is not just reactive.

Someone with enough time on their hands could check this. It would be interesting.....


I think we're saying the same thing. I misunderstood your original post to say that prices were based only on what was sold, which I now understand wasn't what you said.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:43 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
AEROFAN wrote:
Why should there be a law? Why should the government get involved with this?


To protect the customer. I know this isn't very common in the US, but in Europe there are a lot of laws that protect customers against the power of large companies. Customers have rights and those rights, unfortunately, have to be in the law because those companies wouldn't have granted those rights out of themselves. They need to be forced to give customers those rights.


Ah IC. Thanks for the clarification. I thought you were saying pass a law to protect companies.
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1758
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:45 pm

AirlineCritic wrote:
If you use the hidden city ticketing to your benefit, if anyone asks, be sure to say that you suddenly got nausea and had to exit the airport.

When the airlines start honouring their part of a fair deal (not the one they dictated), e.g., by not bumping passengers who paid for their trip. Or actually delivering the luggage that you paid 100$ for them to deliver. Or not giving a million force majeure excuses when you ask for your EU compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. THEN we can talk about the morals of not using your entire ticket. Not before. Until then, you had a force majeure that necessitated your exit, just like the airline had a force majeure last week that required them to fly some other flights and cancel yours.


:lol: :wave: :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup: :checkmark: :checkmark:
 
nry
Posts: 111
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:21 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
AEROFAN wrote:
Why should there be a law? Why should the government get involved with this?


To protect the customer. I know this isn't very common in the US, but in Europe there are a lot of laws that protect customers against the power of large companies. Customers have rights and those rights, unfortunately, have to be in the law because those companies wouldn't have granted those rights out of themselves. They need to be forced to give customers those rights.


Not very common in the US? That's hilariously wrong. There are a ton of consumer protection laws in the US. To assume otherwise means you don't really understand the US regulatory environment at all. But I suppose I can throw back a similar misperception of European regulations is that it's all about ossifying the existing markets and killing entrepreneurship, which makes them less innovative in general.

(see how that works?)

As for all this talk of "fairness" and "morals" who gets to define what's "fair?" And what's "moral?" These are subjective concepts by definition that are not universal in scope.

By the way, if you don't like the CoC's you're getting with airlines, you're free to stop flying. No one is forcing you to buy a ticket.

We could always go back to the previously regulated regime that we had before. Golden age with big luxurious seats and aisle-side service for everyone. Where you could walk up and buy same day tickets at the same cost and buying ahead of time.

And only the wealthy could fly.

(EDIT: grammar)
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AEROFAN
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:26 pm

Gulfstream500 wrote:
afcjets wrote:
DDR wrote:

Ah. Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense now.


That example works only because both airports are hubs. If only one airport is a hub you can only do it in one direction by either booking two one-ways on the same or a different airline, or if the hidden city is on the return, you can book a multi-city trip which will allow you to combine roundtrip fares which might be less expensive. If the outbound flights are where the hidden city works, you can only do it by booking two one-ways though. CLT-LAS-CLT-FLL


It is not a good idea to book the hidden cities on the same airline, as you make it possible for the airline to notice that you're taking a hidden city flight.


Now that the industry has gone to e-tickets you can now see if the previous flight has been taken even if travel was on a different carrier.
 
spudsmac
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:36 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:13 pm

Recently I was on a ticket from HNL-CVG with routing HNL-SFO-DEN-CVG and the DEN leg canceled. I got off in SFO, went to a hotel and took Delta to CVG later that night instead of wait for the reroute. Wonder if they consider what I did to be an issue.
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