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Why I hidden city ticket

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Oct 11, 2013
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On a number of occasions I've used the controversial practice of "hidden city ticketing". There is only one reason to do this and it is saving big wads of cash. To highlight an example - I want to take a one way J fare from a major US city to a well known South American city using one of the worlds largest airlines. If I pay for the direct flight the cost is between $3.5K to $4.5K but if I use HCT'ing the price falls closer to $1K resulting in a massive saving to me.

If it were a few hundred dollars over the ~$1K price I would be happy to pay but the price they want to charge is crazy. In many ways I liken this to the widespread downloading of torrents in Australia a few years ago. Obviously since the rollout of cheap access to movies/TV via Netflix there has been a huge reduction in Aussie demand for torrents.

Now I know some people are likely to come at me with a rant/warning about Conditions of Carriage but I've done it half a dozen times with no ill effects. The biggest problem may be getting my checked baggage back but I'm pretty sure they cannot let it leave on an international flight without the passenger being on board. For clarity, I will let the staff know as soon as i arrive at my destination that I wont be taking the flight and it's not a tight connection.
 

moa999

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Surprised at that difference. But a bit useless without telling us the actual cities
 
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albatross710

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Rarely arises in Australia. Seems to be mostly a US phenomenon.
I found similar when I was booking a fare to Manila and Hong Kong. Now to see if it is still possible:

One way Brisbane to Manila on 30th August 2019:

PR $555 (Y) PR $2,484 (J)
QF $641 (Y)

One way Brisbane to Hong Kong (via MNL)

PR $356 (Y) PR $1,829 (J)

Quite a few flight options which include an overnight stop in Manila anyway, so if you wanted a one way fare to Manila, book to HK via MNL and walk out happily with your bags.

Generally I have found the through fares through the less popular hubs will yield the HCTs.

Alby
 

MEL_Traveller

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Now I know some people are likely to come at me with a rant/warning about Conditions of Carriage but I've done it half a dozen times with no ill effects. The biggest problem may be getting my checked baggage back but I'm pretty sure they cannot let it leave on an international flight without the passenger being on board. For clarity, I will let the staff know as soon as i arrive at my destination that I wont be taking the flight and it's not a tight connection.
i have no issue with HCT. But the risk is a very real one. The airline can close your account and you lose any FF points. Not a problem if you don't link to an FF account.
 

albatross710

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i have no issue with HCT. But the risk is a very real one. The airline can close your account and you lose any FF points. Not a problem if you don't link to an FF account.
Please explain what is the "real risk" of abandoning a flight that has been paid in full?
 

Hvr

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Please explain what is the "real risk" of abandoning a flight that has been paid in full?

BA have at times repriced tickets to the actual cities flown. There has been discussion about this on FT.
 

offshore171

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On a number of occasions I've used the controversial practice of "hidden city ticketing". There is only one reason to do this and it is saving big wads of cash. To highlight an example - I want to take a one way J fare from a major US city to a well known South American city using one of the worlds largest airlines. If I pay for the
What are the airports in this particular case?
 

MEL_Traveller

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Please explain what is the "real risk" of abandoning a flight that has been paid in full?
Please cite the many many examples of this happening in the real world.
Hidden city ticketing is not illegal - AA states this much publicly. But it is a breach of their terms and conditions. Likewise for BA.

While the airlines may have no legal recourse to prevent the practice, they can discourage it through other means. At its simplest they can refuse to short-check bags. Or they can close your FF account, with the forfeiture of miles and status. Or they can go after the an agent for a re-price (which would then be passed on to the passenger).

UA has also states they are going to actively monitor hidden city ticketing as well.

BA and AA forums elsewhere have examples.

This is unlikely to be an issue as a one-off. But start to do it multiple times and airlines do have options available to them.
 
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Surprised at that difference. But a bit useless without telling us the actual cities
Sorry I cannot hold your hand with this one because this is a live deal and there are consequences if the airline hears me talking about it.

It does come up from time to time in Australia.

E.g. I recently saw a QF J sale fare PER-SYD-AKL for around $1,000. The PER-SYD flight booked as a standalone ticket would have cost ~$2,300.
Sounds similar to one I took a few years ago. At that time I wanted to book a last minute one way ticket PER - MEL a few days before Christmas. The cheapest ticket was nearly $700 but I managed to get PER - CNS via Melbourne for around $300

As someone here mentioned, the trick is to look for a not quite so popular destination that still has multiple flights per day. So if I want to get from PER - SYD/BNE/MEL I would try to find a flight heading to CNS or HBA via the city you actually want to get to.

Obviously things can go wrong such as a disruption causing the plane to fly via a different city but anybody who flys even somewhat regularly knows this happens rarely.

please share next time you see it :p
Flights from PER are usually some of the easiest. Going the opposite direction is hard to find. Do remember that there can be a downside to these flights such as a cancelled FF account
 

MEL_Traveller

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Obviously things can go wrong such as a disruption causing the plane to fly via a different city but anybody who flys even somewhat regularly knows this happens rarely.
I'd agree, with the exception of the USA. Spring and autumn have T-storms. Summer in the south has T-storms. Winter has snow and ice in the north. HCT is a bit of a gamble in the US.
 
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Please explain what is the "real risk" of abandoning a flight that has been paid in full?
Each airline will have slightly differnt conditions of carriage but most will threaten to close your FF account and/or bill you for the higher priced fare. With that in mind you should not do this with an airline you fly regularly

What are the airports in this particular case?
I cannot share the exact airports because I have not flown this yet. If it gets back to the airline it will cost me lots.

If you are looking for these fares just remember that your real intended destination needs to be a popular airport ( think SYD/BNE/LAX/DFW) and the dummy airport is a smaller airport somewhat nearby.
 

blacksultan

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there was a case last year in Germany , Lufthansa I believe where the airline said they would chase the passenger for the difference in fare.
 
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AIRwin

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there was a case last year in Germany , Lufthansa I believe where the airline said they would chase the passenger for the difference in fare.
 

albatross710

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As the article say s"Things didn't quite go as planned for Lufthansa, as the lawsuit was dismissed by the district court in Berlin-Mitte."

Meanwhile, sure "I feel sick. I would like to fly the final leg in two months, what's the change fee please to use this last leg in two months time (within the ticket validity) ?" "Oh wow, that much I don't like that offer, I will allow it to lapse, sorry."

As long as you tell them in advance that you wont be boarding. I think if you have a boarding pass that would cause disruption as they seek out the checked-in pax.

Of course they could offer reasonable ticket terms in the first place.

Alby
 

MEL_Traveller

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Meanwhile, sure "I feel sick. I would like to fly the final leg in two months, what's the change fee please to use this last leg in two months time (within the ticket validity) ?" "Oh wow, that much I don't like that offer, I will allow it to lapse, sorry."

As long as you tell them in advance that you wont be boarding. I think if you have a boarding pass that would cause disruption as they seek out the checked-in pax.

Of course they could offer reasonable ticket terms in the first place.

Alby
You're right. Pax do get sick. Some pax can't always complete their itinerary as planned. Some pax miss flights and they forfeit the rest of the ticket.

But those are infrequent events.

Some airlines are targeting those who make a habit of this. Which is what this thread is about - the OP states they have done it half a dozen times (although maybe not this same route?)

As I've said, I'm not against hidden city ticketing. Or buying a return instead of a one way flight.

But it is not without risks.
 

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