jumbojet
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UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:09 pm

If this has been posted, my apologies.

Now, I am not going to jump down UA's throat or trash what they are doing. Some might agree, others might disagree. Just curious as to what people have to say. Has UA gone to far?


If you remember back a few years ago, UA lost a court battle against an individual with software to find and identify loopholes in hidden city ticketing.

Now, UA is apparently going after individual passengers, no matter what their status is, who have been identified, according to UA, as defrauding the airline. UA attorney's are sending out letters to such people demanding reimbursement and banishment from United if they don't pony up and reimburse UA. UA claims that if they are not paid, they will send the debt to a collection agency which can affect the persons credit rating.


Here is a sample letter that UA sent out to one customer:

Date

Mr. Skiplagged Customer

RE: Notice of Claim Pertaining to Point Beyond Ticketing and Demand for Reimbursement

Dear Mr. Customer,

It has come to United Airlines’ attention that on multiple occasions you have violated the “Prohibited Practices” outlined in Rule 6 of United’s Contract of Carriage.

United identified 38 instances since January of 2016 where you engaged in “Point Beyond Ticketing,” which is the unauthorized purchase of a ticket to a destination more distant than your actual destination. As shown below, the last segment of each ticket was not used. By including the additional segment, you were able to purchase your ticket at a lower fare. Please note that no irregular operations were involved in these itineraries to prevent you from making the connecting flight.

(editing my own… at this point the letter goes on to list every flight and every destination, it also goes on to list, in United’s opinion, the amount of money they’re out for each flight ranging from $11 to $460)

Total
$3,236.76

Such conduct constitutes fraud and a violation of Rule 6 of United’s Contract of Carriage. Accordingly, United demands that you cease and desist these unauthorized practices immediately and that you reimburse United in the amount of $3,236.76 which represents the difference between the cost of the tickets that you purchased and the cost of the travel taken, within 10 business day of receipt of this letter.

Please remit payment directly to me via credit card or a check made out to “United Airlines, Inc.” and send to:

United Airlines, Inc.
233 S. Wacker 28th floor
Chicago, IL 60606

If you do not make the requested payment, United Airlines reserves its right to take further action, including submitting United’s claim to an outside collection agency, terminating your MileagePlus membership and/or refusing to transport you on future flights in accordance with Rule 21 of the Contract of Carriage. If you have questions regarding this letter, feel free to contact me via [email protected]

Sincerely,
Corporate Security
United Airlines
[email protected]





Full article here:


https://nomascoach.boardingarea.com/tra ... llections/
Last edited by atcsundevil on Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Title edited for clarity
 
BlatantEcho
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:27 pm

I can't wait to hear people justify the behavior anyway.

UA is clearly doing this to generate publicity about it - to prevent people from doing it.
It's not about the money or debt collections.

Someone broke the rules, gets caught, and there are consequences.
That's how life works, no?
You commit fraud against a contract you agreed to, you are liable for damages if you get caught.

Why is this news?
 
LAXdude1023
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Good. All airlines should be doing this.
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slcdeltarumd11
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:41 pm

LAXdude1023 wrote:
Good. All airlines should be doing this.


Why? I don't see how united can legally stop them. The people are getting less than they paid for not more.
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:41 pm

There are stories of Delta cancelling frequent flyer accounts, banning people and etc on other forums for abusers of hidden city ticketing. This is not a new practice
viewtopic.php?t=452305


Hidden city ticketing violates the contract of carriage. The reservation systems check if someone regularly does it, so using a frequent flyer account is a foolish idea when trying, not to mention IRROPS can get you stuck

https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel ... nsequences
Last edited by Newbiepilot on Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
jayunited
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:43 pm

I completely understand why UA is going down this path, the customer committed fraud and it is clearly spelled out in the contract of carriage which most people have never read. However from a PR perspective there is no way UA wins this. This is just going to generate more bad publicity for an airline that doesn't need any more bad press. People already hate the airlines and think we over charge for everything there is no way the general public sides with UA on this issue people love to cheer for the underdog. An airline will never be seen as an underdog especially when there are seen going after individual passengers.
I understand why we are doing it but I think it is a bad move on UA's part, UA should not be taking the lead on this one.
 
B747forever
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:48 pm

Well 38 times in a couple of years is really asking for problems. Doing it once or twice a year won't cause any problems, but doing it multiple times a year and on the same route will be easily caught. Have done hidden city ticketing for years, but limit it to maybe 5 times/year across different carriers. Have worked beautifully and saved me some serious $$$, which airlines seems to do fine without anyway with billions in profits.
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MIflyer12
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:52 pm

United is going to come across somebody with the balls and money to take them to court. It's not obvious United could win - and then the entire U.S. industry is exposed to a practice they don't like.

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mxaxai
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:53 pm

BlatantEcho wrote:
I can't wait to hear people justify the behavior anyway.

UA is clearly doing this to generate publicity about it - to prevent people from doing it.
It's not about the money or debt collections.

Someone broke the rules, gets caught, and there are consequences.
That's how life works, no?
You commit fraud against a contract you agreed to, you are liable for damages if you get caught.

Why is this news?

On the one hand, you are correct that it is not according to the contract. On the other hand, having to pay extra because you didn't use a service seems ridiculous to me. United didn't actually lose any money, they even spent less money on fuel and services (costs that they would've incurred if the person had completed all his journeys). The now empty seat might've even been on an overbooked flight, thus saving United the compensation or accomodation cost.

I don't know any other business that would ask you to pay extra for not using a service that you already paid for.
 
JamesCousins
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:53 pm

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
LAXdude1023 wrote:
Good. All airlines should be doing this.


Why? I don't see how united can legally stop them. The people are getting less than they paid for not more.


Plus if UA deems the price profitable, all the pax does by not turning up is saves the airline money on fuel and weight that the airline no longer needs :D
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XAM2175
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:55 pm

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Why? I don't see how united can legally stop them. The people are getting less than they paid for not more.


The practice is prohibited by the Conditions of Ticket Sale and Carriage. Remember, contract law doesn't consider the net outcome of the events but rather whether they did or did not meet the exact terms of the agreement.

The only outside influences are to be found in circumstances where law prohibits certain practices and provisions being used and made in contacts (that is, laws explicitly permitting a practice can sometimes override a contract forbidding them), but otherwise the contracting parties are expected to stick to what they agreed, not what they think they should have agreed.
 
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PITingres
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:56 pm

I understand this violates the contract of carriage, but I don't think too many people are going to have the slightest sympathy for a pricing system that charges less for more. UA are just going to make themselves look like greedy morons if they follow up on this. IMO they should have stuck to a ban threat, and left out the ridiculous notion of repaying the money they "lost". It will be interesting to see how good UA's aim at their foot is.

(BTW I have no stake in this either way.)
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LAXintl
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:58 pm

Airlines should absolutely go after those that try to game the system.

Conditions of carriage and fare rules exist for a reason and each side should be held to their end of the agreement entered in when ticket is purchased.
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seat24charlie
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:09 pm

Gotta love American companies... throwing around the anti-regulation pro-competition language when it suits them, and when something shows up that exposes a gap in the market to undercut them, they go straight for every regulation and law in the book to hold on to their oligopoly.

To use their own capitalistic language against them, perhaps they should try doing a better job in the market so customers wouldn't need to resort to skiplagging?
 
Cubsrule
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:21 pm

LAXintl wrote:
Airlines should absolutely go after those that try to game the system.

Conditions of carriage and fare rules exist for a reason and each side should be held to their end of the agreement entered in when ticket is purchased.


I guess, but it seems like UA could start treading on difficult ground here. Let's say I book SEA-ORD-BNA with every intention of traveling on Tuesday, and I add a Wednesday meeting in Chicago after I book. So, I get off in ORD, spend the night, and buy a separate CHI-BNA Wednesday night ticket on UA or whoever. Is that a violation of the Contract of Carriage? Reasonable minds can certainly differ.
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FriscoHeavy
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:32 pm

Good for United. Passengers that do this are breaking the rules/contract and should have to pay the difference. As noted, they can forego paying and just have it wreck their credit and possibly ban them from flying and the rewards program. I doubt they will ban them from flying, but I can certainly see them sending information to collections and cancelling their MileagePlus membership.
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alex0easy
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:45 pm

Erm, 38 times in 2 years is a bit too much, no?
No wonder this guy got caught.
 
B747forever
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:52 pm

FriscoHeavy wrote:
Good for United. Passengers that do this are breaking the rules/contract and should have to pay the difference. As noted, they can forego paying and just have it wreck their credit and possibly ban them from flying and the rewards program. I doubt they will ban them from flying, but I can certainly see them sending information to collections and cancelling their MileagePlus membership.


I wonder if what UA is asking really can be seen as debt. The guy paid for a service, but did not use it fully. Dont see how that equates to outstanding debt.
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Raventech
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:13 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
Airlines should absolutely go after those that try to game the system.

Conditions of carriage and fare rules exist for a reason and each side should be held to their end of the agreement entered in when ticket is purchased.


I guess, but it seems like UA could start treading on difficult ground here. Let's say I book SEA-ORD-BNA with every intention of traveling on Tuesday, and I add a Wednesday meeting in Chicago after I book. So, I get off in ORD, spend the night, and buy a separate CHI-BNA Wednesday night ticket on UA or whoever. Is that a violation of the Contract of Carriage? Reasonable minds can certainly differ.


Its probably going to be a similar to Red Light/speeding Camera tickets when someone doesn't pay. If it happens one or twice in a blue moon then its not worth the time and effort for the company to go after them but serial offenders that have cumulative amounts in the thousands are more the aim.
 
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Super80Fan
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:00 pm

alex0easy wrote:
Erm, 38 times in 2 years is a bit too much, no?
No wonder this guy got caught.


Yup, if you did it once or twice I don't think they really care too much but if you're doing it 38 times, you're certainly on their radar.
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peanuts
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:07 pm

People jumping on the "good for United" train are perhaps a bit gullible as well though. It's THEIR rules. It is the airlines having each other's back. In a way, the consumer is being played here. (In a similar way consumers are being played by the car dealers industry and its control over the market. These industries write rules, supported by politicians, only to suit themselves).

On the other hand, customers skiplegging know, or should know, very well they are violating contract terms. It's a cat and mouse game.

The fact UA makes extra revenue on a leg which may have otherwise been lost to a nonstop competitor doesn't matter to UA. For network carriers it all balances out, hence my point of the Big 3 having each other's back on this argument.

BTW, politics (including lobbyists of course) have a huge stake in these industry specific "rules". This is complicated and entrenched beyond belief.

I understand consumers playing the system. Just don't play victim when they get you. Start a consumer group large enough to fight back perhaps. (Arguments could be made perhaps that play against the limited assets (=hubs) a particular airline has).

(I do commend the guy starting the Skiplagged app though. It's a small piece of the puzzle raising consumer awareness about current market dynamics)
 
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enilria
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:38 pm

XAM2175 wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Why? I don't see how united can legally stop them. The people are getting less than they paid for not more.


The practice is prohibited by the Conditions of Ticket Sale and Carriage. Remember, contract law doesn't consider the net outcome of the events but rather whether they did or did not meet the exact terms of the agreement.

The only outside influences are to be found in circumstances where law prohibits certain practices and provisions being used and made in contacts (that is, laws explicitly permitting a practice can sometimes override a contract forbidding them), but otherwise the contracting parties are expected to stick to what they agreed, not what they think they should have agreed.

On the third hand, a very likely outcome in court would be that the customer would be found in violation of the contract and United awarded nothing, because United must prove damages. There is no way for them to prove damages as the customer paid for the services they used. The best solution for United is to simply suspend their frequent flier account. United is a common carrier and cannot deny service except for a compelling reason. No third party is compelling United to deny service. I don’t think a denial of service would stand up in court.

“An important legal requirement for common carrier as public provider is that it cannot discriminate, that is refuse the service unless there is some compelling reason.”

Imagine if you purchased an all day Subway pass and were told you could never use the subway again because you did not use the pass all day. Lol
 
YYZYYT
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:41 pm

XAM2175 wrote:
. Remember, contract law doesn't consider the net outcome of the events but rather whether they did or did not meet the exact terms of the agreement.


Wrong. Contract law, and courts consider the loss or damages suffered, if one part claims that another has breached the contract.

XAM2175 wrote:
. The only outside influences are to be found in circumstances where law prohibits certain practices and provisions being used and made in contacts (that is, laws explicitly permitting a practice can sometimes override a contract forbidding them), but otherwise the contracting parties are expected to stick to what they agreed, not what they think they should have agreed.


Wrong again. Contracts (or portions of them) can be invalidated for a number of reasons under common law, particularly for a "contract of adhesion", which is a contract that one party drafts, heavy with pages and pages of "fine print" terms, and presents it to the other with no chance to negotiate terms, and usually no real attempt to draw terms to the other party's attention. These common law doctrines include unconscionability, misrepresentation by the airline, the "contra proferentem" rule (whereby courts interpret contracts in the narrowest possible way, to the detriment of the party which drafted it) and - my personal favourite - the rule whereby courts refuse to enforce fine print terms which are contrary to the customers' understanding and which are not specifically drawn to their attention (for example, in the leading case in Ontario involves a court which refused to enforce "clear" terms in the fine print of a car-rental contract).

Don't mean to pick on you particularly, XAM2175, this comment is directed at all who responded "it's in the contract".

The short answer is that a judge has may ways to find against United, despite the fact that terms are "in the contract", if the judge feels that the contract is unfair (and good luck to United in justifying that these terms as reasonable). You will note that United is not SUING the alleged "perps", having lost once. It is only using extra-judicial means to harass and punish, such as banishment and harassment with collection agencies.
 
bob75013
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:41 pm

UA has been saying this for years, and if you don;t do it too frequently, you'll get away with it. I have. 38 times in two years is probably a bit too frequently..

Southwest on the other hand says that if you can save money on a hidden city fare, it's fine with Southwest.
 
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janders
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:52 pm

Yes good on UA or any other airline going after those that purpusely seek to abuse fare rules and contract of carriage especially so frequently.
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UPlog
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:56 pm

At least if you are going to do this don't also try to earn FF miles which makes you much easier to identify and track down.

I'd agree that UA should go after such abusers and at very least close down their FF accounts and strip them of any elite status.
 
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vhtje
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:32 pm

enilria wrote:
Imagine if you purchased an all day Subway pass and were told you could never use the subway again because you did not use the pass all day. Lol


I do not think that is a valid analogy, since when you purchase an all-day subway pass, you are not contracting in your purchase with the railway provider to use it all day. It permits you to use it all day, but you are not obliged to do so.

The hidden city ticketing is different, because it is forbidden in the conditions of carriage, ie the contract with the airline.
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:53 pm

UPlog wrote:
At least if you are going to do this don't also try to earn FF miles which makes you much easier to identify and track down.

I'd agree that UA should go after such abusers and at very least close down their FF accounts and strip them of any elite status.


And I would say that is also the maximum they should do. And while I am here customers (who after all pay for all of this) should through their elected representatives come up with a contract of carriage which asserts and protects their rights. Airlines, WN probably excepted, are not interested in customer rights.
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PatrickZ80
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:03 pm

PITingres wrote:
I understand this violates the contract of carriage, but I don't think too many people are going to have the slightest sympathy for a pricing system that charges less for more.


This indeed. United is legally allowed to charge for this, but it doesn't make them popular. Specially when other airlines allow this, those airlines will be the winner and United will be the loser. And indeed, there are airlines that don't make a fuss about it. United is very stupid for doing so.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:05 pm

UPlog wrote:
I'd agree that UA should go after such abusers and at very least close down their FF accounts and strip them of any elite status.


And generate more bad publicity about themselves, driving customers straight into the hands of their competitors? They should be wiser than that.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:28 pm

FriscoHeavy wrote:
Good for United. Passengers that do this are breaking the rules/contract and should have to pay the difference. As noted, they can forego paying and just have it wreck their credit and possibly ban them from flying and the rewards program. I doubt they will ban them from flying, but I can certainly see them sending information to collections and cancelling their MileagePlus membership.


And lose them as customers perhaps? This isn't smart from United.

Lately I read a story somewhere, somebody wanted to buy a 1 liter bottle of coke. He went to the store and saw they had an action for a 2 liter bottle, which was actually cheaper than a one liter bottle. But he only needed one liter. Still he bought the 2 liter bottle, drank half of it and threw away the rest. That's fully allowed, nobody was going to force him to drink the rest of the bottle too.

However in aviation the same thing is not allowed, which is really strange. You need one leg, then you find an action, two legs cheaper than one. So you buy two legs. You fly one and throw away the other. It's no different from the coke, I don't see the problem. You've paid for a product, use half of it and throw away the rest. It doesn't matter if that product is a coke bottle or a flight ticket, a product is a product.
 
B747forever
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:53 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:

Lately I read a story somewhere, somebody wanted to buy a 1 liter bottle of coke. He went to the store and saw they had an action for a 2 liter bottle, which was actually cheaper than a one liter bottle. But he only needed one liter. Still he bought the 2 liter bottle, drank half of it and threw away the rest. That's fully allowed, nobody was going to force him to drink the rest of the bottle too.

However in aviation the same thing is not allowed, which is really strange. You need one leg, then you find an action, two legs cheaper than one. So you buy two legs. You fly one and throw away the other. It's no different from the coke, I don't see the problem. You've paid for a product, use half of it and throw away the rest. It doesn't matter if that product is a coke bottle or a flight ticket, a product is a product.


Different types of products use different kinds of pricing models. Generally in aviation, the pricing is not strictly based on distance. It is based on supply and demand, or in other words what the market is willing to pay between origin and destination and whether there are competitors. That is why TATL flights can be cheaper than 1 hour domestic flights. By using hidden city ticketing you basically cause havoc in the airlines way of making business and selling their product.
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PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:38 pm

I think what gets consumers so riled up about this is the illogic of it all - the farther the distance, the more the ticket should be, and the less the distance, the less the ticket should be. But because the airlines' pricing systems is like playing a slot machine at a casino, you get what they give you. And when it makes no sense, it can be either bewildering or maddening.

My own example: on my trip to Europe in 2017, the airfare was running $1600 on my desired itinerary, and the same cost from every airport in Europe back to San Diego. And then one day, something dropped that price from $1600 to $1000 per person - but ONLY if the return trip departed from Frankfurt. No other airport gave us this combination. So we took it.

What this meant was that we were LITERALLY paid $600 per person to occupy seats on an airplane. Our routing was FRA-ZRH-SAN, and if we hadn't taken the FRA-ZRH flight, and made our way to Zurich on our own and begun our journey home from there, we would have been charged $600 more. But thank you, Lufthansa group, for giving us our upgrades for free (we applied the savings towards upgrades on the trans-Atlantic segments) simply for occupying seats on a VERY full Swiss A320.

To me, that is probably the stupidest thing I have ever heard - how can you scream about losing money all the time (and airlines are usually doom and gloom) if you are going to pay people to fly on your airplanes? Those two seats could have been sold to someone else - or even gone empty - and they would have made more money.

But the customer has no say in it - this will be airlines' policy, and as long as they hold all the cards, you do what they say. I would have thought the bean counters would have figured this out a LONG time ago, allowing extra revenue for these extra seats, but that's their problem. Maddening, but out of our hands.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:51 pm

B747forever wrote:
Different types of products use different kinds of pricing models. Generally in aviation, the pricing is not strictly based on distance. It is based on supply and demand, or in other words what the market is willing to pay between origin and destination and whether there are competitors. That is why TATL flights can be cheaper than 1 hour domestic flights. By using hidden city ticketing you basically cause havoc in the airlines way of making business and selling their product.


Technically that's true, however if this leads to the possibility of hidden tickets that means there's a flaw in the way of making business. That's a problem for the airline, not for the customer.

If you buy a product, no matter what product it is, you're allowed to use the product in any way you like. You're not obligued to use it the way the producer of the product intended it to be used, you're allowed to use it in another way. In fact, you're allowed to buy a product and not use it at all.

Let's get back to the example of the coke bottle. The producer of that bottle intended for the customer to drink the coke, but that doesn't mean the customer is obligued to drink it. If they want to use it to wash their car with it, they're allowed to do so. In the case of an airline ticket, if a customer buys a ticket and then uses that ticket to set fire to the fireplace, that's allowed. It's not what the ticket is meant for, but why should the airline care? They've sold it, it's up to the customer what to do with it.

The flaw I was talking about before is that two flights might be cheaper than one. That's an impossible situation that should not be possible, but again it's a problem for the airline and not for the customer. Luckily there are airlines that have a different pricing model, airlines where you pay per leg. Each leg has a certain price and that's what you pay for it, the entire trip is just the price of all legs added up. That way hidden tickets are impossible. This pricing model has the future, but old-fashioned airlines like United refuse to adopt it. They stick to the old flawed pricing system.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:01 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
But the customer has no say in it - this will be airlines' policy, and as long as they hold all the cards, you do what they say. I would have thought the bean counters would have figured this out a LONG time ago, allowing extra revenue for these extra seats, but that's their problem. Maddening, but out of our hands.


It's so far in or out of your hands that you can pick a different airline with a different pricing system. Norwegian for example has a very logical pricing system, they charge per leg plus a small fee when you make a transfer. This means self-transfers are always cheaper than arranged transfers, think of this transfer fee as an insurance to make your connection. I think this is one of the things that makes Norwegian so popular. In the future more airlines will adopt the pricing system of Norwegian. The ones that don't will slowly die.
 
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Blimpie
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:56 pm

I remember about 15 years ago I was looking at a flight to Tokyo, and UA quoted the cost of flight (I no longer remember the flight number was back then I want to say UA 890, but it's been 15 years now) UA Flight 0 for $1100 from IAD -> SIN with a stop at NRT. I would alight at NRT, and that plane would go on to SIN. However, on a whim, my girlfriend at the time wanted me to visit her in Singapore instead, so on a lark, I did a search for the exact same date, UA Flight 0 all the way through to SIN and came up as IAD -> SIN for $800. It was literally $300 less to fly all the way through to Singapore than it was to Narita. At the end of the day I flew to Changi instead to see her and skipped Japan outright. It was also the single most miserable flight of my life and I would avoid UA like nothing else for the next ten years as a result. I never want to spend 20 hours in Y ever again.
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Phosphorus
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:02 pm

XAM2175 wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Why? I don't see how united can legally stop them. The people are getting less than they paid for not more.


The practice is prohibited by the Conditions of Ticket Sale and Carriage. Remember, contract law doesn't consider the net outcome of the events but rather whether they did or did not meet the exact terms of the agreement.

The only outside influences are to be found in circumstances where law prohibits certain practices and provisions being used and made in contacts (that is, laws explicitly permitting a practice can sometimes override a contract forbidding them), but otherwise the contracting parties are expected to stick to what they agreed, not what they think they should have agreed.


I'm not fully cognizant of all the nitty-gritties, but from where I sit, what you say sounds like this:

Scenario A:
Mr. Skiplagged Customer X buys a ticket A to B to C, flies A to B to C, and thus meets the "exact terms of the agreement." No harm done, AirlineCo happy and satisfied

Scenario B:
Mr. Skiplagged Customer Y buys a ticket A to B to C, flies A to B, does not fly B to C, and thus fails to meet the "exact terms of the agreement." Contract broken, AirlineCo unhappy and claims damages

Scenario C
Mr. Skiplagged Customer Z buys a ticket A to B to C, does not fly A to B to C, and thus fails to meet the "exact terms of the agreement." Contract broken, AirlineCo unhappy and claims damages

Why aren't we hearing of Scenario C more often: stories of airline companies angrily chasing guys like Mr. Skiplagged Customer Z who are malicious no-shows and thus contract violators?
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bob75013
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:14 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
B747forever wrote:
Different types of products use different kinds of pricing models. Generally in aviation, the pricing is not strictly based on distance. It is based on supply and demand, or in other words what the market is willing to pay between origin and destination and whether there are competitors. That is why TATL flights can be cheaper than 1 hour domestic flights. By using hidden city ticketing you basically cause havoc in the airlines way of making business and selling their product.


Technically that's true, however if this leads to the possibility of hidden tickets that means there's a flaw in the way of making business. That's a problem for the airline, not for the customer.

.


It does not necessarily mean there is a flaw in the way of making business. You fail to comprehend competition and market initiative.

Let's say it's cheaper to fly from Dallas to Columbus or Detroit connecting in Chicago on United than it is to fly from Dallas to Chicago - even on the same plane out of Dallas. Why might that be?

1) Competition on the routes means that if United is going to sell the required number of seats to make the route profitable, it has to offer a lower price to meet the competition.

2)United is trying to build market share on the routes to Columbus or Detroit and doing so equates to a lower price than the price from Dallas to Chicago.

3) United is in a pissing match with another airline and is trying to send a message . I once snagged a Dallas/Honolulu United RT ticket for $160 when United and American were in piissing match. $160 RT was far cheaper than the DFW/SFO one way price.
 
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PITingres
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:30 pm

I actually have some sympathy for airline pricing by endpoints rather than miles; as bob75013 points out, there are valid reasons to want to do that from a marketing standpoint.

Problem is, it opens up a gaping hole in the pricing model, and the airlines want to eat their cake and have it too. They sort of can, because the "contract" of carriage is entirely one-sided and no more of a mutual agreement than "give me your wallet or I'll kill you" is a mutual agreement. Why United would want to shine a light on the whole mess is beyond me. They should send letters to the top N multi-repeat offenders, tell them to stop or they'll face a temporary or permanent ban, and leave it at that.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
Yflyer
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:36 pm

bob75013 wrote:
It does not necessarily mean there is a flaw in the way of making business. You fail to comprehend competition and market initiative.

Let's say it's cheaper to fly from Dallas to Columbus or Detroit connecting in Chicago on United than it is to fly from Dallas to Chicago - even on the same plane out of Dallas. Why might that be?

1) Competition on the routes means that if United is going to sell the required number of seats to make the route profitable, it has to offer a lower price to meet the competition.

2)United is trying to build market share on the routes to Columbus or Detroit and doing so equates to a lower price than the price from Dallas to Chicago.

3) United is in a pissing match with another airline and is trying to send a message . I once snagged a Dallas/Honolulu United RT ticket for $160 when United and American were in piissing match. $160 RT was far cheaper than the DFW/SFO one way price.


4) American offers a non-stop flight to Columbus. United does not. All things being equal, most travelers would prefer to take the the non-stop flight. In order to get passengers to book travel to Columbus on United they have to offer it at a lower price to get customers to take the "lower quality" itinerary. United doesn't have to discount the fares to Chicago as much because they offer a non-stop flight in that market.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:41 pm

bob75013 wrote:
It does not necessarily mean there is a flaw in the way of making business. You fail to comprehend competition and market initiative.

Let's say it's cheaper to fly from Dallas to Columbus or Detroit connecting in Chicago on United than it is to fly from Dallas to Chicago - even on the same plane out of Dallas. Why might that be?

1) Competition on the routes means that if United is going to sell the required number of seats to make the route profitable, it has to offer a lower price to meet the competition.

2)United is trying to build market share on the routes to Columbus or Detroit and doing so equates to a lower price than the price from Dallas to Chicago.

3) United is in a pissing match with another airline and is trying to send a message . I once snagged a Dallas/Honolulu United RT ticket for $160 when United and American were in piissing match. $160 RT was far cheaper than the DFW/SFO one way price.


True, but that's a problem for the airline, not for the customer. Besides, as long as the ticket is sold, it doesn't matter if it's being used or not.
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:42 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
XAM2175 wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Why? I don't see how united can legally stop them. The people are getting less than they paid for not more.


The practice is prohibited by the Conditions of Ticket Sale and Carriage. Remember, contract law doesn't consider the net outcome of the events but rather whether they did or did not meet the exact terms of the agreement.

The only outside influences are to be found in circumstances where law prohibits certain practices and provisions being used and made in contacts (that is, laws explicitly permitting a practice can sometimes override a contract forbidding them), but otherwise the contracting parties are expected to stick to what they agreed, not what they think they should have agreed.


I'm not fully cognizant of all the nitty-gritties, but from where I sit, what you say sounds like this:

Scenario A:
Mr. Skiplagged Customer X buys a ticket A to B to C, flies A to B to C, and thus meets the "exact terms of the agreement." No harm done, AirlineCo happy and satisfied

Scenario B:
Mr. Skiplagged Customer Y buys a ticket A to B to C, flies A to B, does not fly B to C, and thus fails to meet the "exact terms of the agreement." Contract broken, AirlineCo unhappy and claims damages

Scenario C
Mr. Skiplagged Customer Z buys a ticket A to B to C, does not fly A to B to C, and thus fails to meet the "exact terms of the agreement." Contract broken, AirlineCo unhappy and claims damages

Why aren't we hearing of Scenario C more often: stories of airline companies angrily chasing guys like Mr. Skiplagged Customer Z who are malicious no-shows and thus contract violators?

In scenario C the no-show customer's seats on the flight B-C will be released for sale, at the full Y price, where the airline will make a bigger profit. In scenario B, the airline is holding that seat in reserve for the customer, even though the customer knows beforehand that he will not use it. An empty seat is revenue lost in the airlines' eyes.

UA may have a case if they can show damages from delaying the flight from B to C waiting for the skiplagger to get to the gate. If a crew times out, or misses a landing curfew, that could easily lead to damages in the thousands of dollars. Imagine for a minute a zealous gate agent (hard to imagine, I know) starting an airport wide search for the missing person, thinking they may have suffered a medical issue walking to their connecting flight. Still a long-shot for UA to win this in a court of law. No contest, they loose in the court of public opinion on this one.
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:50 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
But the customer has no say in it - this will be airlines' policy, and as long as they hold all the cards, you do what they say. I would have thought the bean counters would have figured this out a LONG time ago, allowing extra revenue for these extra seats, but that's their problem. Maddening, but out of our hands.


It's so far in or out of your hands that you can pick a different airline with a different pricing system. Norwegian for example has a very logical pricing system, they charge per leg plus a small fee when you make a transfer. This means self-transfers are always cheaper than arranged transfers, think of this transfer fee as an insurance to make your connection. I think this is one of the things that makes Norwegian so popular. In the future more airlines will adopt the pricing system of Norwegian. The ones that don't will slowly die.


This is true; however, Norwegian doesn't run flights through a massive hub (or multiple hubs), so the "skiplagged" system isn't going to happen with them frequently, if ever. This is a problem unique to airlines with hubs or "focus cities" that create higher fares, such as United (Chicago) or Delta (Atlanta), used as examples. But until airfares are based solely on length of distance traveled, this "quirk" will continue, not die out.
 
Heinkel
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Re: UA Threatens Individual Customers with Collections/Bad Credit RE: Skipplagging

Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:11 pm

vhtje wrote:
enilria wrote:
Imagine if you purchased an all day Subway pass and were told you could never use the subway again because you did not use the pass all day. Lol


I do not think that is a valid analogy, since when you purchase an all-day subway pass, you are not contracting in your purchase with the railway provider to use it all day. It permits you to use it all day, but you are not obliged to do so.

The hidden city ticketing is different, because it is forbidden in the conditions of carriage, ie the contract with the airline.


Isn't it the same thing with every ticket? It permits you to fly/ride but it doesn't force you to do so. If you have the right ticket and you don't show, you get a refund.

Many companies write rules in their contracts, well knowing, that they won't stand in court.
 
MSPNWA
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:52 pm

Although airlines have the right to pursue actions against the contract, the contract language itself however is what will be in jeopardy someday.

I think the day is coming when airlines will not be able to punish hidden city ticketing. I really would like to see this go to court one day and have the airlines lose. It would force changes to the airline pricing model against monopolistic behavior.
 
Aptivaboy
Posts: 804
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:48 am

You will note that United is not SUING the alleged "perps", having lost once. It is only using extra-judicial means to harass and punish, such as banishment and harassment with collection agencies.


Exactly, and without a legally enforceable judgment, the collection agencies can call all they want. The "perp" doesn't have to pay. Now, he may be harassed a lot, but again, absent a judgment...
 
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cranberrysaus
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:59 pm

LAXintl wrote:
Airlines should absolutely go after those that try to game the system.

Conditions of carriage and fare rules exist for a reason and each side should be held to their end of the agreement entered in when ticket is purchased.


Won't someone think of the poor airlines???
 
spacecadet
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:58 am

This is like an electronics company selling a Blu-Ray player and a set of speakers in a bundle, the customer buys it and throws out the set of speakers without using them, and the electronics company sues them for not actually using the set of speakers that they purchased.

I'd love to see UA try to take this to court. I don't know who'd win, but contracts don't trump codified law. A person couldn't, just for example, put "I have the right to murder you" in the fine print of a contract to paint their house, murder that client, then claim "but they signed the contract!" in court when they're arrested for murder. They're still going to jail for life. The law is the law, whatever you sign.

A contract can *support* existing law, it can't supplant it. So UA had better be confident that there's no existing law that conflicts with this. I don't know if there is or not, but often companies will try to get away with stuff like this until somebody pushes back.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:41 pm

spacecadet wrote:
This is like an electronics company selling a Blu-Ray player and a set of speakers in a bundle, the customer buys it and throws out the set of speakers without using them, and the electronics company sues them for not actually using the set of speakers that they purchased.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this immortal piece is summarizing it all:

http://joe.biztravelife.com/97/090897.htm

This is apparently, Joe Brancatelli's most famous piece, and deservedly so. written 20+ years ago and still relevant as ever.
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FCOTSTW
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Re: UA Threatens Customers with Collections for using Skipplagged/hidden city ticketing

Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:30 pm

The answer is very easy:

An airline ticket is a contract. Does UA include in its contracts the obligation to complete the ticketed trip or not?

If so, the recipient of that letter is at fault and might face the liability of refunding UA the lost revenue.

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