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.
Take for instance Washington National – Phoenix non-stop.
Book those same one-way tickets with a connection onward to Tucson (that you don’t take) for less.
- United sued in Illinois, and Skiplagged is in New York. United’s lawsuit was thrown out for lack of jurisdiction.
- United’s substantive claim, that Skiplagged was violating its contract of carriage (a contract oddly between the airline and passenger, which Skiplagged was neither) wasn’t ruled on.
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. He asked for $10,000 and raised $81,000. United has not refiled its lawsuit, and the founder of Skiplagged will donate the leftover $23,000 to a travel charity.
It also raised consumer awareness about the practice of throwaway ticketing, so the lawsuit didn’t exactly help United (or other airlines).
At the time of the dismissal, United said:
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. And read the guide.