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  #21  
Old 02 January 2015, 07:27 AM
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Psihala Psihala is offline
 
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Bottom line, of this response: it all really depends on what the customer and airline agree to at time of sale, I suppose. Oh, and then whether the airlines can make a case for some kind of "suborning breach of contract" (or whatever, I'm sure that's not a real thing) against a third party that made no contractual agreement with the airline. Maybe there's some obscure federal law written ostensibly to protect interstate travel that they could base the suit on?
I sold tickets to get people where they were going for the best possible price. Hidden cities were just one option of many depending on what the customer's needs were. There was no breach of contract if I sold a ticket using this method. It was expected of me.

The guy in the OP doesn't sell tickets as far as I can tell. He's just making such routes easier to find. Why is it any more nefarious if a traveler finds out about a hidden city route from a website rather than a travel agent or res agent?

~Psihala
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  #22  
Old 02 January 2015, 07:56 AM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Magdalene View Post
But now there's not enough people to justify the Denver-Seattle leg, even with getting people on standby on the plane?
The airline might actually have to run the aircraft empty continuing to Seattle, because the airframe scheduled from Denver to Seattle is needed in Seattle to make other flight operations?

I suspect the number crunchers know when they can get away with canceling a flight due to traffic load.

As an example. United makes a four times a week flight from Washington Dulles to Kuwait, continuing to Bahrain and then returning to Kuwait to continue back to Washington Dulles. It is about an hour flight from Kuwait to Bahrain and then another hour or so back.

If at the time the flight gets to Kuwait, about 6PM local time, the airline schedulers figure out there are no passengers continuing to Bahrain and none boarding at Bahrain, United might, well, most probably, cancel that roundtrip leg between Kuwait and Bahrain and return to Kuwait, especially if the aircraft has no passengers on those two legs. Yes, I realize that situation being rather unlikely, but could happen.

United's schedulers know the numbers and at some point, if the passenger load along that Kuwait-Bahrain-Kuwait leg is below a certain number of passengers, United might make alternative provisions for those few passengers.

Last edited by UrbanLegends101; 02 January 2015 at 07:59 AM. Reason: adding a thing or two.
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  #23  
Old 02 January 2015, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Psihala View Post
I sold tickets to get people where they were going for the best possible price. Hidden cities were just one option of many depending on what the customer's needs were. There was no breach of contract if I sold a ticket using this method. It was expected of me.
Perhaps, but I suspect it comes down to the fine print. And expected of you by whom? If not the airline itself, but rather a 3rd party travel agency, how confident are you that United or any other airline wouldn't try to make a case against whatever company you worked for if they found out that was a company policy, to knowingly book itineraries that the customer didn't intend to complete with the end result being a diminished return to the airline?

Quote:
The guy in the OP doesn't sell tickets as far as I can tell. He's just making such routes easier to find. Why is it any more nefarious if a traveler finds out about a hidden city route from a website rather than a travel agent or res agent?
That's a question I'm not qualified to answer. Presumably United has attorneys that think thy have sufficient grounds to sue. Or at least threaten to sue. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
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  #24  
Old 02 January 2015, 08:58 AM
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And expected of you by whom? If not the airline itself, but rather a 3rd party travel agency, how confident are you that United or any other airline wouldn't try to make a case against whatever company you worked for if they found out that was a company policy, to knowingly book itineraries that the customer didn't intend to complete with the end result being a diminished return to the airline?
I worked for one of those airlines. They'd have to sue themselves.

~Psihala
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  #25  
Old 02 January 2015, 09:13 AM
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Then presumably United has different business practices.

ETA:
And in fact they are. From United's Contract of Carriage, emphasis mine:
Quote:
J) Prohibited Practices:
1) Fares apply for travel only between the points for which they are published. Tickets may not be purchased and used at fare(s) from an initial departure point on the Ticket which is before the Passenger’s actual point of origin of travel, or to a more distant point(s) than the Passenger’s actual destination being traveled even when the purchase and use of such Tickets would produce a lower fare. This practice is known as “Hidden Cities Ticketing” or “Point Beyond Ticketing” and is prohibited by UA.
2) The purchase and use of round-trip Tickets for the purpose of one-way travel only, known as “Throwaway Ticketing” is prohibited by UA.
3) The use of Flight Coupons from two or more different Tickets issued at round trip fares for the purpose of circumventing applicable tariff rules (such as advance purchase/minimum stay requirements) commonly referred to as “Back-to-Back Ticketing” is prohibited by UA.
K) UA’s Remedies for Violation(s) of Rules - Where a Ticket is purchased and used in violation of the law, these rules or any fare rule (including Hidden Cities Ticketing, Point Beyond Ticketing, Throwaway Ticketing, or Back-to-Back Ticketing), UA has the right in its sole discretion to take all actions permitted by law, including but not limited to, the following:
1) Invalidate the Ticket(s);
2) Cancel any remaining portion of the Passenger’s itinerary;
3) Confiscate any unused Flight Coupons;
4) Refuse to board the Passenger and to carry the Passenger’s baggage, unless the difference between the fare paid and the fare for transportation used is collected prior to boarding;
5) Assess the Passenger for the actual value of the Ticket which shall be the difference between the lowest fare applicable to the Passenger’s actual itinerary and the fare actually paid;
6) Delete miles in the Passenger’s frequent flyer account (UA’s MileagePlus Program), revoke the Passenger’s Elite status, if any, in the MileagePlus Program, terminate the Passenger’s participation in the MileagePlus Program, or take any other action permitted by the MileagePlus Program Rules in UA’s “MileagePlus Rules;” and
7) Take legal action with respect to the Passenger.
But, again, it remains to be seen how successfully United will be able to sue a 3rd party for assisting people in violating their "Contract of Carriage."

Last edited by ASL; 02 January 2015 at 09:24 AM.
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  #26  
Old 02 January 2015, 09:24 AM
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Jay Sorensen, a consultant and former executive with Midwest Airlines, argues that airlines also violate the terms of sale with their customers “and then rely on the customer to write a letter to complain to get that violation addressed.”
Quoted for truth. This is just part of the game, and United apparently just wants to keep all the good cards up their sleeve. I hope United loses this lawsuit.
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  #27  
Old 02 January 2015, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wanderwoman View Post
I hope United loses this lawsuit.
I kind of hope they don't because the logical conclusion would be for them to increase fares, perhaps to eliminate the incentive of hidden city ticketing altogether. Consumers who don't violate the contract will lose out along with those who do.
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  #28  
Old 02 January 2015, 09:37 AM
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Never mind.
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  #29  
Old 02 January 2015, 09:41 AM
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I keep reading the sentence in the terms of service, and trying to figure out what it is saying. I would not recognize that as describing the practice in the OP without someone explaining it more clearly.

ASL, I have to admit to having such a dislike of air travel and the poor treatment of customers by airlines that I am biased. I would be tempted to travel by camel through the snow to avoid flying, if possible. And I don't even mind the flying itself, it's all the other stuff that goes with it. So I probably shouldn't even be posting in this thread. Sorry.
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  #30  
Old 02 January 2015, 10:22 AM
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Oh, we're in agreement there. I also dislike flying and have only flown once domestically in the last 7 years. That one time was because I needed to leave my car inTexas before coming to Bahrain and, dangit all, taking the train back to San Diego would have had me missing my flight from San Diego to BAH.
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  #31  
Old 02 January 2015, 10:36 AM
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I know it really isn't the focus of the article but buying a ticket with the intent to use it as a hidden city can backfire on you if the plane gets diverted due to bad weather or whatever.
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  #32  
Old 02 January 2015, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
You can't. If you miss one leg of your flight, the airline cancels the remainder of your ticket, so in this scenario you wouldn't be able to board the return flight, regardless of whether or not they've re-sold your seat. ... I'm pretty sure that most, if not all, airlines have this rule.
It's almost universal, and normally happens automatically after you no-show. In a mixed airlines ticket, the airline you fail to turn up on will normally autocancel all of their subsequent sectors, but the other airlines might not cancel until much later.
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If you're flying to Thailand, most airlines won't even allow you to board the plane without proof of an outbound plane ticket within the dates of your visa. This is an airline rule, not an immigration rule. It's stupid, and there are many travel websites explaining how to get around these rules and still save money on flights.
It's not an airline rule, it's the airlines forced to impliment the immigration rule for the country you are flying to. Airlines are subject to massive fines, (thousands of dollars) if they bring in a person without a visa or travelling outside the terms of their visa.
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  #33  
Old 02 January 2015, 12:53 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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One of the big problem with hidden-city ticketing, is that you may end up in the city you booked, and not the one you intended!

When irregular operations (IRROPS) occur, the airline reserves the right to re-route you to your booked destination. So if you booked a ticket from New York (NYC) to San Jose (SJC) via San Francisco (SFO) with the intention of not taking the SFO to SJC leg, and that there's a storm in SFO, it's quite conceivable that the airline may re-route via Denver (or other), and you'd end up in San Jose.

OY
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  #34  
Old 02 January 2015, 01:02 PM
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I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this being such a big problem that the airline finds it worthy of a lawsuit. This appeals to a group that flies one way with no luggage, with the knowledge that any deviation from the original flight might completely derail the arrangement. How many people are we talking about here? I guess it's more than I realize, unless United just decided to be a big jerk.
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  #35  
Old 02 January 2015, 01:32 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Originally Posted by wanderwoman View Post
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this being such a big problem that the airline finds it worthy of a lawsuit. This appeals to a group that flies one way with no luggage, with the knowledge that any deviation from the original flight might completely derail the arrangement. How many people are we talking about here? I guess it's more than I realize, unless United just decided to be a big jerk.
It's all about loss of revenue.

If a market (point A to point B) calls for $500 for that route, but you have passengers that fly point A to C via B, and stop at B, and paid $200 for that flight, then you have a loss of revenue for that market.

OY
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  #36  
Old 02 January 2015, 01:37 PM
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They have a lot of loss of revenue because of how crappy the experience of flying is, too, but they don't seem overly concerned about that. I can't imagine they are losing that much revenue from this practice.
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  #37  
Old 02 January 2015, 01:39 PM
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If it cost $500 to fly from A to B, but $200 to fly from A to C with a layover in B that you subsequently bail on rather than continuing to C, how is the airline not price gouging? Surely they could just charge $200 for a ticket from A to B and still make money rather than implementing their Byzantine system of charging more to fly less?
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  #38  
Old 02 January 2015, 01:51 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
If it cost $500 to fly from A to B, but $200 to fly from A to C with a layover in B that you subsequently bail on rather than continuing to C, how is the airline not price gouging? Surely they could just charge $200 for a ticket from A to B and still make money rather than implementing their Byzantine system of charging more to fly less?
It's all about maximizing revenue, and being competitive in a market. If the market is high demand (and low offer) from pts A-B and carries a premium price per mile, and that pts A-C is a lower-demand market (with a high offer), than it stands to reason that the price per mile for that A-C would be lower.

When you're buying a ticket A-C (via B), you're really buying "just" A-C, which happens to be via B. If that day, one of those flights does not operate (due to any reason), the carrier is only liable to get you from A to C, be damned if it's A-X-C instead of A-B-C. That's why if an airline has a larger number of hubs, the risk of falling flat on a hidden-city ticket is higher.

I've done a lot of flying over the last 20 years. I've done hidden city a few times. It's a risk. It's unlikely that you'd end up in court/jail for that, but if you care about your frequent flyer miles, it's possible that you may end with your account being closed.

OY
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  #39  
Old 02 January 2015, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
If a market (point A to point B) calls for $500 for that route, but you have passengers that fly point A to C via B, and stop at B, and paid $200 for that flight, then you have a loss of revenue for that market.
It is the same loss of revenue that the airline would have had if the passenger actually did fly from A to C at the price the airline set when it scheduled the flight from A to C via B. And since weight is fuel and fuel is money, the airline will actually save some money if the passenger doesn't fly from B to C. Not to mention what others said about the airline probably selling the seat to a standby passenger and getting paid twice for one seat.

What this is really about is loss of potential revenue. The airline wants to force the passenger to fly A to B using the ticket that the airline has set at a more expensive price.
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  #40  
Old 02 January 2015, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
What this is really about is loss of potential revenue. The airline wants to force the passenger to fly A to B using the ticket that the airline has set at a more expensive price.
I'm sure that's part of it, but consider that the airline might actually be accepting a loss (for all we know) if every passenger went from A to C via B (or even A to B!) at A to C via B rates and has only permitted such an arrangement because it typically generates a profit ion the A to B and B to C flights with passengers paying the one-leg fare rate, but there are typically several seats left open on both legs, so in order to squeeze just a little extra out (something is better than nothing) it goes ahead and sells A to C via B fares at a significant discount because if it didn't offer it at a reduced care no one in their right mind would EVER willingly fly from A to C via B.
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