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Brickell305
Posts: 694
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:37 pm

Aliqiout wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
Aliqiout wrote:
The issue is that on a hidden city ticket you never paid for transportation to the hidden city. Just because the airline uses the same flight that higher cost product uses, doesn't change that.


Wrong! You did pay for it, only the airline charged too little for it. That's the fault of the airline, not the passenger. They shouldn't offer it at that price, or they should offer it at that price for everyone.

And as said before, to the airline a direct flight is a lower cost product, it costs them less. So your term higher cost product is faulty. Many passengers expect to pay less for a direct flight because it is a lower cost product for the airline. Some airlines (Norwegian for example) live up to that expectation, others (United for example) refuse to accept this new reality and are stuck in their old-fashioned way of thinking.

The price for goods and services in a capitlistic system is not based on cost though. Its based on demand and supply. Costs only matter in that if the demand and supply don't allow a price higher than the cost the product will go away. Even this is too simplistic though, because airlines will run flights that don't bring in more than the costs in order to provide a better network

Ever notice how price plus stores are the exception rather than then rule?

To say it’s not based on cost but supply and demand simply isn’t true because supply is directly impacted by cost. The cost to produce something directly impacts the price at which a producer will be willing to supply it.
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:37 pm

joeljack wrote:
I needed to go DSM-DEN and United was like $520 one way for a 500 mile trip! I had been looking for months and the price never changed by a penny and my day was flexible! Instead I found a united flight connecting in Denver to Vegas for $89! If United would have just charged $200 or so one-way for the 500 miles, I would never have looked and any other options but pricing at $520 was nothing short of fraud by United. With frontier expanding in DSM United quit this practice and prices are reasonable now for a one-way ticket on this route. That is how you remove hidden city ticketing, don’t commit fraud on prices to begin with but charge a reasonable price!


:checkmark: :checkmark: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1226
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:46 pm

umichman wrote:
ikramerica wrote:
are they including back-to-back tickets in this crackdown?

there can be times where booking two tickets that "connect" is cheaper than one connecting flight. Airlines used to link them when you got to the airport, but would warn you that misconnects are your problem and that you would be standby on later flights. You can sometimes save a lot vs. doing a stopover ticket, or doing 3 one-ways. At least that used to be true.


That's not a CoC violation so there's nothing to go after. The only time back-to-back ticketing is a CoC violation is when you nest separate outbound and return tickets to get cheaper Saturday-night stay fares (useful for flyers who make regular weekly trips to somewhere which don't include Saturday night stays). So you book A-B roundtrip over a two week period and book a reverse B-A roundtrip within it. These both include Saturday night stays to get cheaper fares, but you aren't actually spending a Saturday night at your destination B.

Please explain how it can cost the airline more if the ticket doesn't include a Saturday night stay?
This is all just excuses and is in no way related to the actual cost of the flight.
 
Chemist
Posts: 584
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:46 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:48 pm

Punishing your customers is a great loyalty strategy. I wonder why the US legacy carriers have such a shoddy customer service reputation.
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1226
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:55 pm

Chemist wrote:
Punishing your customers is a great loyalty strategy. I wonder why the US legacy carriers have such a shoddy customer service reputation.

Not all of them...
 
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jdstJD
Posts: 196
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:55 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.


I agree with this. The fact that United or any other airline for that matter set up their pricing model the way that they did which currently incentivizes customers to fly multiple legs to get to their ultimate destination by charging less money is not the fault of the consumer. The consumer has just figured out a way to make that pricing structure work to their financial advantage. What the airlines should do is change their pricing strategy by simply charging the same price for a ticket based on distance between the place of origin and place of destination, regardless of whether the passenger flies non-stop or through layovers. For those customers willing to fly multiple legs for a discount, however, they would have to pay the same fare as a non-stop customer up front but would receive a refund upon completing the entire trip of the difference between the non-stop fare and what would have been the reduced fare for layovers under the old structure. Sort of like a deposit. It’s a clear rationale for the airlines: they are providing the customer the benefit of being able to get where they need to get to within the schedule the customer is willing to go by to get to their destination, even if it means flying with layovers. The customer must be invested in getting this benefit by paying the same price as non-stop customers but as a “thank you” for not clogging up the non-stop flights when you really don’t have to fly non-stop, they will refund the “deposit” at the completion of your trip at the final destination you booked.

From a legal standpoint, I also agree that the common carrier contracts are largely adhesion contracts where the customers have essentially no bargaining power. However, travel is not an essential service that airlines are required to provide. Customers are still going to be held to the terms they agree to when they opt to use the service. However, at the end of the day, the costs to the airlines of pursuing legal action to enforce those contracts will far outweigh the costs associated with that customer failing to honor the contract, i.e the revenue the airline would have received from the seat they would have sold at market rate had the customer not breached the contract. It’s rare for a court to award anything other than compensatory damages in a simple civil matter like that such as punitive damages. Furthermore, with United asking their employees to take some sort of action against customers they SUSPECT are abusing the price structure, they are just asking for legal action to be taken against them on a host of grounds given this litigious society.

Their only other remedy perhaps would be to lobby the legislature to make it a criminal offense for what they could call fraudulent activity, but the government would have to prove intent that the customer intended at the time they purchased their ticket to defraud the airline by not flying all legs of the trip. It’s pretty much impossible to prove intent in those circumstances and there would need to be some significant public policy, other than just protecting the airlines’ business models, to support criminalizing that conduct.

Their best course of action would be to rethink their pricing model and how they can disincentive passengers from doing this.
Lawyer, frequent air traveler and aviation enthusiast.
 
jetmatt777
Posts: 3929
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:09 pm

I would say consumers should be careful what they wish for - the airlines (voluntarily or by legislation) could go to a system where pricing for connections is the sum of two nonstop legs combined. For example right now OMA-DEN-LAS might be $189. With OMA-DEN being $165 and DEN-LAS being $145. Under the “new” pricing model the legs are combined and your OMA-DEN-LAS fare is $310. The traveling public will cry about the fare increases.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
Brickell305
Posts: 694
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:18 pm

jdstJD wrote:
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.


I agree with this. The fact that United or any other airline for that matter set up their pricing model the way that they did which currently incentivizes customers to fly multiple legs to get to their ultimate destination by charging less money is not the fault of the consumer. The consumer has just figured out a way to make that pricing structure work to their financial advantage. What the airlines should do is change their pricing strategy by simply charging the same price for a ticket based on distance between the place of origin and place of destination, regardless of whether the passenger flies non-stop or through layovers. For those customers willing to fly multiple legs for a discount, however, they would have to pay the same fare as a non-stop customer up front but would receive a refund upon completing the entire trip of the difference between the non-stop fare and what would have been the reduced fare for layovers under the old structure. Sort of like a deposit. It’s a clear rationale for the airlines: they are providing the customer the benefit of being able to get where they need to get to within the schedule the customer is willing to go by to get to their destination, even if it means flying with layovers. The customer must be invested in getting this benefit by paying the same price as non-stop customers but as a “thank you” for not clogging up the non-stop flights when you really don’t have to fly non-stop, they will refund the “deposit” at the completion of your trip at the final destination you booked.

From a legal standpoint, I also agree that the common carrier contracts are largely adhesion contracts where the customers have essentially no bargaining power. However, travel is not an essential service that airlines are required to provide. Customers are still going to be held to the terms they agree to when they opt to use the service. However, at the end of the day, the costs to the airlines of pursuing legal action to enforce those contracts will far outweigh the costs associated with that customer failing to honor the contract, i.e the revenue the airline would have received from the seat they would have sold at market rate had the customer not breached the contract. It’s rare for a court to award anything other than compensatory damages in a simple civil matter like that such as punitive damages. Furthermore, with United asking their employees to take some sort of action against customers they SUSPECT are abusing the price structure, they are just asking for legal action to be taken against them on a host of grounds given this litigious society.

Their only other remedy perhaps would be to lobby the legislature to make it a criminal offense for what they could call fraudulent activity, but the government would have to prove intent that the customer intended at the time they purchased their ticket to defraud the airline by not flying all legs of the trip. It’s pretty much impossible to prove intent in those circumstances and there would need to be some significant public policy, other than just protecting the airlines’ business models, to support criminalizing that conduct.

Their best course of action would be to rethink their pricing model and how they can disincentive passengers from doing this.

I don't see the deposit system as being feasible from a customer service standpoint. It would be both confusing and inconvenient for passengers. It would also add more complexity to the airline's booking and accounting systems. All to close a "loophole" that likely less than 1% of passengers actively seek to exploit.

Re travel being essential, I'd argue that it is and is already treated as such (to the benefit of airlines, I might add). If travel weren't viewed as essential, pilots and flight attendants would be able to go on strike at will.
 
Brickell305
Posts: 694
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:21 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
I would say consumers should be careful what they wish for - the airlines (voluntarily or by legislation) could go to a system where pricing for connections is the sum of two nonstop legs combined. For example right now OMA-DEN-LAS might be $189. With OMA-DEN being $165 and DEN-LAS being $145. Under the “new” pricing model the legs are combined and your OMA-DEN-LAS fare is $310. The traveling public will cry about the fare increases.

An airline could do that but then it would go out of business shortly thereafter when its competitors (wisely) choose not to. The amount "lost" due to hidden city tickets is in no way comparable to the amount of business any airline would lose by switching to that system of pricing. Which is why they don't do it. And no, they couldn't do it in tandem as that would be a clear cut case of collusion.
 
albert648
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:07 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:25 pm

offloaded wrote:
Easy for United or any other airline to fix. Hidden deep in the terms and conditions that nobody bothers to read but just clicks the box to agree to them anyway, you have a line saying that if you don't complete the itinerary as purchased, you agree to having the ticket repriced and your credit card charged accordingly.


1) No judge anywhere would enforce that (and most likely have the clause voided based on unconscionability).
2) If you order a 3-course prix-fixe menu at a restaurant, where two of the courses cost more than the package, and you choose not to eat dessert, the restaurant can't retroactively charge you the a la cart price for the first two courses. It doesn't work that way. The offer and agreement is in full effect when you placed the order and the waiter accepted it. The agreement NEVER included a provision that you will eat all three courses.

Just because you put it in the contract doesn't mean it's legal or that it will be enforced. The fundamental issue is that they're selling a larger bundle of services for less than a smaller bundle of services, and customers are taking advantage. This is a solution looking for a problem.

If United is capable of transporting 200 passengers, the second you buy that ticket, they've used up one of those units and have been paid for one of those units. They're not entitled to sell that unit again, and it doesn't matter how you spin it. Well, they're entitled to sell that unit again but they must provide you with a replacement of equal or greater value since they'll have failed to deliver.
 
coairman
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:31 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:40 pm

A couple of ways to stem hidden city travel is by doing this:

-If the airline designates potential hidden city, city pairs such as SFO-IAD- FLL, then the airline could have the purchaser promise to take the connecting flight by doing a credit card preauthorization for the difference between the city pairs booked and the higher fare of staying in the connecting city. For example if someone buys a one-way ticket of San Francisco to Washington Dulles and to Fort Lauderdale for $200, instead of purchasing the actual fair from San Francisco Washington Dulles such as $400, then the purchaser will consent to pay the fare difference in the event of a no-show on the connecting flight. A credit card preauthorization for the fare difference will be held and then released upon boarding the connecting flight.

- Another way is to not offer connecting flights through certain hubs that have a high percentage of widespread hidden city travel. For example if 80% of the connecting passengers arriving from San Francisco into Dulles miss their connecting flight intentionally to Fort Lauderdale, then the airline should not offer connecting service through that hub that has widespread abuse. So instead offering tickets from San Francisco to Dulles to Fort Lauderdale, block this city pairs and offer routing such as San Francisco to Houston to Fort Lauderdale.
The views I express are of my own, and not the company I work for.
 
caverunner17
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:50 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:43 pm

afcjets wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
I guess I am interested in where UA would be willing to draw the line in regards to making exceptions for customers and what "proof" they would require from customers.

Case in point: a friend of mine flew EWR-MAD-IAD-EWR the other day. At the time of booking, her itinerary in that order was $281 R/T on a Basic Economy ticket. When she booked her flight to MAD, I looked at tagging along, but every UA flight ex IAD to MAD was at least $1000.

Long story short, her father was in DC the night that she landed back in IAD and skipped the IAD-EWR leg to have dinner with him, and then just took the train home to NYC. She tried to have an agent in IAD cancel the next leg, explaining the situation, with the agent claiming she wasn't permitted to do so and she would have to continue, "because the she originated at an international destination". She ended up just walking out of the terminal.

Anyways, I fail to see the logic of coming after pax in situations such as this.



I wouldn't even consider it on an international flight. TSA and/or Customs scans your passport and itinerary and there is a lot more security with international. It's one thing to end up on United's radar and another to end up on theirs which would be for suspicious activity, and not because they are concerned about how much money United made or lost on your ticket.


I did ORD-NRT-SGN-NRT-DEN on an ORD-SGN RT without issue. You have to recheck your bag at the point of entry in the US anyways, so it's super easy to just walk with your checked bag in hand.
 
DDR
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:06 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
Please explain how it can cost the airline more if the ticket doesn't include a Saturday night stay?
This is all just excuses and is in no way related to the actual cost of the flight.


The Saturday night stay is there to screw business travelers. They are normally home on Saturdays so they don't get to take advantage of the cheaper fares. Pretty sure AA originated this one.
 
DDR
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:09 pm

umichman wrote:
I take the middle ground. I've done hidden city a number of times,


I guess I don't understand the return part. How do you get back home after skipping the last leg on the outbound flight?
 
afcjets
Posts: 2930
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:21 pm

bhill wrote:
TheLark wrote:
My suggestion for a fare policy avoiding hidden cities: You buy a ticket that entitles you to fly from A to B, leaving A no earlier that a specified start time and arriving at B no later than a specified arrival time. As long as these conditions are met, the airline may put you on any flight or flights they may choose, using any route they may choose. Maybe an hour or two before the specified start time you receive a text saying something like "Your flight from A to B today will be flight AB123 via X: departure time 07:35, gate D21."

The price may vary according to the interval between the earliest start and latest arrival time, with longer intervals being obviously cheaper. I think such a policy might have advantages for both airlines and customers.



This is called a MAC/ Space Available flight..... :D


It's hotwire.com and it comes with a discount. No one is going to choose uncertainty like that unless they get a discount. A lot of people choose routings not just because of the time but also they may want to avoid ORD in the winter and DFW or ATL in the summer. Some hubs are more pleasant than others, some people like to connect midway on a transcon where others might want to fly to the closest hub so they can sleep uninterrupted for as long as possible. One airport may have a better lounge than another and have better restaurants. Also, people like advanced seat assignments and no one should have to tell an a.netter that some people prefer certain aircraft types. And if you made the time parameters as tight as you suggest to not make it a total nightmare for business travellers or anyone trying to figure out what time they need to leave work or home to avoid traffic and get through TSA, there is a strong possibility there is only one flight where it would apply and you could figure out what your hidden city will be. You would never want to inconvenience 100% of your passengers by being ambiguous with time about a service which is all about saving time just to save a few dollars on the 1% or less of passengers gaming the system.
Last edited by afcjets on Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
mauro10
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:12 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:27 pm

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.

Oh, but they could have sold YYY-ZZZ to another passenger? Yes, but in this logic all no-show passengers should be "punished" regardless of connections, even the guy that got stuck in traffic and showed up late to the airport, because his seat could have been sold to another person. And this makes absolutely no sense, right?
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1226
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:27 pm

DDR wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Please explain how it can cost the airline more if the ticket doesn't include a Saturday night stay?
This is all just excuses and is in no way related to the actual cost of the flight.


The Saturday night stay is there to screw business travelers. They are normally home on Saturdays so they don't get to take advantage of the cheaper fares. Pretty sure AA originated this one.

I understand that. Still doesn't cost the airline more, so they can't complain when people find ways to play the system.
 
77H
Posts: 1461
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:42 pm

UpNAWAy wrote:
Amazing how many A.netter still don't understand a Market is point A to B only and that is a Unique market. Each one is a Unique and is priced according by passenger demand. If you don't notice this is an extremely price sensitive business. All produced at the store is not priced the same Avocados cost more than Apples just as Non Stop Market may cost more than a connection. They are completely different species so to speak.


I’ll assume you’re talking about posters who are making statements similar to mine. It’s not that I don’t understand that SFO/OAK/SJC or EWR/JFK/LGA are separate markets. I’ve flown over 500K miles in the last 4 years...

What I am pointing out is that people who are saying that UA, or any other airline is finding themselves in this position due to their pricing, which is nothing more than an advanced supply and demand algorithm, while asserting that in many cases UA is the only option for these people are mis-representing the situation.

Consider the people who are most likely to engage in hidden city ticketing schemes. They are people chasing absolute lowest fare. People on A.Net often remark how people chasing low fares are often more willing to fly out of a different airport even if it means a multiple hr drive. This assertion is plainly stating that people will sacrifice convenience for price. Posters also talk about metro areas with multiple airports as a singular markets all the time. Posters here are constantly talking about how UA has the least expansive domestic network.

So which is it? Are multi airport markets only such when it fits what you’re arguing ? Does UA only have the smallest domestic coverage when it fits the narrative? How about travelers being willing to sacrifice convenience for price? Is that all situational deoendung on your argument at the moment? If we consider all the above, the assertions many have made in this thread, run counter to assertions I see every day.

And for the people talking about the small backwater stations UA onlys serves from Hub X or Hub Y, please consider that the network airlines primarily route over hubs, not line stations. So hidden city ticketing is less, or completely ineffective here. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say I want to go from SFO-MSN, a route only UA serves. We’ll assume the nonstop is high fare. So the potential passenger looks at other routings that will get them to MSN. So they check SFO-ORD/DTW/CLE/PHL/EWR, etc. Well news flash, the likelihood UA routes someone over MSN to any beyond city is next to 0. Game over, thanks for playing. Hidden city ticketing isn’t about getting to unique markets only served by one carrier. It’s about getting on trunk-route markets cheaper by booking to one of those unique stations and dropping the last leg. The whole point is that the last leg is going to be dropped. Unique markets only served by one airline are almost always final destinations under normal circumstances.

@MIA @AFCJETS Give me one clear example of how you can use hidden city ticketing on UA to get to ANY of the airports you rattled off using the normal booking processes your average traveler would use. I’ll wait. If you can, I’ll gladly eat crow and tell you I was wrong.

77H
 
Yossarian22
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:25 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:13 am

afcjets wrote:
bhill wrote:
TheLark wrote:
My suggestion for a fare policy avoiding hidden cities: You buy a ticket that entitles you to fly from A to B, leaving A no earlier that a specified start time and arriving at B no later than a specified arrival time. As long as these conditions are met, the airline may put you on any flight or flights they may choose, using any route they may choose. Maybe an hour or two before the specified start time you receive a text saying something like "Your flight from A to B today will be flight AB123 via X: departure time 07:35, gate D21."

The price may vary according to the interval between the earliest start and latest arrival time, with longer intervals being obviously cheaper. I think such a policy might have advantages for both airlines and customers.



This is called a MAC/ Space Available flight..... :D


It's hotwire.com and it comes with a discount. No one is going to choose uncertainty like that unless they get a discount. A lot of people choose routings not just because of the time but also they may want to avoid ORD in the winter and DFW or ATL in the summer. Some hubs are more pleasant than others, some people like to connect midway on a transcon where others might want to fly to the closest hub so they can sleep uninterrupted for as long as possible. One airport may have a better lounge than another and have better restaurants. Also, people like advanced seat assignments and no one should have to tell an a.netter that some people prefer certain aircraft types. And if you made the time parameters as tight as you suggest to not make it a total nightmare for business travellers or anyone trying to figure out what time they need to leave work or home to avoid traffic and get through TSA, there is a strong possibility there is only one flight where it would apply and you could figure out what your hidden city will be. You would never want to inconvenience 100% of your passengers by being ambiguous with time about a service which is all about saving time just to save a few dollars on the 1% or less of passengers gaming the system.


Yeah, it is pretty amazing that some people want to give up all their rights as a traveller to simply make things a tiny bit easier for the airlines.

Again, I’d like to know how much money United is losing right now because of hidden city bookings.
 
User avatar
Phosphorus
Posts: 621
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 11:38 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:45 am

Yossarian22 wrote:
...

Again, I’d like to know how much money United is losing right now because of hidden city bookings.


None. Actual losses are actually zero.

Now, in the ephemeral world of "projected revenue, if not for those bargain-hunting pesky customers", probably there is theoretically un-accrued revenue, that airlines believe is theirs, but customers "withheld" it from them, shopping for lower fares in whatever way they see fit.
In this ephemeral world, "hidden-city" and "back-to-back" are firmly at the top of the list of culprits for airlines not making enough money.

In real world, yes, Joe Brancatelli's Diet Coke analogy still holds -- you can throw away your unfinished Coke bottle (that you bought cheaper than a smaller one), and Coke police will not chase you to finish the bottle.
http://joe.biztravelife.com/97/090897.htm
This gem is over 20 years old, and this entire thread is the same old rehash of the same old tropes -- airline apologists still insist that airlines' convoluted pricing algorithms are a Holy Scripture, and don't you dare try to find a hole or inconsistency -- or the hell of canceled FF privileges and punishment of extra costs will be upon you. And consumers are looking at all of it in disbelief, trying to figure out -- what's wrong with throwing a half-finished Coke bottle.
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MartijnNL
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:28 am

RDUDDJI wrote:
No offense, but you really don't understand market pricing. Cost + pricing is silly in most industries. Let's say a widget cost me $12.

What is a widget?
 
bennett123
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:05 am

Offloaded

Surely the practice of hiding things in the small print is half of the problem.

Doubt that the courts would accept this approach, which could open up a new can of worms.
 
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TheLark
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:53 am

afcjets wrote:
bhill wrote:
TheLark wrote:
My suggestion for a fare policy avoiding hidden cities: You buy a ticket that entitles you to fly from A to B, leaving A no earlier that a specified start time and arriving at B no later than a specified arrival time. As long as these conditions are met, the airline may put you on any flight or flights they may choose, using any route they may choose. Maybe an hour or two before the specified start time you receive a text saying something like "Your flight from A to B today will be flight AB123 via X: departure time 07:35, gate D21."

The price may vary according to the interval between the earliest start and latest arrival time, with longer intervals being obviously cheaper. I think such a policy might have advantages for both airlines and customers.



This is called a MAC/ Space Available flight..... :D


It's hotwire.com and it comes with a discount. No one is going to choose uncertainty like that unless they get a discount. A lot of people choose routings not just because of the time but also they may want to avoid ORD in the winter and DFW or ATL in the summer. Some hubs are more pleasant than others, some people like to connect midway on a transcon where others might want to fly to the closest hub so they can sleep uninterrupted for as long as possible. One airport may have a better lounge than another and have better restaurants. Also, people like advanced seat assignments and no one should have to tell an a.netter that some people prefer certain aircraft types. And if you made the time parameters as tight as you suggest to not make it a total nightmare for business travellers or anyone trying to figure out what time they need to leave work or home to avoid traffic and get through TSA, there is a strong possibility there is only one flight where it would apply and you could figure out what your hidden city will be. You would never want to inconvenience 100% of your passengers by being ambiguous with time about a service which is all about saving time just to save a few dollars on the 1% or less of passengers gaming the system.


I'm pretty sure the vast majority of travellers don't care about hubs, lounges, restaurants, aircraft types etc. They want to get from A to B as cheaply and conveniently as possible, as shown by the success of LCCs. Many will be glad if the airlines figure out how to get them from A to B within a well-defined time frame and price, rather than picking their flight themselves from a web page with erratic and ever-changing pricing. I'm not claiming this is a solution for everyone, but for most. Also, defeating hidden city travellers is just a collateral effect, not the main reason why I think this is a good idea for airlines and passengers alike.
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afcjets
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:06 am

TheLark wrote:
afcjets wrote:
bhill wrote:


This is called a MAC/ Space Available flight..... :D


It's hotwire.com and it comes with a discount. No one is going to choose uncertainty like that unless they get a discount. A lot of people choose routings not just because of the time but also they may want to avoid ORD in the winter and DFW or ATL in the summer. Some hubs are more pleasant than others, some people like to connect midway on a transcon where others might want to fly to the closest hub so they can sleep uninterrupted for as long as possible. One airport may have a better lounge than another and have better restaurants. Also, people like advanced seat assignments and no one should have to tell an a.netter that some people prefer certain aircraft types. And if you made the time parameters as tight as you suggest to not make it a total nightmare for business travellers or anyone trying to figure out what time they need to leave work or home to avoid traffic and get through TSA, there is a strong possibility there is only one flight where it would apply and you could figure out what your hidden city will be. You would never want to inconvenience 100% of your passengers by being ambiguous with time about a service which is all about saving time just to save a few dollars on the 1% or less of passengers gaming the system.


I'm pretty sure the vast majority of travellers don't care about hubs, lounges, restaurants, aircraft types etc. They want to get from A to B as cheaply and conveniently as possible, as shown by the success of LCCs. Many will be glad if the airlines figure out how to get them from A to B within a well-defined time frame and price, rather than picking their flight themselves from a web page with erratic and ever-changing pricing. I'm not claiming this is a solution for everyone, but for most. Also, defeating hidden city travellers is just a collateral effect, not the main reason why I think this is a good idea for airlines and passengers alike.


This would cause far more problems for the airline than the passenger.
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:15 pm

tlecam wrote:
What’s interesting to me about the whole thing is that I don’t think that the airlines or the general public really wants the current demand based pricing model to change. Carriers could very well lose in court, but if they do and are forced to use a different pricing model that doesn’t enable hidden ticket pricing, airfares will go up.


Says who? Perhaps they will or perhaps they won't or perhaps econ 101 goes into effect:
Airfares go up
Demand falls
Airfare comes back down. and on and on it goes...
 
Austin787
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:25 pm

Let's say I book XXX-IAH-AUS. I arrive IAH and find out due to weather/mechanical/etc my IAH-AUS flight won't depart until 7 hours later. I'd probably rent a car and drive, arriving AUS before IAH-AUS departs. I sure hope UA won't accuse me of hidden city ticketing.
 
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tlecam
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:58 pm

AEROFAN wrote:
tlecam wrote:
What’s interesting to me about the whole thing is that I don’t think that the airlines or the general public really wants the current demand based pricing model to change. Carriers could very well lose in court, but if they do and are forced to use a different pricing model that doesn’t enable hidden ticket pricing, airfares will go up.


Says who? Perhaps they will or perhaps they won't or perhaps econ 101 goes into effect:
Airfares go up
Demand falls
Airfare comes back down. and on and on it goes...


I agree with you, but I think the “demand goes down” part is what the general public wouldn’t want.

Also, there could be more routes that are no longer profitable under the new pricing structure.
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AEROFAN
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:32 pm

tlecam wrote:
AEROFAN wrote:
tlecam wrote:
What’s interesting to me about the whole thing is that I don’t think that the airlines or the general public really wants the current demand based pricing model to change. Carriers could very well lose in court, but if they do and are forced to use a different pricing model that doesn’t enable hidden ticket pricing, airfares will go up.


Says who? Perhaps they will or perhaps they won't or perhaps econ 101 goes into effect:
Airfares go up
Demand falls
Airfare comes back down. and on and on it goes...


I agree with you, but I think the “demand goes down” part is what the general public wouldn’t want.

Also, there could be more routes that are no longer profitable under the new pricing structure.


Why wouldn't the general public not want it, given that he general public is the one creating it? If certain routes become unprofitable to a carrier, then it should leave and let someone or something else fill the void.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:18 pm

tlecam wrote:
What’s interesting to me about the whole thing is that I don’t think that the airlines or the general public really wants the current demand based pricing model to change. Carriers could very well lose in court, but if they do and are forced to use a different pricing model that doesn’t enable hidden ticket pricing, airfares will go up.


Airfares on connecting flights would indeed go up, however to compensate for that fares on direct flights would come down so that's a good thing.

Example: Airline A has a direct flight AAA-CCC. Airline B doesn't, but does offer a connecting flight AAA-BBB-CCC. Until now, airline B matched the fare of that connecting flight AAA-BBB-CCC to that of the fare of airline A on the direct flight AAA-CCC. This would mean that passengers traveling AAA-BBB-CCC on airline B pay less than passengers just flying AAA-BBB. In the new situation, that would no longer be allowed. This would mean the price of AAA-BBB-CCC would have to come up, encouraging passengers to fly airline A on the direct AAA-CCC flight.

From an environmental point of view, this is good news. After all, if you travel AAA-BBB-CCC you pollute more than if you travel straight AAA-CCC. If the government would be looking at it from that point of view, they could issue a connect tax. For every passenger that buys a connecting flight through a hub, airlines have to pay a certain amount of tax. This tax is then used to give passengers who book a non-connecting flight a discount on their ticket.
 
SL1200MK2
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:32 pm

I guess at this point I’m left curious as to why some find the practice offensive. Many things exist in grey areas, and I’ve never understood why someone finding a loophole is so offensive.
 
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Revelation
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:08 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
You know, LAXintl, you assert that, but contract terms are found unenforceable by U.S. and state courts every day. The fact that a term is in the contract doesn't, itself, mean it's enforceable. That's why I'd LOVE to see this go to court (and UA lose) - even better than an FTC ruling (which carriers would surely try to have struck down), a court victory would confirm to millions of consumers that prohibitions against hidden-city use are nonsense. Then the cat would most emphatically be out of the bag for every itinerary starting or ending in the U.S.

I too look forward to seeing this play out in the US Court system, if it ever does. I don't really care which way they find (it doesn't directly affect me), but it would be interesting to see a court ruling on it one way or the other.

Since this has been going on for decades and costs the airlines $$$$$ (according to this thread), why don't the airlines do what corporations do and hire some lobbyists (a.k.a. K Street Bandits) to craft a law that explicitly supersedes previous laws and gives the airlines the right to collect the amount they would have gotten if the customer had booked the nonstop at the same point in time when they booked the hidden city itinerary?

Paying lobbyists seems to be a lot better idea than hoping courts find in your favor, IMO.

PS: FTC? Didn't know they were still in existence. Haven't heard of them or anything they've done in years if not decades. It would not surprise me one bit if all their employees quit and became corporate lobbyists.
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afcjets
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:27 pm

Revelation wrote:
Since this has been going on for decades and costs the airlines $$$$$ (according to this thread), why don't the airlines do what corporations do and hire some lobbyists (a.k.a. K Street Bandits) to craft a law that explicitly supersedes previous laws and gives the airlines the right to collect the amount they would have gotten if the customer had booked the nonstop at the same point in time when they booked the hidden city itinerary?


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. No corporation can charge you for exercising your free will. If for whatever reason you decide once you land in DEN, you don't want to continue onto your final destination, you have that right. Whether you get sick in DEN, have a bad premonition about your connecting flight, decide on a whim you would rather vacation in Denver instead, or if the hot girl on your flight lives in Denver and invites you back to her place, it's irrelevant. United can only charge you for transportation and whatever else they're selling onboard, they cannot hold you for ransom in their hub and insist you fly to your final destination if you don't pay up.
 
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Revelation
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:56 pm

afcjets wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Since this has been going on for decades and costs the airlines $$$$$ (according to this thread), why don't the airlines do what corporations do and hire some lobbyists (a.k.a. K Street Bandits) to craft a law that explicitly supersedes previous laws and gives the airlines the right to collect the amount they would have gotten if the customer had booked the nonstop at the same point in time when they booked the hidden city itinerary?

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.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
Bricktop
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:40 pm

MartijnNL wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
No offense, but you really don't understand market pricing. Cost + pricing is silly in most industries. Let's say a widget cost me $12.

What is a widget?

A widget is a fictional product used in hypothetical examples. For example, I remember it from my economics classes where we were looking at (ironically) marginal cost vs marginal revenue for a manufacturer. Rather than saying something specific like cars, can openers or chairs, the teacher used "widgets". It's a well known term in the US.
 
MartijnNL
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:48 pm

Aha, thanks. I learned something.
 
Bricktop
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:54 pm

Revelation wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Since this has been going on for decades and costs the airlines $$$$$ (according to this thread), why don't the airlines do what corporations do and hire some lobbyists (a.k.a. K Street Bandits) to craft a law that explicitly supersedes previous laws and gives the airlines the right to collect the amount they would have gotten if the customer had booked the nonstop at the same point in time when they booked the hidden city itinerary?

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.
 
77H
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:28 pm

ScottB wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
Then like I said, the airline potentially loses the chance to sell the YYY-ZZZ seat that the cust never intended to use.


This is immaterial because the customer already paid for that seat. If the airline thought they could maximize revenue by selling XXX-YYY and YYY-ZZZ separately, then it's the job of revenue management to make that happen. If I purchase concert tickets in Chicago and Milwaukee but decide not to show up for the show in Milwaukee, are the artist/promoters being denied the opportunity to sell my seat in Milwaukee? Nope, that seat was bought and paid for.

UpNAWAy wrote:
Each one is a Unique and is priced according by passenger demand. If you don't notice this is an extremely price sensitive business. All produced at the store is not priced the same Avocados cost more than Apples just as Non Stop Market may cost more than a connection.


Except that while the airlines are selling travel from point A to point B, they identify a set of discrete components to that travel. So the better analogy is selling a ham sandwich and charging more for that than a ham-and-cheese sandwich made with the same bread, same condiments, and same quantity of ham.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
What’s wrong with your analysis is that it is NOT cheaper to operate the non-stop. It’s more expensive, as a system, because they operate a hub to make more city-pairs available to the public and the non-stop doesn’t contribute to the hub operation. Yes, the individual flight is cheaper, but the overall system loses revenue and the public would eventually lose city-pair choices.


The non-stop is absolutely cheaper to operate. The airline spends less money to operate one flight than two. You are conflating revenue with expenses and they are very different things. Airlines don't operate hubs just to maximize the number of available city-pairs they can offer. They also operate hubs in order to extract the greatest amount of revenue from people beginning or ending their journeys at the hub airport.

PatrickZ80 wrote:
I'd more likely compare it to a customer walking into a store for a 1 liter bottle of cola. They have them, but they also have a 2 liter bottle on sale for actually less than the price of a 1 liter bottle. But the customer only needs 1 liter, not 2. So the customer buys that 2 liter bottle, drinks half of it and throws away the rest.


I experienced something very similar at the supermarket last month. I was in the soft drink aisle and two-liter bottles of brand C cola were $1.89 each or five for $5.00 -- but only if you bought five. Two women who walked up were only planning to buy two and I mentioned to them that if they bought three more they'd essentially be getting those three for a little over a buck.

Point being: if I only wanted three bottles and gave the other two away or chucked them in the trash or poured the contents down the drain, would I be "stealing" from the supermarket because I paid only $5 instead of $5.67? No, the idea is absolutely ludicrous. It's not theft. It's breaking what is very likely an unenforceable clause of a contract of adhesion.

alasizon wrote:
The portion I quoted (that you conveniently deleted) explicitly states that stopovers are not permitted. As they define it, an intentional interruption (such as not getting on the downline flight) is forbidden. Just because they don't use the words "hidden city" doesn't mean they allow it.

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.


Page 8 of the Contract of Carriage.


No, you are confusing the idea of a stopover with a hidden city. What Southwest is saying in its CoC is just that they will not sell you something like BWI-MDW and MDW-OAK (with a stopover of more than four hours at MDW) as part of a one-way or round-trip BWI-OAK fare. You'd have to book it as multiple one-way tickets.


You give an example of buying tickets to concerts in MKE and CHI to prove why you believe the YYY-ZZZ leg is inconsequential in your XXX-YYY-ZZZ model. What you seem to forget is the temporal aspect in both situations. 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.

Let’s assume you bought MKE ticket at time X and then found out a better concert was occurring in CHI. You subsequently purchase CHI tickets at time Y. Concert tickets, like airline tickets are priced based on inventory availability at time of purchase (with airline tickets also accounting for historical demand). Concerts often have “early bird” pricing (price W) and usually step up pricing in tranches over time (price X,Y) through to “at the door” pricing (price Z). Here inlies the problem. You purchased a concert ticket in MKE in advance, priced somewhere between price points W/X/Y. You assume the performer is happy that they got paid by assuming no one would have purchased an “at the door” ticket at price Z.

Going back to your XXX-ZZZ via YYY, where YYY is the true intended destination example. You assume that because the airline was paid by the passenger for the entire journey, they should be satisfied even if you don’t fly the second leg. But 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. Conversely, once you buy a ticket, inventory based pricing algorithms often increase the pricing for remaining seats (usually within tranches, like concerts). Your argument also fails to account for customer C that may have booked YYY-ZZZ at price S, at time J but because your reservation lowered inventory, the ticket is now priced at T, which is too much, so passenger C doesn’t book on that airline.

So you’re right, to a point, that MKE performer is happy they were paid.. But what if they found out they could have made more money? Not so happy.

In my opinion, any argument on the detriments of hidden city ticketing is less about actual revenue loss and more about lost revenue opportunity. The argument considers the possibility they could have made more money. While I can see arguments that opportunty costs like these examples are a part of doing business, I would argue that hidden city ticketing is not about opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is selling a ticket from XXX-ZZZ at price R when you could have waited and possibly sold it at price S. If you show up for your flight, your business is the opportunity cost. Hidden city ticketing deprives the airline of the opportunity to sell the seat at a higher price because you booked and paid price R for a service you didn’t intend to use, that had they known, they could, and maybe would have sold at price S. To compound the issue, they could have gotten a higher price on both legs.

Bottom line is, Airlines don’t operate any differently than many service based industries where their service is priced based on inventory. It’s possible to game hotels in much the same way theoretically. Let’s say you intend to stay at a hotel from Friday to Sunday. If the hotel is in a leisure market, they know they can charge a premium on those days understanding people are likely to be staying over the weekend. Those days are priced at X/day. You expand your search and realize that if you book a check in on Thursday the price actually drops to Y/day. In some cases price Y/day is such that it is cheaper overall to buy the extra day.

This happens because historical data, and current inventory suggests that Thursday is a low demand day. The pricing algorithm issues a discount on the other days in order to fill the room on the low demand day, that would have gotten $0 revenue otherwise. But, if you don’t show up the day of check in, your entire reservation will be canceled. Making the argument that you paid for the room so it shouldn’t matter if it’s unoccupied will fall on deaf ears.

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jetmatt777
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:36 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.


You were on a non-refundable ticket and your daughter did not check in for her flight, why should the airline keep the seat open? Why are you upset? If you reserve an item at Home Depot, and don’t come to pick it up when you agreed, they put it back on the shelf and someone else can buy it. How long should Home Depot hold that item from their inventory when you didn’t pick it up at the agreed upon time?
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
bob75013
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:48 pm

DDR wrote:
umichman wrote:
I take the middle ground. I've done hidden city a number of times,


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



By buying two one way tickets
 
Cubsrule
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:54 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
Bricktop wrote:
Revelation wrote:
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.


You were on a non-refundable ticket and your daughter did not check in for her flight, why should the airline keep the seat open? Why are you upset? If you reserve an item at Home Depot, and don’t come to pick it up when you agreed, they put it back on the shelf and someone else can buy it. How long should Home Depot hold that item from their inventory when you didn’t pick it up at the agreed upon time?


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?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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AirKevin
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Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:26 pm

MartijnNL wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
No offense, but you really don't understand market pricing. Cost + pricing is silly in most industries. Let's say a widget cost me $12.

What is a widget?

Delta logo? :duck:
Captain Kevin
 
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Posts: 1461
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:35 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.


Are you sure the airline sold the ticket? It’s possible it was a non-rev stand by. In which case, the argument could be made that the airline could have made more money had you told them your daughter wasn’t going to be traveling.

I get the frustration but I think it’s misguided. After all, you voluntarily agreed to purchase a non-refundable ticket for price A at time X. Life happens and it turns out you ended up buying a ticket you didn’t need.

Behind the scenes, the 3 seats you purchased at price A influenced the pricing for all remaining seats. Consider for a moment the possibility there was another traveler that was looking to fly to SFO that weekend and could only afford price A. Well, you buying 3 seats at price A caused the remaining seats to jump to price B. That traveler forgoes their travel plans or books on another carrier, maybe at an inconvenience to them. At the same time your daughter’s seat, reserved at price A would have jumped up to price B/C/D and so on closer to departure if not already reserved. The airline could have sold that seat to a traveler willing to pay at those price points had they known it was not going to be used.

Instead of calling the airline to advise them it wasn’t going to be used, you figured that if you paid for it, it would give you a open middle seat, small consolation. Since your plan was to maintain an open middle seat, it’s safe to assume that you went through the motions to check your daughter in online and obtained a boarding pass giving the impression she was traveling. By doing this, the seat would have appeared to be reserved up until moments before the flight closed. Since her boarding pass wasn’t scanned at the gate the seat map would show her seat as reserved but unoccupied. At that time, any standby passengers would be assigned the remaining open seats. Provided you checked her in, it’s highly unlikely the airline made money on it. Your row mate was likely a standby. If you didn’t check her in, there is a possibility someone bought the seat at walk up fares.

While I completely understand your rational and sentiment in the stated example, I think it’s correct to say that you purposefully withheld the fact that your daughter was no longer traveling, from the airline in an effort to remediate your financial loss on the purchased but unneeded ticket, where-in the prospect of an open middle seat was viewed as compensation, or rather consolation. However, the ticket you agreed to purchase was non-refundable. So the argument that “you paid for it so you’re entitled to it” can actually be used in reverse. You bought a non-refundable ticket, that unused, prompted you to take deliberate steps to exact some sort of compensation, despite the non-refundable ticket entitling you to no compensation, or consolation, depending on how one views the open middle seat. You asserting that it was wrong to fill the seat you paid for with another person when your intent, absent your daughter’s transport was to have an open seat between you and your wife, opens the door for assertion that you attempted to exact compensation/consolation despite being entitled to neither.

Furthermore, the ticket you purchased was for the transportation of your daughter between EWR and SFO, full stop. Her ticket allowed her to pick accommodation in a specific part of the aircraft for the duration of transport. Despite you purchasing it, it was not your ticket and therefore, not your seat, but rather your daughter’s, who declined to use the service provided for by the ticket. Once evident to the airline that your daughter did intend to use the service, her ticket and the accommodation provided by it were then forfeited back to the service provider, with no compensation provided to the purchaser.

Consider that if you bought your daughter a car and put the title and registration in her name, you no longer hold any claim over the car, despite paying for it. Same principle applies with the ticket.

P.S. I am not an airline apologist, I’m just looking at the situation from a neutral perspective. I empathize with your rational and sentiments, but I’m also considering the other side. You will see up thread, my first post was actually in opposition to airlines, in this case UA, targeting customers engaging in hidden city ticketing schemes. I think it’s a guaranteed future PR fiasco. That said, I can understand the reasoning behind their consideration without agreeing with their methods.

77H
 
bennett123
Posts: 8947
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:49 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:59 pm

All these arguments only really work IF someone turns up at the last minute. Whereas, if that doesn’t happen then the airline loses nothing. However, the plane is lighter and uses less fuel.

They also ‘overbook’. If you miss the flight do you get your money back or a seat on the next flight. I suspect that they will charge you the full fare.
 
jetmatt777
Posts: 3929
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:03 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Bricktop wrote:
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.


You were on a non-refundable ticket and your daughter did not check in for her flight, why should the airline keep the seat open? Why are you upset? If you reserve an item at Home Depot, and don’t come to pick it up when you agreed, they put it back on the shelf and someone else can buy it. How long should Home Depot hold that item from their inventory when you didn’t pick it up at the agreed upon time?


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?
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
ScottB
Posts: 6646
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:56 am

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.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 14003
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:25 am

jetmatt777 wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:

You were on a non-refundable ticket and your daughter did not check in for her flight, why should the airline keep the seat open? Why are you upset? If you reserve an item at Home Depot, and don’t come to pick it up when you agreed, they put it back on the shelf and someone else can buy it. How long should Home Depot hold that item from their inventory when you didn’t pick it up at the agreed upon time?


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?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Gulfstream500
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:30 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:06 am

DDR wrote:
umichman wrote:
I take the middle ground. I've done hidden city a number of times,


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.
Thinking of a good signature is hard...
 
Gulfstream500
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:30 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:11 am

Double post
Thinking of a good signature is hard...
 
afcjets
Posts: 2930
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:45 pm

Revelation wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Since this has been going on for decades and costs the airlines $$$$$ (according to this thread), why don't the airlines do what corporations do and hire some lobbyists (a.k.a. K Street Bandits) to craft a law that explicitly supersedes previous laws and gives the airlines the right to collect the amount they would have gotten if the customer had booked the nonstop at the same point in time when they booked the hidden city itinerary?

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.



United determines the airfare and routing and the passengers decides whether or not it works for them when they purchase their ticket.

Having the right to walk out of a building and the right to fly a commercial jet with more than 50 seats with passengers from LUV outside of TX and bordering states are not the same thing. IMO hidden city will never banned, illegal, or subject to paying the fare difference if you no show on your remaining segment(s)
 
DDR
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:54 pm

Gulfstream500 wrote:
DDR wrote:
umichman wrote:
I take the middle ground. I've done hidden city a number of times,


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.
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