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alasizon
Posts: 1992
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:32 am

bob75013 wrote:
alasizon wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:

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

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



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

https://www.southwest.com/assets/pdfs/c ... rriage.pdf


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

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


Page 8 of the Contract of Carriage.
Manager on Duty & Tower Planner
 
jumbojet
Posts: 2942
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 3:01 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:03 am

I have no status with United, don't even fly them so I have no united miles to call my own. Lets say I should happen to book a flight on United with the intention of flying only a portion of the ticket I book. What are they gonna do to me? Never allow me to fly them again? I have heard of stories where they revoke status or take back miles but what about in the case of an individual with no status and no miles?
 
travaz
Posts: 862
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2001 1:03 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:32 am

jumbojet wrote:
I have no status with United, don't even fly them so I have no united miles to call my own. Lets say I should happen to book a flight on United with the intention of flying only a portion of the ticket I book. What are they gonna do to me? Never allow me to fly them again? I have heard of stories where they revoke status or take back miles but what about in the case of an individual with no status and no miles?

I would not be surprised if the US3 had a list they shared of "Violators "
 
N667US
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:11 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:47 am

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


If I book a trip 1 year away for $200 and 2 months before the flight it goes down to $180, do I lose $20? It's not the customer's job to look after the well-being of the airline. If they're willing to sell a one-way ticket for a two-leg trip, they've already made their profit. If a customer paid me in full to paint their house but asked me to stop after painting the living room, I made more than my expected profit. If I lose money because I charge more to paint a room than their whole house, it's 100% my fault, not the customers', and I should be adjusting my prices so that I make a profit either way.
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1777
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:49 am

Texas77 wrote:
AEROFAN wrote:

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


Live by IAH and then tell me that...


So you are telling me that UA is the only airline that flies out of IAH? Really? Good for you, well keep flying them, but please do shut up about it.
 
jetwet1
Posts: 2938
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:53 am

LAXintl wrote:

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

Ultimately when you buy a fare, you agree to the terms. Just like the airline needs to compensate you for deviations from the agreement, the customer should be held liable for their end of the agreement as well.


There is no loss to the airline by the passenger skipping the B-C leg of a A-B-C routing, sure, if it ever gets to a court room the airline attorney will try and say that the airline could have made xxx by selling the ticket B-C leg to someone else or the customer just booking an A-B ticket, however, in my mind all an attorney has to say is "okay, please call the person who would have purchased that seat as a witness", it can't be done, is there a chance the airline would have sold it, sure, is there a chance they would not, again sure, it's a slippery slope and one you don't want to get on in front of a jury....Who chances are at some point in their lives have been told "there is nothing we can do for you due to XXXX happening that wasn't our fault" by an airline.
 
SanDiegoLover
Posts: 151
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:24 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:55 am

Just one less reason to fly UAL. As if I needed another.
 
afcjets
Posts: 2970
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:58 am

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


Or just like if a restaurant has steak for $30 but has a daily special where you get steak with a salad and drink for $25. If you don't want the salad and throw it away, you are stealing from the restaurant. Same thing totally and the police need to get involved.
 
jetmatt777
Posts: 3965
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:59 am

N667US wrote:
travaz wrote:
I am not defending the Airlines by any means. But if I want to go PHX ORD and the one way ticket is $200.00. If I buy a ticket PHX BDL for $180.00 and get off in ORD United lost $20.00 in revenue.


If I book a trip 1 year away for $200 and 2 months before the flight it goes down to $180, do I lose $20? It's not the customer's job to look after the well-being of the airline. If they're willing to sell a one-way ticket for a two-leg trip, they've already made their profit. If a customer paid me in full to paint their house but asked me to stop after painting the living room, I made more than my expected profit. If I lose money because I charge more to paint a room than their whole house, it's 100% my fault, not the customers', and I should be adjusting my prices so that I make a profit either way.


A more relevant way to look at it is, I will paint your house for a lower price if you can refer me to paint your neighbors house as well. After I paint your house you block my phone number and move to a different address.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
afcjets
Posts: 2970
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:05 am

The best solution for United would be to offer frequent nonstop flights between every possible city pair. They would probably need an additional 1,000,000 aircraft. But this would allow United to compete without having to worry about someone gaming their system.
 
afcjets
Posts: 2970
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:23 am

ethernal wrote:

And any airline that wants to make a big deal about it is not going to make themselves better off. It's bad marketing, it's bad customer service, and it's somewhat driven by I would say overzealous pricing distortions.


It's great marketing, it's perfectly legal and very few people know about it. United is raising awareness and now perhaps more people can take advantage of United's secret discounts. Even though it works at most airlines, people will think of United first.
 
joeljack
Posts: 618
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:38 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:32 am

I needed to go DSM-DEN and United was like $520 one way for a 500 mile trip! I had been looking for months and the price never changed by a penny and my day was flexible! Instead I found a united flight connecting in Denver to Vegas for $89! If United would have just charged $200 or so one-way for the 500 miles, I would never have looked and any other options but pricing at $520 was nothing short of fraud by United. With frontier expanding in DSM United quit this practice and prices are reasonable now for a one-way ticket on this route. That is how you remove hidden city ticketing, don’t commit fraud on prices to begin with but charge a reasonable price!
 
ethernal
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 12:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:40 am

jetmatt777 wrote:
N667US wrote:
travaz wrote:
I am not defending the Airlines by any means. But if I want to go PHX ORD and the one way ticket is $200.00. If I buy a ticket PHX BDL for $180.00 and get off in ORD United lost $20.00 in revenue.


If I book a trip 1 year away for $200 and 2 months before the flight it goes down to $180, do I lose $20? It's not the customer's job to look after the well-being of the airline. If they're willing to sell a one-way ticket for a two-leg trip, they've already made their profit. If a customer paid me in full to paint their house but asked me to stop after painting the living room, I made more than my expected profit. If I lose money because I charge more to paint a room than their whole house, it's 100% my fault, not the customers', and I should be adjusting my prices so that I make a profit either way.


A more relevant way to look at it is, I will paint your house for a lower price if you can refer me to paint your neighbors house as well. After I paint your house you block my phone number and move to a different address.


I think that's not quite right either. The exact metaphor would be something more like - I sold you a service to paint the front and side of your house because I am advertising a special that says I'll do that for $100. On the page before you saw an offer to paint the front of my house for $150. The painter does this because he has discovered that people who only want the front of their house painted are willing to pay more than people who want both the front and the sides painted. To make sure that people don't take advantage of the offer to paint the sides of the house, the painter puts in fine print that if you only want the front painted, you have to pay the the front only price.

You decide to "cheat" the painter and say you want both the front and the sides painted. Well, he paints the front. And because he's already there and doesn't realize until it's too late that you really only need the front painted, he goes ahead and paints the side too, except with a bit less paint (fuel) than before which means it is cheaper for him, unless he happens to find someone who wants to get their sides painted that day too, and so he gets paid for that too.

It sounds silly but that is what it is. The only difference is that with air travel there is a good reason why a passenger would only want the front of their house painted over both the front and the sides.
 
hpff
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:20 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:42 am

Yossarian22 wrote:
Short of something like I discussed above, booking for DAY and getting off at CVG (50 miles/80 KM apart, and even then I would only do it if I were being picked up, as if I parked or car or have a rental car reservation, and my itinerary changes to XXX>ATL>DAY, that’s not great), I don’t find it to be worth the risk of what can happen if my flight is cancelled.


I actually knew someone from Cincinnati who claimed to do this quite often - fly round trip out of DAY connecting in CVG on DL, and on the return leg, just not get on the CVG-DAY flight.

What's interesting is this must actually be a fairly serious problem if United and Lufthansa are publicly going after people who are using it. What's also interesting is that not all failed trips are "hidden city" tickets - I have a couple times used miles to get home on a different airline than the one I booked on after flying the first leg of an itinerary because I didn't want to spend more time in the cities the airline told me I would be unexpectedly spending some time in.
 
alasizon
Posts: 1992
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:55 am

hpff wrote:
What's interesting is this must actually be a fairly serious problem if United and Lufthansa are publicly going after people who are using it. What's also interesting is that not all failed trips are "hidden city" tickets - I have a couple times used miles to get home on a different airline than the one I booked on after flying the first leg of an itinerary because I didn't want to spend more time in the cities the airline told me I would be unexpectedly spending some time in.


Involuntary re-routes typically aren't looked at when it comes to hidden city as you didn't book your trip that way so its not any violation of fare rules. It is courteous however if you let someone at the station know that you aren't taking that last leg so that they can cancel it out of your PNR (and if you have a return trip that you are planning to take, so they can add an ARNK to prevent downline cancellations).
Manager on Duty & Tower Planner
 
nikeherc
Posts: 664
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:40 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:03 am

Folks, purchasing a ticket is entering a contract. Folks flying for business should be careful about trying to game the system. If you violate the terms of a contract for carriage, your employer may frown upon your actions. Your employer doesn’t want their contacts violated and probably considers it a violation of ethics if you violate contract terms with another business such as an airline. Years ago my employer banned booking overlapping round trips to take advantage of Saturday night stay requirements. The airlines price fares the way they do for legal and legitimate business reasons.

I don’t like inverted fare structures any more than you do, but they’re a part of life. If you use hidden city tickets, don’t complain when somebody bends the rules to their benefit and your detriment.
DC6 to 777 and most things in between
 
afcjets
Posts: 2970
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:11 am

nikeherc wrote:
Folks, purchasing a ticket is entering a contract. Folks flying for business should be careful about trying to game the system. If you violate the terms of a contract for carriage, your employer may frown upon your actions. Your employer doesn’t want their contacts violated and probably considers it a violation of ethics if you violate contract terms with another business such as an airline. Years ago my employer banned booking overlapping round trips to take advantage of Saturday night stay requirements. The airlines price fares the way they do for legal and legitimate business reasons.



I doubt someone is going to book a hidden city ticket that their employer pays for, especially if they are large enough to have a pricing contract with an airline. While an airline has legitimate reasons for pricing they way they do, what is the legal reason they price the way they do, other than collecting all applicable taxes and fees?

The problem with their contract is the law does not recognize or enforce a contract for an illegal activity. An airline cannot kidnap you or hold you for ransom in their hub.
 
AWACSooner
Posts: 2479
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:35 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:14 am

Man, I LOVE these threads about hidden city ticketing and the back and forth...it's either the airline apologists that somehow think it's blatant theft (give me a break, you paid for a service you didn't opt to use), or it's the guys who want to stick it to the airlines any way they can (which will ultimately lead to all of us paying even more for s****ier service).

Personally, I want to see someone take the airlines to court and settle this once and for all.
 
BNORD1
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:17 am

This situation (hidden city) is nothing new. It was around in the late 60s/70s. I've seen flights go out 60%, at departure time, that were booked full. I've seen airlines 1)cancel downline, 2)void unused tickets, 3)attempt to ban passengers. Travel agents that issued tickets had their "plates" pulled (authorization to sell a certain airline). The situation has gone in cycles from the beginning of time. First its American, then it was TWA then someone else. They raise a stink for awhile and then it all dies down. Its all in competition pricing and no airline has the guts to up an end to it.
 
AirFrance77W
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:16 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:21 am

AWACSooner wrote:
Personally, I want to see someone take the airlines to court and settle this once and for all.


Never going to happen... the downside for the airlines should they lose in court is multiple orders of magnitude more than any upside they may get from winning. So instead they'll throw a stink every once in while.
 
AWACSooner
Posts: 2479
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:35 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:31 am

AirFrance77W wrote:
AWACSooner wrote:
Personally, I want to see someone take the airlines to court and settle this once and for all.


Never going to happen... the downside for the airlines should they lose in court is multiple orders of magnitude more than any upside they may get from winning. So instead they'll throw a stink every once in while.

Airlines might not want it to happen, but they'll eventually piss off the wrong person who has legal connections (and probably deep pockets) that will eventually force the issue.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 3944
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:53 am

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


No, it ain't like that.

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

Is that stealing? No, of course it isn't. It's just not consuming part of a product you've paid for, which is legal. It's the store who is to blame for selling that 2 liter bottle cheaper than a 1 liter bottle.

This is nothing different. It's the airline who is to blame for selling a 2-leg flight cheaper than a 1-leg flight. The customer is fully within it's rights for only consuming half of the product, no matter if that product is a bottle of cola or a flight ticket.

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

I’m not defending the practice, just pointing out that there is a cost to the airline. For peeps to suggest otherwise just because they don’t like or agree with the practice is silly.


No, there is no revenue loss to the airline. The customer paid for a service and fraudulently uses a service that the airline charges more for, that's true. Keep in mind, I'm not saying it's a more expensive service like you do. Actually for the airline it's a cheaper service, they only charge a higher price for it.

The revenue loss is entirely to blame on the airline as they shouldn't have sold it below cost price.
 
slcdeltarumd11
Posts: 4390
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:55 am

I don't feel bad for united they encouraged that site with crazy fares. The classic route was EWR-DEN it was always $400-$650 in advance for the non-stop when they ran a monopoly . Southwest crashed N/S fares on ubited. More than halved them. Let's hope they don't go nuts again! Now that southwest is leaving.

Crazy surcharge. Easy to get $129-$149 with a hidden city on any day or time on those same flights . United encouraged people to do hidden city deals because the N/S prices were predatory. If united hadn't been so crazy high people wouldn't have found the need to make a site and people wouldn't use it in as high volume as they did.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 3944
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:59 am

afcjets wrote:
The best solution for United would be to offer frequent nonstop flights between every possible city pair. They would probably need an additional 1,000,000 aircraft. But this would allow United to compete without having to worry about someone gaming their system.


Or they could just accept that one-stops are more expensive and charge more for them. If that puts customers in the hands of competitors, then so be it.

The whole hidden cities issue is caused by the idea that there is an additional value in a one-stop flight and therefor they have the right to sell that more expensive. However a direct flight costs them less. If airlines let go of that idea and start charging more for connections and less for direct flights, it'll soon be over with the hidden cities.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 3944
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:07 am

travaz wrote:
I would not be surprised if the US3 had a list they shared of "Violators "


Wouldn't such a list be illegal? Should the government find out about such a list, good chance they put an end to it.
 
strfyr51
Posts: 3981
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:04 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:11 am

HPAEAA wrote:
zuckie13 wrote:
Spiderguy252 wrote:
It's far easier to police this by adjusting the relevant prices than it is to ask staff to manually check every pax as he/she is deplaning.


Pricing is the way it is so airlines can foster demand. Moving away from that pricing policy may hurt their bottom line so don't count on that changing.
It's up to the airlines how to enforce it, but it is in the rules you agree to when buying the ticket that you won't do this, so they are in their rights to "get you".

Personally I think this is just another self inflicted wound for United’s public image and probably just a matter of time before it blows up again.. as long as they have large pricing variances on the same inventory creating this incentive, people will use it. I’m curious how large the “damages” they think they incur are... I have 2 hypothesis on this both untested - 1. The majority of the folks who take advantage of this wouldn’t purchase any ticket if this weren’t an option... and 2. Given UAs hub structure, they are more exposed than other carriers and that’s the reason they’re leading the charge..

I have an idea. Do NOT discount the ticket under 3% then a hidden city detour won't cost anything. And if the Plane is oversold at the terminating end? OH Well!! Even if it's full of Non-revs.
 
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usdcaguy
Posts: 1366
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:41 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:15 am

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


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


Except it doesn’t work that way. By merging, the US3 have eliminated competitors across the country and are free to charge what they like, and they match each other in a heartbeat 90% of the time if they are so able. The only recourse the passenger has is choosing the carrier with the lowest available inventory, and often there are only 1-2 itineraries at that price point, leaving leisure passengers little choice, unless they’re willing to pay considerably more to fly another carrier. Pretending most leisure passengers can make choices based on peripherals is pure fantasy.
 
77H
Posts: 1501
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:00 am

ethernal wrote:
77H wrote:
Name me one nonstop route or market that UA has a monopoly on ? The only one that readily comes to mind is ITO which is only served by UA.


You're joking, right?

SFO to.. pretty much any smaller market. I don't think AA, DL, or WN fly SFO-Tuscon for example.

I'm obviously talking about monopoly on nonstop routes, not the only airline to service the station.


No I’m not joking. I was asking for examples of nonstop flights that people are likely to employ the hidden ticket fare scheme. So for instance, TUS-SFO-SEA where the desired city is SFO. While you’re right, that UA is the only airline that flies TUS-SFO, WN and AS serve the same market. So why employ this scheme when there are other options? If you are willing to employ this scheme, it’s likely you’re chasing the low fare. People chasing low fares are often less concerned about the convenience of 1 airport over another within the same market.

But this is beside the point. The premise under which people are most likely to employ this scheme is on high demand routes where UA or another carrier can get top dollar. So the premise is that one would buy ORD-SFO-TUS instead of buy ORD-SFO because the airline is likely to offer a lower fare through to TUS to stimulate demand on the SFO-TUS leg, rather than the ORD-SFO leg. Which brings me to my original point that UA doesn’t have a monopoly on ORD-SFO. So instead of buying a ticket to TUS, why not use another carrier that operates nonstop or use a carrier that gets you to that market.

I’m trying to look at this from the stand point that anyone looking to employ the hidden city scheme would likely have to plug in numerous city pairs while ensuring the connection point is the hidden city you truly want to go to. Seems like time consuming work when one could check AA, DL, NK or even WN out of MDW...

77H
 
albert648
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:07 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:34 am

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

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


That is NOT theft. If you buy a one-year gym membership and only use 6 months of that year, that is your right as well as your prerogative. You've purchased transportation services from ABC-JKL-XYZ. You are entitled to a seat on an aircraft travelling from ABC-JKL-XYZ, particularly when the flights are itemized on your itinerary. You are therefore entitled to exercise all, some or none of that entitlement, and that is the consumer's sole prerogative.

An offer of services was made by the airline to transport the passenger from ABC-JKL-XYZ. This offer was accepted by the passenger, and the services were paid for. This gives the passenger certain rights, privileges and immunities and the airline certain obligations (e.g. an obligation on the airline's part to deliver on the offer, and the right on the passenger's part to require the airline to deliver the services). If the passenger chooses not to exercise their rights, the airline has no right to force the passenger to do so. Conversely, the passenger is not entitled to a refund of the unperformed services as the services they were entitled to were performed but they did not exercise that entitlement. No other vendor of services is allowed to do any such thing, if the customer chooses not to exercise their entitlements, so be it.
 
albert648
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:07 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:53 am

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


Not necessarily, you could have flown American, which offered a one-way fare of $180 or Delta via somewhere else or Southwest. It's just about impossible to prove that you would have flown with United anyway if the alternative of booking PHX-ORD-BDL was not available to you.

To prove theft, the complainant must prove intent. No DA will ever go after you for theft because proving intent to use services you were not entitled to, particularly doing so beyond all reasonable doubt, is impossible. And no jury would award United anything in a civil trial either...in fact, they risk having the CoC provision that requires you to use all services purchased voided as unconscionable. That does not fly under any reasonable interpretation of contract law. The entitlement to service is yours to dispose of it how you see fit. It's irrelevant if you only intended to use only a part of it to begin with because it's not illegal. It's not your fault if they priced a larger bundle of services at a lesser cost than a smaller bundle of services.
Last edited by albert648 on Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
JWKIII
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:58 am

jetmatt777 wrote:
I think a fun policy once a hidden city customer is identified is to upgrade them to F class but on a different routing and see what their reaction is.

“Mr. Smith, we have upgraded you to F today however you will be routed through IAH instead of DEN on your way to LAS.” But I was only trying to get to DEN!


Love that suggestion. It would be a classy way of telling a passenger that the airline is aware of them playing the system without having to fear bad publicity! Simply brilliant.
 
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DarkSnowyNight
Posts: 2349
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:59 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:00 am

JWKIII wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
I think a fun policy once a hidden city customer is identified is to upgrade them to F class but on a different routing and see what their reaction is.

“Mr. Smith, we have upgraded you to F today however you will be routed through IAH instead of DEN on your way to LAS.” But I was only trying to get to DEN!


Love that suggestion. It would be a classy way of telling a passenger that the airline is aware of them playing the system without having to fear bad publicity! Simply brilliant.


What? No, that's an entirely stupid idea.
"Ya Can't Win, Rocky! There's no Oxygen on Mars!"
"Yeah? That means there's no Oxygen for him Neither..."
 
Virtual737
Posts: 630
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:16 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:10 am

I think it is amazing that an airline can claim that the passenger lost them revenue because:

1.) They were already prepared to sell the ticket including the hidden city leg for a certain price, and the customer paid that price.

2.) The airline had the opportunity to sell the hidden city seat (which had already been paid for) again as soon as it was obvious that the customer was a no show.

3.) We already know that airlines overbook. Had the customer turned up for the hidden city leg and was told they could not fly... again the airlines want the benefit on all sides.

4.) The airline is making the assumption that there would have been a customer for that hidden city seat at the higher price. Again, airlines overbook. Are you seriously telling me that the airline would not have sold that seat anyway (ie overbooked)?
 
JWKIII
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:12 am

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
JWKIII wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
I think a fun policy once a hidden city customer is identified is to upgrade them to F class but on a different routing and see what their reaction is.

“Mr. Smith, we have upgraded you to F today however you will be routed through IAH instead of DEN on your way to LAS.” But I was only trying to get to DEN!


Love that suggestion. It would be a classy way of telling a passenger that the airline is aware of them playing the system without having to fear bad publicity! Simply brilliant.


What? No, that's an entirely stupid idea.


Why do you think so? Some more context please.

Btw: Just because it is a brilliant idea does not mean that I honestly think any airline would ever do that! But it is brilliant. If the airline's analysis of the passenger is wrong and the pax actually wants to go to LAS, well the pax will be happy and the airline's loss is marginal. If the airline is right, however, the passenger will have a very hard time to explain the reason not to accept that upgrade! At the same time the airline is not making the pax losing his face and thus there will be no risk of a public shitstorm! I could actually imagine something like that happening in Japan, except that in Japan I cannot see passengers trying to trick the system.
 
Yossarian22
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:25 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:15 am

hpff wrote:
Yossarian22 wrote:
Short of something like I discussed above, booking for DAY and getting off at CVG (50 miles/80 KM apart, and even then I would only do it if I were being picked up, as if I parked or car or have a rental car reservation, and my itinerary changes to XXX>ATL>DAY, that’s not great), I don’t find it to be worth the risk of what can happen if my flight is cancelled.


I actually knew someone from Cincinnati who claimed to do this quite often - fly round trip out of DAY connecting in CVG on DL, and on the return leg, just not get on the CVG-DAY flight.

What's interesting is this must actually be a fairly serious problem if United and Lufthansa are publicly going after people who are using it. What's also interesting is that not all failed trips are "hidden city" tickets - I have a couple times used miles to get home on a different airline than the one I booked on after flying the first leg of an itinerary because I didn't want to spend more time in the cities the airline told me I would be unexpectedly spending some time in.


I only had an itinerary that allowed for that to happen once, and my inbound flight to CVG was so late, that I was able to convince the CSA to let me end my journey at CVG. The problem was, it took more than an hour for Delta to deliver our bags, as they simply chucked them into a misconnection room, and some employee had to search for our two specific suitcases.
 
Virtual737
Posts: 630
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:16 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:20 am

JWKIII wrote:
DarkSnowyNight wrote:
JWKIII wrote:

Love that suggestion. It would be a classy way of telling a passenger that the airline is aware of them playing the system without having to fear bad publicity! Simply brilliant.


What? No, that's an entirely stupid idea.


Why do you think so? Some more context please.

Btw: Just because it is a brilliant idea does not mean that I honestly think any airline would ever do that! But it is brilliant. If the airline's analysis of the passenger is wrong and the pax actually wants to go to LAS, well the pax will be happy and the airline's loss is marginal. If the airline is right, however, the passenger will have a very hard time to explain the reason not to accept that upgrade! At the same time the airline is not making the pax losing his face and thus there will be no risk of a public shitstorm! I could actually imagine something like that happening in Japan, except that in Japan I cannot see passengers trying to trick the system.


I'd see the funny side of it and would probably congratulate the airline. Its a wonderful idea.
 
offloaded
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:56 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:11 am

Easy for United or any other airline to fix. Hidden deep in the terms and conditions that nobody bothers to read but just clicks the box to agree to them anyway, you have a line saying that if you don't complete the itinerary as purchased, you agree to having the ticket repriced and your credit card charged accordingly.
To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3961
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:57 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
afcjets wrote:
The best solution for United would be to offer frequent nonstop flights between every possible city pair. They would probably need an additional 1,000,000 aircraft. But this would allow United to compete without having to worry about someone gaming their system.


Or they could just accept that one-stops are more expensive and charge more for them. If that puts customers in the hands of competitors, then so be it.

The whole hidden cities issue is caused by the idea that there is an additional value in a one-stop flight and therefor they have the right to sell that more expensive. However a direct flight costs them less. If airlines let go of that idea and start charging more for connections and less for direct flights, it'll soon be over with the hidden cities.


What’s wrong with your analysis is that it is NOT cheaper to operate the non-stop. It’s more expensive, as a system, because they operate a hub to make more city-pairs available to the public and the non-stop doesn’t contribute to the hub operation. Yes, the individual flight is cheaper, but the overall system loses revenue and the public would eventually lose city-pair choices.
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 3222
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:07 pm

SL1200MK2 wrote:
This has me wondering, however, if one were take it even a step further. Say for instance, you booked a one-way SFO-EWR far in advance during a sale. Let’s say it was $129. As time passes, the fare goes up dramatically, and I never take the flight. Would united be upset because they could have sold that ticket for more? Obviously this is an obtuse hypothetical, but it seems like the same concept.


This comes to the crux of airline profits. They count on reselling seats which have been sold, and will not be used. Change fees and unused fares (as well as other strange fees) are an intrinsic pathway to profits at this time. I have mixed feelings, airlines need to make a profit, margins are thin, and they have scrambled out of bankruptcy more times than are healthy. But the current pricing model, compared to times of yore can leave a customer feeling like the enemy. The percentage of flights in which I have felt a bit like the enemy while it is not a majority has been far too high. Hence I bend toward vacations that do not involve flying. My kids fly all the time and have status, they report far fewer cases of feeling like the enemy, but not zero.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
ethernal
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 12:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:16 pm

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


This is exactly right (although with a caveat - they would need to put it in big, obvious bold text that would be almost impossible to miss - they could not bury it into T&Cs that customers will never read). This would be entirely acceptable to (a) credit card companies and (b) regulatory bodies and (c) the courts. When terms are made clear and obvious, things change from a consumer rights perspective. So, if hidden city ticketing is a problem, why doesn't United do it?

Simple. Because customers would be outraged at the perceived insanity of pricing.

Of course airlines have a reason to do it (the perceived pricing insanity). And as others have noted above, this is the nature of a transportation network and eliminating this "feature" would potentially make some routes unprofitable and, therefore, remove service as a whole. Although, let's not be too silly - it is all about profit, and this is one of the airline's primary ways of driving profit. But consumers are fickle, and they'll (rightly, to an extent) just get confused and it would reduce ticket sale pullthrough.

There are other complexities here as well (if they outline that as an "offer", they are probably creating a legal obligation to fly you via that specific route which is something they wouldn't want - and also because they do not control all of the booking channels and so implementing it is difficult). The point stands, there are simple solutions that would eliminate hidden city pricing should they choose to do so. Until United (or other airlines) take those actions, consumers will continue to take advantage of this "loophole", and I say, more power to them.
 
Brickell305
Posts: 724
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:19 pm

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

Good luck with that. They’d be opening themselves up to lawsuits for something that next to no judge would allow to be enforced. Precisely because it’s well known that people don’t actually read the CoC and just click on it, it will be held to a standard of reasonable expectation. Absolutely no one would reasonably expect to be charged more for missing a flight. That would never hold up.
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 3222
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:20 pm

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


Now just where did you toss those 6 eggs, and per chance did they hit anyone!
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
ethernal
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 12:09 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:28 pm

Brickell305 wrote:
offloaded wrote:
Easy for United or any other airline to fix. Hidden deep in the terms and conditions that nobody bothers to read but just clicks the box to agree to them anyway, you have a line saying that if you don't complete the itinerary as purchased, you agree to having the ticket repriced and your credit card charged accordingly.

Good luck with that. They’d be opening themselves up to lawsuits for something that next to no judge would allow to be enforced. Precisely because it’s well known that people don’t actually read the CoC and just click on it, it will be held to a standard of reasonable expectation. Absolutely no one would reasonably expect to be charged more for missing a flight. That would never hold up.


It would hold up but only if made clear in the actual transaction flow - i.e., on the same page as you are making your booking in an obvious location and before you press "pay". You are 100% right that it could not be buried in the T&Cs.
 
mia
Posts: 879
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 1:40 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:35 pm

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


Although I can see your point. I always thought it was ridiculous that the lowest fare on United requires the most employee contact. You cant check in online, you have to check in in person and early. Its ridiculous considering the solution is to train gate staff to handle scofflaws effectively, somehow Spirit airlines manages. But yeah, they are very draconian. What is Security going to do that they already cant find out by running lists of passengers that fail to board connecting flights. They know how those passengers are, they know how many times the offenders have done it, they know their addresses, payments methods, phone numbers, etc. What is corporate security going to do with a report from front line staff? The more you squeeze, the more people will slip through your fingers.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
 
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flyingclrs727
Posts: 2475
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:47 pm

Well it's pretty much impossible to take advantage of hidden city pricing with checked baggage. Maybe the airlines should require a checked bag go to the ticketed destination.
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 2113
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:56 pm

AEROFAN wrote:

Fraudulent used a more expensive service, you said, How so? Which part of the service is more expensive? Is the water being served different, more expensive? Does the seat change? More fuel used?Different air? Do you get different food? What makes this more expensive?


Ummm, yeah, slow clap. You talking about *airline* costs, those are irrelevant in this equation, airlines don't use a "cost +" model (very few vendors do). Please try to follow along.

Filght XXX-YYY is say $500 one-way. Flight XXX-YYY-ZZZ is $300. If customer pays $300 to travel XXX-YYY-ZZZ, but intentionally only flies XXX-YYY, the airline has lost $200. It really is that simple. I can't believe I had to explain this, again.

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

AEROFAN wrote:
London historically generally has always had the highest HIP and airlines charge you the premium because they can get away with it. If they can get away with charging you a premium simply based on popularity of a demand for a destination and because they can, there should be nothing stopping a customer from trying to get the best deal possible and beat the airlines at their games.


You agree to a contract and then break said contract, there are (or can be) consequnces

AEROFAN wrote:
Kudos to all passengers who do this.


As I said before, just because one doesn't agree or like the rules, doesn't change the fact that it does cost airlines money.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
OneX123
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:08 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:57 pm

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


Ohhhh would you quite it. All customers have a choice in who they fly with. If you don't like United's basic economy policy, spend the extra $50 or so dollars to fly standard economy. If you don't have the $50, try to fly Southwest, or American, or Spirit, or your beloved Delta. 'Stalinist state security system'? You have options when you fly buddy -- simmer down.
 
afcjets
Posts: 2970
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:59 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
afcjets wrote:
The best solution for United would be to offer frequent nonstop flights between every possible city pair. They would probably need an additional 1,000,000 aircraft. But this would allow United to compete without having to worry about someone gaming their system.


Or they could just accept that one-stops are more expensive and charge more for them. If that puts customers in the hands of competitors, then so be it.

The whole hidden cities issue is caused by the idea that there is an additional value in a one-stop flight and therefor they have the right to sell that more expensive. However a direct flight costs them less. If airlines let go of that idea and start charging more for connections and less for direct flights, it'll soon be over with the hidden cities.


The system is working exactly as designed. United (US3) makes the most money by pricing the way they do and staying competitive on a systemwide basis and where fares to and from fortress hubs are often higher in markets that lack ULCC competition, and the loss of revenue from hidden cities is not enough for United to change their pricing (or fleet or hub) strategy.
 
mia
Posts: 879
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 1:40 am

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:03 pm

77H wrote:
Name me one nonstop route or market that UA has a monopoly on ?



Most destinations from EWR are served without competition, and don't give me this the BuT JfK oR lGa oFfEr SeRvIcE tO ThOsE dEsTiNaTiOnS.

Furthermore, some routes from EWR are without competition in the general metro region:

PQI
YQB
EYW
MTJ
PVD
PNS
GUA
SJD
SNA
SKB
ALB

and so on.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
 
UpNAWAy
Posts: 553
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:42 pm

Re: United going after hidden-city travellers

Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:04 pm

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