Hidden-city Ticketing?

Alright so I might be a bit behind on this one but everyones always told me Im an analogue guy living in a digital world. Maybe you’ve heard of this but maybe you haven’t; its called hidden-city ticketing. In a nutshell, it is booking¬†a connection flight though the major airport (that is actually your destination) but your ticket is for a connection to smaller city. When you arrive at the major city, you disembark and leave your connection ticket at the airport.

Example: I need to fly from LA to Houston. If I book LA to Orlando with a connection in Houston, it is cheaper by about 70$ than if I booked LA to Houston. When I arrive in Houston I simply leave the airport 70$ in the plus.

While this is an old trick for insiders, it came into the light a few years ago when a 22 year old genius made a website called Skiplagged that would find the hidden-city ticket you need. Now he’s being sued by United and Orbitz for reimbursement of lost revenue. Its official, the gloves are off in the war of cheap airfare.

When I first read this, I was over the moon with excitement, as I myself am not the wealthiest of individuals. It makes so much sense, why did I think of this before. However upon reading up further on it, its really not all sunshine and rainbows. USA Today posted an article and broke down the negatives of it.

A few of the points being


5. Plus, hidden-city ticketing can backfire. Consider the scenario where your L.A. to New York flight via Chicago suddenly gets rerouted via Denver. You’ll be stuck with a useless airfare with no recourse.

6. Not all airlines prohibit hidden-city ticketing, but those that do have been known to kick passengers out of their frequent-flier programs for using the tactic too often, and they’ve also charged agents for the higher fare when tickets have been arranged through travel agencies. That’s one reason why Orbitz is joining with United to sue Skiplagged: Skiplagged was using Orbitz to monetize its fares, so Orbitz ended up unintentionally selling hundreds of hidden-city tickets, which presumably puts it in breach of its contract with United.

7. You can’t check bags on hidden-city trips (your bag will be checked on the to final destination). And if you’re thinking that you can get by with a carry-on, what if the flight attendant insists there’s no more room in the overhead bins and grabs your bag for gatechecking to that final destination? Kiss your airfare — or your bag — goodbye.


So there you have it folks, as George Hobica stated “All’s fair in love and airfares”.

You can read the full article here

Photo cred: David McNew

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