Regular readers may be familiar with the indispensable guide to saving money on airfare using hidden city and throwaway tickets.
In the guide I explain how to find extra flights for your ticket that allow you to save money, I outline the risks and how to make best use of the techniques.
Hidden city ticketing is not illegal (and the New York Times “Ethicist” endorses it), but it’s generally against airline rules, and there are some basic practices you need to follow to make sure you or your bags don’t wind up in the wrong city.
- You’re buying a ticket from A to B to C, where A to C is cheaper than buying A to B, but getting off in B.
- You can’t check bags or else they will go to C.
- In the event of weather or cancellations, an airline may want to reroute you to C via a different connecting city (“D”).
Airlines see themselves as selling you a ticket from A to C, rather than a seat on a plane for A-B and also B-C where you have the right not to sit in the B-C seat.
United’s lawsuit against Skiplagged was all over the media at the end of December and that allowed the founder of the site to raise a legal defense fund.
It also raised consumer awareness about the practice of throwaway ticketing, so the lawsuit didn’t exactly help United.
Now two new developments in the case:
- United’s lawsuit against Skiplagged has been dismissed. Because Skiplagged has no presence in Chicago, United can’t sue them there. That won’t prevent them from re-filing, they’ll just have to travel to do it.
- United wants to bluster against someone. So this time, it’s their customers.
We remain troubled that Mr. Zaman continues to openly encourage customers to violate our contract of carriage by purchasing hidden-city tickets, putting the validity of their ticket and MileagePlus status at risk.
Yes, they are warning customers that they’ll find you and shut down your mileage account.
And I’ve always warned that if you do this frequently and put in your mileage number, you do have risk. You may prefer to credit throwaway ticket flights to a partner mileage program instead.