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atlaaron
Topic Author
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Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:48 pm

Ok so I was doing some fare shopping today and was wondering if this was "legal"?

Say I want to travel from PIT-ATL and the fare is $500

However, if I do a search for PIT-ATL-CLT the fare is $250

Can I buy the second itinerary and just not complete the second portion of it?
 
KevinSmith
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Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:51 pm

As long as you aren't going round trip. Just make sure you are all carry on. My family did something similar when picking up a vehicle..
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
Norcal773
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Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:51 pm

Of course it is. I've done it before SMF-SFO where a one way was $380 and a return was $290.
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
iad51fl
Posts: 192
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Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:52 pm

Its called "Hidden City" fares.....You can get off in ATL, but dont check baggage. The airline is supposed to check your baggage to your final destination, so your bags would go to CLT, then you have to file a courtesy claim and come back to claim the bags.

Also some airlines will cancel the return trip if you no show on the connecting leg.

Chris
Enjoying the view of KIAH approach end of 27. 29.980548, -95.271201
 
AirTranTUS
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Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:03 pm

For one way it is legal, but for round trip no. If you want to fly PIT-ATL round trip but buy PIT-ATL-CLT round trip and fly only PIT-ATL, the rest of your trip will be canceled and you will have to buy a walk-up ATL-PIT fare.
I love ASO!
 
lincoln
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:51 pm

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 4):
For one way it is legal, but for round trip no. If you want to fly PIT-ATL round trip but buy PIT-ATL-CLT round trip and fly only PIT-ATL, the rest of your trip will be canceled and you will have to buy a walk-up ATL-PIT fare.

I suppose it depends on your definition of "legai"  Wink

Every (legacy) airline prohibits certain ticketing practices in their contract of carriage, a contract which you agree to be bound by when you purchase your ticket. These generally include point beyond, hidden cities, back-to-back, and throwaway ticketing. So no it's not legal, but as others have pointed out, if it's a one way trip there's little risk (if it is roundtrip, most airlines have processes that will automatically cancel the return flight without any human intervention).

It's certainly not something I would feel comfortable doing becacuse you are violating an agreement that you entered in to, but hey, I also got caught cheating on a spelling test in 1st grade...to each his own.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
ANother
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:13 pm

Let me ask you a similar question.

You go into the bakery and see a fresh loaf of bread for sale for $2. Boy that smells nice, you think. But I don't want to spend $2 - way too much, a real rip off!

On the other counter is a bunch of day-old loaves. Been picked over, and getting a little stale. But only $1.

Gee, you think, I really like the $2 product that the baker is offering, but I don't like the price.I really like the price of the day old product, but I don't like the product.

 idea  I'll just switch the price tags! I'll take this $1 tag, put it on this $2 loaf and head off to the cashier!

Now - what would be the likely result if the baker caught you doing this?

The airline has a price for every product that they offer. They do not give you permission to 'switch the price tags' if you don't like the price. You may not like the price, and think it may be stupid that the price to a more distant point is cheaper. Your opinion of their pricing is actually irrelevant, you cannot change the price without their consent.
 
jetjeanes
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:35 pm

ive saved as much as a thousand dollars on a flight and walked off the plane in memphis with my carry on. They cant legally hold you on board.. they dont look at tickets anyway
i can see for 80 miles
 
Pyrex
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:03 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 5):



Quoting ANother (Reply 6):

It really amazes me people getting so offended when someone tries to turn the tables on airlines, who basically make a living out of trying to screw passengers as much as they can.

ATLAaron, don't listen to them, just go ahead and do it. If it violates the terms of the "contract of carriage" tough luck, airlines do it routinely anyway. Just be careful (don't check your bags, make sure it is a one-way, etc.).
Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
 
ANother
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:33 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):

It really amazes me people getting so offended when someone tries to turn the tables on airlines, who basically make a living out of trying to screw passengers as much as they can.

ATLAaron, don't listen to them, just go ahead and do it. If it violates the terms of the "contract of carriage" tough luck, airlines do it routinely anyway. Just be careful (don't check your bags, make sure it is a one-way, etc.).

Your problem is with the way the airline prices its products - I agree that there are many examples of 'stupid' pricing. I think your view that the airlines 'make a living out of trying to screw passengers as much as they can' is a little over-the-top.

You are suggesting that it's OK to steal from an airline, but not OK if it's a baker. Why the distinction? Isn't the baker trying to maximise it's profits too?
 
DH106
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:58 pm

Quoting ANother (Reply 6):
You go into the bakery and see a fresh loaf of bread for sale for $2. Boy that smells nice, you think. But I don't want to spend $2 - way too much, a real rip off!

Not a good example really - the issue with the airline is that one product is a subset of another. This is a reasonable arguement since the same flights are used for the first leg - regardless of whether the flyer is booked on the 2nd leg.

A better example would be: One fresh loaf for $2, but the baker offers TWO fresh loaves for $1. But you only need ONE loaf - you can't eat two. So - do you buy two for $1 and trash one of them?

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 5):
Every (legacy) airline prohibits certain ticketing practices in their contract of carriage, a contract which you agree to be bound by when you purchase your ticket.

So does the small print actually stipulate that you MUST travel? Aren't you just effectively 'buying' the seat?
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
ANother
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:19 pm

Quoting DH106 (Reply 10):
Not a good example really - the issue with the airline is that one product is a subset of another. This is a reasonable arguement since the same flights are used for the first leg - regardless of whether the flyer is booked on the 2nd leg.

Sorry don't agree. In the example given product #1 is PIT-ATL and product #2 is PIT-ATL-CLT. It is even possible that in this market there is a product #3 PIT-CLT non-stop (or via another connecting city). The airline has a price for each of these products - right? The prices are for fresh bread (PIT-ATL) $2 and day-old bread (PIT-ATL-CLT) $1.

These prices are established based on the demand for the final product i.e. that you get what you are paying for, not for something else. To you, it may not make sense, or may not appear to be fair - but that really is besides the point. The airline has a price for PIT-ATL and for you to attempt to obtain that product for a different price than the airline has established for it, is no different that switching price tags. It is also being done without the explicit agreement of the airline.

More simply it is stealing.
 
Pyrex
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:24 pm

Quoting ANother (Reply 11):

More simply it is stealing.

Define over-booking, then. They are efectivelly selling something they do not own (a seat that belongs to YOU). Is that not stealing as well?
Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
 
VH-KCT*
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:48 pm

I say take the precautions suggested by others and go for it!

The airline has the cheek to sell you a ticket but not guarantee that it hasn't already sold more tickets than it has seats - it's not stealing on your part, it's being pragmatic.

And here's a better situation that actually resembles this practice, still using ANother's bakery story: A baker is selling 1 loaf for $2 and 2 loaves for $1. Attached to the 2 loaves is a note that it is a condition of purchase that you must eat both loaves in one sitting. You look at this and wonder why on earth he would do this and realise it's because nobody wants 2 loaves - you can't eat them both in one sitting without making yourself sick. This is obviously extortion but another person in front of you in the queue (let's just call him another) likes to follow the rules and buys one loaf for the ripoff price of $2.

You, on the other hand, see that the baker is really cashing in here so you decide to buy 2 loaves for the reasonable price of $1. You then take them home and only eat one loaf, returning the other loaf to the baker in an unmarked paper bag so that he can then onsell it to another client whom had made a phone order and already payed for a loaf that the baker didn't have, but instead was hoping that another phone order who had also been charged for the loaf wouldn't turn up to collect it.

The baker hires a private investigator who discovers that you didn't eat your second loaf in the one sitting. The baker is unhappy but you say that you fell ill after the first loaf and couldn't physically eat the second. The baker tells you not to do it again and that's the end of it - he's making plenty of money from extorting other people.
I am The Stig
 
georgiaame
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:00 pm

It is perfectly "legal" to do in the sense of State or Federal law. It is prohibited by the airlines. And the practice will continue to thrive as long as there are passengers like you (and me, of course), who learn of this little trick, can live with the baggage limitations, and the airlines insist on applying Byzantine rules to their pricing structures. As for round trips, you can probably find a second airline to use for your return leg. OBTW: it usually works in both economy and first, and internationally.
"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
 
DH106
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:04 pm

Quoting ANother (Reply 11):
Sorry don't agree. In the example given product #1 is PIT-ATL and product #2 is PIT-ATL-CLT. It is even possible that in this market there is a product #3 PIT-CLT non-stop (or via another connecting city). The airline has a price for each of these products - right? The prices are for fresh bread (PIT-ATL) $2 and day-old bread (PIT-ATL-CLT) $1.

Well, you're entitled to your opinon. I prefer to champion consumer rights rather than airline opportunism.

That kind of control in any other walk of consumer life would be laughed at. Imagine walking into a store and buying a discounted bundle of products because you needed one item, then being told you absolutely couldn't trash those items in the bundle you didn't need.
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
lincoln
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:17 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 12):
Define over-booking, then. They are efectivelly selling something they do not own (a seat that belongs to YOU). Is that not stealing as well?

No, it is not. The contract of carriage -- again a voluntary agreement between you and the airline (no one held a gun up to your head and said that you had to fly, did they?) also gives the airline the right to overbook. By accepting the contract of carriage you acknowledge that it's OK by you if the airline sells your seat a 2nd time. If that offends you, there are a few airlines (I think B6 is one of them) who do not overbook.

Quoting DH106 (Reply 10):
So does the small print actually stipulate that you MUST travel? Aren't you just effectively 'buying' the seat?

From all of the contracts I've read there is not a requirement for you begin travel, but once you start using the ticket, the terms of your agreement stipulate that you will use the ticket in a manner consistant with the contract of carriage. Also as a minor nitpick, you are never buying the seat, you are purchasing transportation from A to B via C -- most contracts of carriage also makes this clear and that you are by no means gaurnteed any particular seat on any particular aircraft.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
SwissA330
Posts: 550
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:30 pm

Quoting DH106 (Reply 15):
That kind of control in any other walk of consumer life would be laughed at. Imagine walking into a store and buying a discounted bundle of products because you needed one item, then being told you absolutely couldn't trash those items in the bundle you didn't need.

That's exactly the point... Forget about the bakery story.
If you need a new Lexmark ink cartridge and it costs 50$ and the printer -with ink cartridge- costs 45$ there's no way they can prevent you from buyng this.
Funny thing is, in certain countries (switzerland at least) you can even take out the cartridge (after you payed of course) and leave the printer & box at the store, as they are obliged to take back recycable electronic stuff etc (you actually pay a fee for this when you buy electronics).

I say: do it!
I do it whenever i can...
Airlines try to get the consumers surplus, and so do I...
swissair/+/ we care
 
monteycarlos
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:32 pm

Quoting DH106 (Reply 15):
I prefer to champion consumer rights rather than airline opportunism.

Damn straight... I'd happily bend over an airline over a matter such as this, full well in the knowledge that they happily would do so to me and almost every other fare paying passenger on a daily basis.

As for ATLAaron, my suggestion is that if you develop a sinus infection in ATL, it would be a risk to your health to fly onwards to CTL. As VH-KCT* suggested, ill health is something the airlines can't get too stroppy about.
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
MaidensGator
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:33 pm

Quoting VH-KCT* (Reply 13):
And here's a better situation that actually resembles this practice, still using ANother's bakery story:

My thought was as follows. Suppose the loaf is $2, but each slice is $1. You only want 3 of the 6 slices in the loaf. So you buy the loaf for $2, eat half of it, and throw the rest in the garbage....

Quoting ANother (Reply 11):
More simply it is stealing.

Not by any definition of larceny I've ever seen....
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
 
nycaross
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:44 pm

In my years working for Lufthansa German Airlines Rate Desk at LH's North American Headquarters in
East Meadow, Long Island, a "hidden city" was more commonly known as a "ficticious point".
Ficticious points were used on international itineraries until IATA discontinued the practice in the 1980's.
It was then that pricing extensive itineraries was no longer creative and had become cut and dry.

Ross
 
harrisair
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:59 pm

Quoting ANother (Reply 11):
More simply it is stealing.

How is it stealing? You paid the price they asked for the product, which is for a seat on two flights. That seat is yours and fully paid for, no matter if you decide to sit in it or not.

harris
 
stylo777
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:02 pm

A friend of mine is doing following thing.
He wants to to fly FRA-JFK in F/CL return. The fare out of FRA is very expensive. So everytime he purchases his tickets CAI-FRA-JFK-FRA-CAI. The CAI-FRA / FRA-CAI segments are in business and fully flexible tickets. The FRA-JFK-FRA in F/CL. Now he jumps with a seperate ticket on a plane to CAI, stay there for one day and fly the next day CAI-FRA-JFK. On the return he flies JFK-FRA only and jump of the plane at FRA. The last segment or the ticket for the last segment is fully flexible and has a validy of one year. So for the next trip - let's say again to JFK - he uses that one to pick up the plane from CAI to FRA and JFK. The difference between FRA-JFK in F/CL (purchased in Germany) and CAI-FRA-JFK in F/CL (purchased in Egypt) is so high that he is able to stay the night at the Hilton, have a very good dinner and so on.

that's is legal and I heard that a lot of people are doing this.

btw. my friend is a business man and did this more than 20x for all his international trips. nobody of LH ever told him to stop that.
after doing this several times he opened a office in Cairo  Big grin
 
ANother
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:08 pm

Not just me - have a look at what the US General Accounting office had to say: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01831.pdf
 
7LBAC111
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:08 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 12):
Define over-booking, then. They are efectivelly selling something they do not own (a seat that belongs to YOU).

Pyrex, you evidently display a very simplistic view of economics and business. As demonstrated by Lincoln below.

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 16):
By accepting the contract of carriage you acknowledge that it's OK by you if the airline sells your seat a 2nd time.

People seem to forget that airlines are businesses, and lmust protect there revenue streams. This is essentially what is happening here.

7L
Debate is what you put on de hook when you want to catch de fish.
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:25 pm

I recall stories of fares out of FNT or LAN on NWA through DTW being cheaper than direct from DTW.

DTW pax would purchase tickets for example LAN-DTW-MCO and not use the LAN-DTW portion. NWA caught on and started a policy of cancelling the entire reservation if pax didn't check in at the origin ticketed city.....
Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
airfoilsguy
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:32 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 12):
Define over-booking, then. They are efectivelly selling something they do not own (a seat that belongs to YOU). Is that not stealing as well?

No, it is not steeling, It is fraud. In the USA selling something you don't actually have is fraud.

Quoting 7LBAC111 (Reply 24):
People seem to forget that airlines are businesses, and lmust protect there revenue streams. This is essentially what is happening here.

Please explain you rational. If I have a plane that seats 100 people and I sell 105 seats on that plane that is fraud. There is no good reason for over booking except greed.
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
skoker
Posts: 279
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:53 pm

It's not illegal at all on some airlines:

From the Southwest Customer Service Comittment:

Quote:

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

http://southwest.com/about_swa/custo...t/customer_service_commitment.html

...and that's coming from a Low Cost Carrier.
 
DH106
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:58 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 16):
Also as a minor nitpick, you are never buying the seat, you are purchasing transportation from A to B via C -- most contracts of carriage also makes this clear and that you are by no means gaurnteed any particular seat on any particular aircraft.

That's why I put quotes around the word buying.
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
SwissA330
Posts: 550
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:23 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:58 pm

Quoting Stylo777 (Reply 22):
He wants to to fly FRA-JFK in F/CL return. The fare out of FRA is very expensive. So everytime he purchases his tickets CAI-FRA-JFK-FRA-CAI. The CAI-FRA / FRA-CAI segments are in business and fully flexible tickets. The FRA-JFK-FRA in F/CL. Now he jumps with a seperate ticket on a plane to CAI, stay there for one day and fly the next day CAI-FRA-JFK. On the return he flies JFK-FRA only and jump of the plane at FRA. The last segment or the ticket for the last segment is fully flexible and has a validy of one year. So for the next trip - let's say again to JFK - he uses that one to pick up the plane from CAI to FRA and JFK. The difference between FRA-JFK in F/CL (purchased in Germany) and CAI-FRA-JFK in F/CL (purchased in Egypt) is so high that he is able to stay the night at the Hilton, have a very good dinner and so on.

Done that as welll... instead of ZRH-LAX i flew to Bremen, took Bremen-ZRH-LAX-ZRH.
I could have stayed in ZRH at that point, but since i love to fly (and love getting miles  Wink ) i did the ZRH-Bremen-ZRH legs as well... and it's shorter than cairo, i actually flew to/from Bremen on the same plane... (this is the tricky part, stopovers are almost too short... and somehow it is not a guaranteed connection, so they won't wait for 'ya  Smile )
swissair/+/ we care
 
chase
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:02 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:01 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 5):
point beyond, hidden cities, back-to-back, and throwaway ticketing

Could someone please define each of these terms individually?

I once needed to go PIA-ORD-BOS on a Monday (we'll say the 1st), then BOS-ORD-PIA on a Friday (the 5th), and repeat the same trip 2 weeks later (i.e. the 15th and the 19th). What I did was buy a ticket PIA-ORD-BOS-ORD-PIA leaving the 1st and returning the 19th, and a second ticket BOS-ORD-PIA-ORD-BOS leaving the 5th and returning the 15th. That way, I had Saturday night stays on both of my tickets. Is that what you're calling "back-to-back" above?
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:28 pm

Quoting Chase (Reply 30):
Could someone please define each of these terms individually?

As I understand it, and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong

Point Beyond: When you purchase a ticket with a routing of say CLE-ATL-IAH or whatever, but only fly CLE-ATL. The ticket was issued for a point beyond your intended destination

Hidden Cities: Essentially point beyond in reverse. i.e. CLE-ATL-IAH, you only fly ATL-IAH. The trip actually originates at a city downline of the ticketed origination, thus that city is "hidden".

Back-to-Back: Booking multiple journies to elude minimum/maximum stay requirements. Yours is an example of what's called back to back ticketing

Throwaway Ticketing: Buying a round trip ticket but only using half, thus throwing away the other half of the ticket. Say you need to fly one way CLE-IAH, but the roudtrip CLE-IAH-CLE would be less expensive. If you bought that ticket but never flew back to CLE, you've "thrown away" the return flight

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
Pyrex
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:00 am

Quoting 7LBAC111 (Reply 24):

Pyrex, you evidently display a very simplistic view of economics and business.

Quite the contrary, I have a very complex view of economics and business (professional obligations). However, I do not let that get in the way of my own personal set of values. First and foremost, I am a concerned citizen.
Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
 
chase
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RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:12 am

Thanks very much for the explanation, Lincoln!
Looks like I've done 2 of the 4...back-to-back as you confirmed, and I once bought CDG-ZRH-BOM-ZRH-CDG but threw away the 4th leg.
 
ANother
Posts: 1833
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:47 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:20 am

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 26):
Please explain you rational. If I have a plane that seats 100 people and I sell 105 seats on that plane that is fraud. There is no good reason for over booking except greed.

OK I have a plane that seats 100 people and every day I sell 100 seats. But every day less than 100 passengers show up. Some are on fully flexible tickets, so I don't get their money for that flight - they could ask for a refund, or fly on another flight or on another day. Some of the no-shows are mis connects, some caught in traffic, some overslept, some on other airlines 'paper', etc.

Now I've been running this flight for 20 years, and I've got a top notch computer system that does a wizup job of estimating for each day how many actual passengers I will have on this flight. Some days it might be 100 (so I won't oversell) and others it could be only 85. (and I may oversell by 10, maybe 15). My wizup computer will get it right almost always but every once in a while get it wrong. (Latest statistics show just over 1 passenger in 10,000 are involuntarily bumped).

So, I haven't really got the money from all the no-shows (flexible tickets, other airlines sales, non-ref tickets that are used on other flights for an extra charge) so I haven't actually sold 100 seats on my plane. There is demand for seats - meaning that I am keeping some other customers happy (who would otherwise have to travel earlier, via other routings, etc.) while disappointing very few. But even those bumped are compensated for me having to do this.
 
Pyrex
Posts: 4786
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:24 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:28 am

Quoting ANother (Reply 34):
So, I haven't really got the money from all the no-shows (flexible tickets, other airlines sales, non-ref tickets that are used on other flights for an extra charge) so I haven't actually sold 100 seats on my plane. There is demand for seats - meaning that I am keeping some other customers happy (who would otherwise have to travel earlier, via other routings, etc.) while disappointing very few. But even those bumped are compensated for me having to do this.

Then it is simple - overbook only on the seats that are refundable. If you have 100 seats on your aircraft but only 30 people can actually change their travel details then only those people can be bumped.
Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
 
102IAHexpress
Posts: 927
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:33 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:28 am

It is most certainly NOT illegal, but the airline may have a legitimate cause of action against you. More likely than not if they become wise to your scheme, they would probably just charge your form of payment, for the difference in fares.

There have been many threads on this in the past. One even evolving Supreme Court Justice Scalia; Scalia's Ticket Scam (by VC745D Mar 24 2004 in Civil Aviation)
 
BigOrange
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:56 am

Quoting Chase (Reply 30):
Is that what you're calling "back-to-back" above?

Yes it is!
 
nycaross
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 11:43 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:19 am

Many years ago, when the Deutsch Mark was a very strong currency, people purchased tickets
LOS FRA NYC or BEG FRA NYC but then Lufthansa put a stop to that.
 
motopolitico
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:33 am

Here's the burning question in my mind: How in the world can it possibly be that the airline incurs greater cost in transporting a person once than it does in transporting a person twice? If airline ticket fares were based on actual cost plus a reasonable profit margin instead of "what the market will bear", people would understand. One may appeal to market economics, but the airlines' Contracts of Carriage throw free-market economics out the window. They slant the playing field in the airlines' direction at every turn, and seek to insulate airlines from certain types of market forces, such as passengers booking creative itineraries that take advantage of or circumvent inefficiencies in the market. Frankly, unless somebody can demonstrate to me that it costs airlines more to fly a passenger from A to B than it does from A to B to C, or A to B to A, I am going to go on not giving a rip about the "poor little rich girl" airlines who distort the market, insulate themselves from market forces, then charge "what the 'market' will bear". It's just that simple.

[Edit: spelling error corrected]

[Edited 2007-03-02 19:36:12]
Garbage stinks; trash don't!
 
Yflyer
Posts: 1725
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:05 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:33 am

Quoting 102IAHexpress (Reply 36):
the airline may have a legitimate cause of action against you.

I recall hearing a story on NPR several years ago that, if I remember correctly, stated that airlines have occasionally taken passengers to court over things like back-to-back or hidden city fares. Does anyone happen to know any more details about this?
 
Baron52ta
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 1:52 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:37 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 16):
also gives the airline the right to overbook

I'm not sure anything gives the airline the right to overbook, but I once spoke to the ticket sales from NWA(when they tried to offload me on a trans-atlantic) who told me that the flights are routinely oversold by 10% but the flight in question had 45 more pax than seats. But the reason they do the overbooking is because they know that people will buy tickets which they will only use part of the trip. As for checking bags if you tell the check in you are getting off at first stop you could get them to check the bags only to first stop.Finally for the return trip that will be difficult as the airline would assume since you didn't board at CLT that you were not travelling and give up the seat fro the whole flight .

I hope this is of some use, if not sorry
david
 
B707Stu
Posts: 893
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:15 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:44 am

As a former tariff agent (AA and AF) it's legal. Back in the days we'd even have "point beyond" ticketing where fares were often lower than destinations (internationally) and allow for more miles which, in essence, reduced the ticket to a circle trip minimum, which had to be held to the r/t fare for the highest point. The bottom line meant people could have more stops and use more miles and probably not have a fare higher than the highest fare on the route.

The 'hidden' fare trick was a favorite at Air France where we'd write a JFK-CDG-BRU-CDG-JFK First class r/t fare and tell the passengers to throw away the CDG-BRU-CDG coupons and then add the supplemental Q (Concorde) charge. It would come in cheaper than r/t CDG and just add the Q charge.

The only difference today is that in this day of tighter security you may find problems with immigration that could connect to the airlines in not using the CDG-BRU-CDG coupons.

As a practice I'd say go ahead and do it, but one way only as your return flight will be cancelled if you miss your connections. Look, the airlines hub-hub fees are often way over priced, I think it's just fighting fire with fire.
 
DH106
Posts: 626
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:32 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:55 am

Quoting Motopolitico (Reply 39):
Here's the burning question in my mind: How in the world can it possibly be that the airline incurs greater cost in transporting a person once than it does in transporting a person twice? If airline ticket fares were based on actual cost plus a reasonable profit margin instead of "what the market will bear", people would understand. One may appeal to market economics, but the airlines' Contracts of Carriage throw free-market economics out the window. They slant the playing field in the airlines' direction at every turn, and seek to insulate airlines from certain types of market forces, such as passengers booking creative itineraries that take advantage of or circumvent inefficiencies in the market. Frankly, unless somebody can demonstrate to me that it costs airlines more to fly a passenger from A to B than it does from A to B to C, or A to B to A, I am going to go on not giving a rip about the "poor little rich girl" airlines who distort the market, insulate themselves from market forces, then charge "what the 'market' will bear". It's just that simple.

Spot on, and very eloquently put !  checkmark 
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
SpencerII
Posts: 259
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:15 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:10 am

The Hidden City has been used for years, A great example of this is United on BOI-SFO ONe Way Fare is quored at $376.00 (but if you buy a ticket BOI-RNO w/ SFO as the connection point, the fare is $182.00) Get off the OO flight in SFO, and don't get on the flight to Reno.

Another example is SLC-SFO on United SLC-SFO is $284.00 but buy it SLC-RNO & its $144.00 with SFO being the connecting point. In the Inner West this is very common, as WN keeps the fares low to Reno
 
User avatar
TVNWZ
Posts: 2259
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:28 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:20 am

All businesses have contracts for various purposes. They spell out the parties obligations, rights and any penalties for breach of those contracts. What you are doing is neither illegal nor fraud. It is only a violation of the contract. There may be remedies for the airline if the passenger does not live up to the contract, and they could go to court to enforce those remedies in a civil action. They could seek damages, but frankly, I would be hard pressed to come up with any. You could argue that the airline is actually making money by not transporting the passenger because the plane would require less fuel if the seat goes empty, and the airline would actually make more money if it went out full. But, the airline will not seek relief or damages because it is just not worth it.

In actuality the passenger is just renegotiating the terms of the contract without telling the airline. If the airline does not object, then it can be argued that they have accepted the renegotiation in that instance.
 
smashme33
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:34 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:31 am

Quoting ANother (Reply 11):
Sorry don't agree. In the example given product #1 is PIT-ATL and product #2 is PIT-ATL-CLT. It is even possible that in this market there is a product #3 PIT-CLT non-stop (or via another connecting city). The airline has a price for each of these products - right? The prices are for fresh bread (PIT-ATL) $2 and day-old bread (PIT-ATL-CLT) $1.

These prices are established based on the demand for the final product i.e. that you get what you are paying for, not for something else. To you, it may not make sense, or may not appear to be fair - but that really is besides the point. The airline has a price for PIT-ATL and for you to attempt to obtain that product for a different price than the airline has established for it, is no different that switching price tags. It is also being done without the explicit agreement of the airline.

More simply it is stealing.

 sarcastic  Good Lord! He wouldn't be stealing if he's actually PAYING for the ticket! He can get off the plane where he wants to! Corporate rules are made to suit the company's interests, not the customer's. So you're not breaking the law to do this, you are just breaking yourself against the rules...you just have to make it work for you to save some dinero. Why just hand the airline $90? Looks like thery're trying to take from you! I say go ahead, ATLAaron!
 
ANother
Posts: 1833
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:47 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:59 am

Quoting Smashme33 (Reply 46):
Good Lord! He wouldn't be stealing if he's actually PAYING for the ticket! He can get off the plane where he wants to! Corporate rules are made to suit the company's interests, not the customer's. So you're not breaking the law to do this, you are just breaking yourself against the rules...you just have to make it work for you to save some dinero. Why just hand the airline $90? Looks like thery're trying to take from you! I say go ahead, ATLAaron!

No he is not buying a TICKET - he is buying transportation from A to C (not A to B, that's got a different price, remember?) Switching price tags is not legal, even if the customer thinks the pricing scheme is stupid.
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:05 am

Quoting Motopolitico (Reply 39):
Frankly, unless somebody can demonstrate to me that it costs airlines more to fly a passenger from A to B than it does from A to B to C, or A to B to A, I am going to go on not giving a rip about the "poor little rich girl" airlines who distort the market, insulate themselves from market forces, then charge "what the 'market' will bear".

The airline operating A-B-C via their hub at B may in many cases be competing with an airline operating A-C nonstop (or via a shorter connecting routing). Obviously they're not going to sell many A-B-C tickets if they don't match the fare of the carrier offering the nonstop or more direct service. And without that additional A-B-C revenue you'd probably find that your A-B fare would be even higher than it is now.

Or if they reduced the A-B fare to the lower A-B-C fare their operations on A-B would likely not be profitable and there would be a good chance that it wouldn't be long before the airline dropped the A-B route and if there were no other nonstop operators your trips would become much less convenient and take a few hours longer.

The high fares that hub-and-spoke carriers can maintain to/from their hubs make it possible for them to offer much lower fares in the A-B-C types of markets which benefits customers wanting to go from A to C. And the revenue they generate from A-B-C passengers helps ensure that the A-B route (and the airline itself) will continue to exist.

[Edited 2007-03-02 21:13:50]

[Edited 2007-03-02 21:17:36]

[Edited 2007-03-02 21:19:07]
 
flydreamliner
Posts: 1928
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:05 am

RE: Is This Legal? Hidden City Fare?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:44 am

Could DL come after someone for violating their terms of carriage (ie: a contract between you and the airline)? yes. Would they ever? Of course not.

The problem with doing the hidden city are the following:

1) If you don't show up on leg 2 and it is a round trip, all remaining flights (like the return trip) will be canceled.

2) Checked baggage won't work. You'll have to do it carry on, because your checked stuff will re-appear at the final destination.

3) You are buying passage from PIT-CLT on DL. You are not buying passage to ATL. They could re-route you through somewhere else and you couldn't say jack about it. The stop in ATL is inconsequential. This is however, unlikely.

As for the whole it not making sense/being fair to have PIT-ATL go for more than PIT-ATL-CLT, you just need to accept that airfares are not based on reason, they are based on competition. The airline will change the highest amount people will pay on a given segment. If the airline holds a virtual monopoly on the segment, or the fares are just high, then the fares are high. The cost has next to nothing to do with it. Depending on the time of year, I could fly from MSP to Amsterdam or Tokyo for cheaper than I could get to some places in the Caribbean or Mexico, which are many times closer, and cost the airline far less to transport me to, but the demand is there, so the price goes up. PIT-CLT on DL is cheaper than PIT-ATL because US has excess capacity on its direct flights between PIT and CLT (a focus city and a hub for them) and so the flights are cheap. DL is likely matching the US fare on the route, despite DL's having to route through ATL along the way. There is no one forcing DL's PIT-ATL fares down, so they can charge whatever the going rate on that route is.

As for overbooking, it's a sleezy airline practice of dubious value for the airlines. In many cases I've heard they end up spending more compensating passengers for being bumped than they would have saved over running the airplane with 10% of its seats open. Overbooking is a stupid practice, but it is not fraud. When you buy a ticket, you are buying passage, you are not renting a given seat on the aircraft. You are buying passage in A SEAT. If for whatever reason the airline can't deliver, you must be compensated per your contract with them and pursuant to federal law.
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