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FAQ: Skipping Segment - Hidden City / Point Beyond / Throw Away Ticketing (master thd

FAQ: Skipping Segment - Hidden City / Point Beyond / Throw Away Ticketing (master thd

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Old Sep 16, 20, 12:42 pm   -   Wikipost
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FAQ: "Missing" or "Skipping Segments": Hidden City / Point Beyond and Throw Away Ticketing
Q.What will happen if I "skip" a segment?

A. Skipping an intermediate or end segment is most often referred to as "Hidden City / Point Beyond Ticketing" by American Airlines, and “skiplagging” by others; doing so invalidates the contract you have with AA regarding your ticket. AA will at least cancel the remaining segments. If the reason for missing a segment is to drop the last segment to save money on a more expensive ticket to the intermediate destination, it is called a "Hidden City / Point Beyond" ticket. American Airlines states, in the Conditions of Carriage (and more existentially in Tariff Rule 100AA):

American specifically prohibits the practices commonly known as:

Hidden City/Point Beyond Ticketing
: Purchase of a fare from a point before the passenger's actual origin or to a point beyond the passenger's actual destination.
Link to American Airlines Conditions of Carriage, Ticket Validity.

Q. What about buying a round trip and not flying the return?

"Throw away" ticketing, that is purchasing a less expensive round trip ticket with the intent of not flying the return segments ("throwing away" the return tickets) is similarly frowned upon, but may be acted upon - particularly if this becomes frequent or a pattern

Q. Do American Airlines Corporate Security / AAdvantage Fraud have people and algorithms running in the background that check for these?

Assuredly, yes. Can people be found liable for fees and/or lose their accounts / status / miles? Yes, we have had many reports on FT, and the risk increases for repeaters. Can people be criminally or civilly prosecuted? Doubtful. (Link to article on Contract Fraud.)

Q. Would I get in trouble skipping the final segment?

A. Possibly not, if you don't do this on other than the rare occasion, but there is risk.

Q. Can I short check my baggage?

A. In most cases, you may find it difficult, unless you have an overnight connection, must retrieve your baggage for customs or because your connection does not offer interlining of baggage.

Q. Will I get my EQ and Award Miles.

You will likely accrue miles for the segments you actually flew. But “skiplagging” could result in miles confiscation and potentially account closure.

Q. Can I claim the residual value for the unused segment?

Au contraire; with a hidden city / point beyond ticket, you owe AA money under their rules. United and Lufthansa have billed skiplaggers, AA may have.

Q. What has AA said they can do to me about hidden city or throwaway ticketing?

“Passengers who attempt to use hidden city tickets may be denied boarding, have the remainder of their ticket confiscated and may be assessed the difference between the fare paid and the lowest applicable fare.”

A highly recommended article on this topic is 3 Words on Hidden City Ticketing: Don’t Do It (link) from ExpertFlyer, 27 Feb 2019.

Archived older posts may be read here.

For Conditions of Carriage - Ticket Validity and Letter used by AA:

AA Hidden City and Point Beyond Ticketing:

Skipping an intermediate or end segment is referred to as "Hidden City / Point Beyond Ticketing" by American Airlines, and doing so invalidates the contract you have with AA regarding your ticket. AA will generally cancel the remaining segments, and if it is dropping the last segment to save money on a more expensive ticket to the intermediate destination, it is called the "Hidden City" ticket.

The entire Conditions of Carriage, the contract that governs your ticket (in additon to the Detailed Fare Rules attached to your fare class and readable prior to purchase), are here: CONDITIONS OF CARRIAGE.

The specific language regarding Hidden City and Point Beyond Ticketing is here:
TICKET VALIDITY - COMPLIANCE WITH TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SALE

Tickets are valid for travel only when used in accordance with all terms and conditions of sale. Terms and conditions of sale include but are not limited to:
  1. The passenger's itinerary, as stated on the ticket or in the passenger's reservation record,
    • Any requirement that the passenger stay over a specified date or length of time (for example, Saturday night or weekend) at the destination specified on the ticket.
      • Any special purpose or status (for example, age in the case of senior citizen or children's discounts, military status in the case of a military fare, official government business in the case of a government fare, or attendance at a qualified event in the case of a meeting or convention fare) that entitles the passenger to a special or reduced rate, or
        • Any other requirement associated with the passenger's fare level.


Unless a ticket is reissued by American or its authorized agent upon payment of applicable charges, or an authorized representative of American waives applicable restrictions in writing, a ticket is invalid:
  1. If used for travel to a destination other than that specified on the ticket,
    • If the passenger fails to comply with applicable stay-over requirements,
      • If the passenger does not meet the purpose or status requirement associated with the fare category on the ticket, or
        • If American determines that the ticket has been purchased or used in a manner designed to circumvent applicable fare rules.


American specifically prohibits the practices commonly known as:

Back to Back Ticketing: The combination of two or more roundtrip excursion fares end to end for the purpose of circumventing minimum stay requirements.

Throwaway Ticketing: The usage of roundtrip excursion fare for one-way travel, and

Hidden City/Point Beyond Ticketing: Purchase of a fare from a point before the passenger's actual origin or to a point beyond the passenger's actual destination.

Duplicate and Impossible/Illogical Bookings: Duplicate or impossible/illogical American Airlines bookings are prohibited without prior authorization from American Airlines. A duplicate or impossible/illogical booking includes, but is not limited to, bookings for the same passenger on flights traveling on or about the same date between one or more of the same or nearby origin and/or destination (such as JFKDFW and LGADFW or DFWLAX and DFWONT), or bookings with connections that depart before the arrival of the inbound flight.

Fraudulent, Fictitious and Abusive Bookings: Fraudulent, fictitious and/or abusive bookings are prohibited. These types of bookings are defined as any bookings made without having been requested by or on behalf of the named passenger. Additionally, creating bookings to hold or block seats for the purpose of obtaining lower fares, AAdvantage award inventory, or upgrades that may not otherwise be available, or to circumvent any of American Airlines' fare rules or policies, is prohibited without prior authorization from American Airlines.

Where a ticket is invalidated as the result of the passenger's non-compliance with any term or condition of sale, American has the right in its sole discretion to:
  1. Cancel any remaining portion of the passenger's itinerary,
    • Confiscate unused flight coupons,
      • Refuse to board the passenger or check the passenger's luggage, or
        • Assess the passenger for the reasonable remaining value of the ticket, which shall be no less than the difference between the fare actually paid and the lowest fare applicable to the passenger's actual itinerary


Sample letter from American Airlines on Hidden City Ticketing:

Dear ,

Let me take the opportunity to clarify American Airlines position on hidden city or point beyond ticketing. Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical (sic). It is tantamount to switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores. Passengers who attempt to use hidden city tickets may be denied boarding, have the remainder of their ticket confiscated and may be assessed the difference between the fare paid and the lowest applicable fare.

Because we compete with other airlines with different route structures, we sometimes find it necessary to give a traveler who is traveling beyond a connecting point a better price than travelers who are just traveling to the connecting point. For example, a passenger who is traveling to Austin, Texas from Los Angeles can go on one airline via Phoenix for a price that is lower than the cost of traveling on American between Los Angeles and Dallas. If we want to offer the same price to Austin as the other airline, but the only way we can get travelers there is via Dallas, we find ourselves charging the Austin passengers less than the Dallas passengers.

Although the issuance and usage of hidden city tickets is not illegal in the sense that one could be fined or sent to jail by the government, it is unethical and a breach of a passengers (sic) contract with AA. Both tariff rule 100AA and American's Condition of Carriage, which are incorporated into every ticket sold by American as part of our agreement to carry the passenger named on the ticket, bar hidden city ticketing. In addition, it violates the agencies' contract to act as an agent for American Airlines.

If American Airlines continues to lose revenue as a result of hidden city transactions, the fares we charge must inevitably rise.

Sincerely,

In August 2020 AA went after user HappyInTheAir561 for Hidden City Ticketing, demanding payment of $2,500 or permanent closure of his AAdvantage account and loss of 600,000 miles balance. Below is the letter (missing is the 2,500 quote), and there is an entire thread about it here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...rmination.html The user says he ultimately paid the money.
Mr. XXXX,

As an analyst with American Airlines, one of my responsibilities is investigating violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. An audit of your AAdvantage account, determined that you have engaged in the practice known as ‘Hidden City ticketing’; the purchase of a fare to a point beyond your actual destination. Hidden city ticketing is explicitly defined in AA’s Conditions of Carriage as a violation of ticket validity. The Terms and Conditions of the AAdvantage program further state that compliance with the Conditions of Carriage is compulsory for participation in the AAdvantage program. As such, AAdvantage account XXXXXX is restricted, pending the outcome of our investigation. You may review the terms and conditions of the AAdvantage ® program (several parts of the terms and conditions are noted below) by clicking the link below or by copying and pasting it into your browser.

The audit of your account XXXXXwas completed on August xx, 2020. The following reservations were not issued in compliance with the AAdvantage Terms & Conditions, Conditions of Carriage or AA.com Site Usage policy:

52 HIDDEN CITY TICKETS (Included each one of the flights they believe is a hidden city ticket)

Not unlike other commodities, airline seats are market priced. A seat on a non-stop flight is a premium product and commands a higher price. Seats in connecting markets must be priced competitively and hence can be substantially cheaper. The ill-effects of point beyond ticketing are two-fold; the customer receives the flight for a price for which they aren’t entitled and a seat is spoiled on the separate connecting flight. An airline ticket constitutes a contract and the terms of that contract are stated explicitly in the Conditions of Carriage. Please see excerpts below.

Mr.XXXXX, these actions have resulted in clear and considerable losses to American Airlines. In addition to our loss for the travel provided, tickets booked through prohibited practices are considered fraudulent, and therefore not eligible to accrue mileage. In this case, our loss is further compounded through the Elite mileage accruals, benefits, and services used that were not otherwise available. Generally, violations of this nature subject the AAdvantage account to termination. However, we are willing to provide you with an opportunity to restore an equitable relationship through restitution for the loss on your identified travel.

You may respond to this message by 3pm, CST, Friday, August 31, 2020 stating you would like to bring your account back to good standing. At that time, the segments will be re-priced based on your intended travel and we will send you the information so that you may make the appropriate reimbursement for the travel provided. Failure to return the account to good standing or to reply, will result in the termination of your AAdvantage® membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage® miles in your account and any award tickets issued from it.




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Old Dec 3, 17, 7:17 am
  #181  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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AA doesn’t fly OAK to LAX. You’d have to route via PHX to do that routing on AA.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 4:38 pm
  #182  
 
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So booking A-B-C and skipping the B-C leg, doing this just once shouldn't be an issue and I should even receive the EQM for the A-B segment using my FF#?
​​​​​​
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Old Jan 27, 18, 4:50 pm
  #183  
 
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Originally Posted by KmKx151 View Post
So booking A-B-C and skipping the B-C leg, doing this just once shouldn't be an issue and I should even receive the EQM for the A-B segment using my FF#?
Yes. "should"

Multiple accounts of this not being a red flag. YMMV
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Old Jan 27, 18, 6:09 pm
  #184  
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Originally Posted by KmKx151 View Post
So booking A-B-C and skipping the B-C leg, doing this just once shouldn't be an issue and I should even receive the EQM for the A-B segment using my FF#?
​​​​​​
Yes, presuming there is not an accompanying C B A on the same ticket. Skipping B C, without notice to AA will cause C B A to go away too.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 6:45 pm
  #185  
 
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Originally Posted by RogerD408 View Post
Yes, presuming there is not an accompanying C B A on the same ticket. Skipping B C, without notice to AA will cause C B A to go away too.
Correct, it's just a one way A-B-C with the target city being B.

What are some of the adverse actions taken by AA usually? I didn't see any examples in the last few pages other than a letter
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Old Jan 28, 18, 9:24 am
  #186  
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Originally Posted by KmKx151 View Post
Correct, it's just a one way A-B-C with the target city being B.

What are some of the adverse actions taken by AA usually? I didn't see any examples in the last few pages other than a letter
As I said some of the recent actions have included a NDA for a lesser "fine". But in the early days of Dell in Austin, there was a significant break to book say SFO DFW AUS vs SFO DFW. Those that chronically bailed out of the DFW AUS leg risked a visit by the AA Men In Black and escorted to the DFW AUS flight or pay up for SFO DFW. I can see them not wanting to get their resolutions public as some may say it's worth the risk and their enforcement team would have to step up there game. But I think you have to really abuse the system before they will come after you and if you know where their line is, it's easy to approach it.

Just keep in mind it seems we keep hearing from those that do it saying it's ok and then they go silent at some point, supposition being they got caught.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 3:55 pm
  #187  
 
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I'm flying with AA now on May with an award ticket: GRU -> DLW -> SNA -> SFO The last leg SNA -> SFO is operated by Skywest (by Alaska air). Then return from SFO -> DLW -> GRU. It's one award ticket with one locator.

If I skip the segment SNA->SFO (Skywest), does someone thinks that American will cancel the rest of my trip?
Thanks,
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Old Feb 20, 18, 4:15 pm
  #188  
 
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Originally Posted by betoaoki View Post
I'm flying with AA now on May with an award ticket: GRU -> DLW -> SNA -> SFO The last leg SNA -> SFO is operated by Skywest (by Alaska air). Then return from SFO -> DLW -> GRU. It's one award ticket with one locator. If I skip the segment SNA->SFO (Skywest), does someone thinks that American will cancel the rest of my trip?
Yes, extremely likely. If you had booked two one-way awards with different locators etc, you could have skipped that leg. However, as your ticket happens to be, it would be risky.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 6:16 pm
  #189  
 
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
Yes, extremely likely. If you had booked two one-way awards with different locators etc, you could have skipped that leg. However, as your ticket happens to be, it would be risky.
I don't think merely risky, it will be canceled upon skipping a leg mid ticket.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 6:23 pm
  #190  
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Originally Posted by betoaoki View Post
I'm flying with AA now on May with an award ticket: GRU -> DLW -> SNA -> SFO The last leg SNA -> SFO is operated by Skywest (by Alaska air). Then return from SFO -> DLW -> GRU. It's one award ticket with one locator.

If I skip the segment SNA->SFO (Skywest), does someone thinks that American will cancel the rest of my trip?
Thanks,
If and when you are certain that you do not want to fly the SNA-SFO segment, call AA prior to your date of departure from GRU, and ask AA to delete the SNA-SFO segment from your outbound award. This would normally be a free change; the only complicating factor here would be that deleting the AS segment would change your award from a non-oneworld award to an all-AA award. That might require payment of a change fee.

And I assume that you are connecting at DFW, not DLW.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 6:35 pm
  #191  
 
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
I don't think merely risky, it will be canceled upon skipping a leg mid ticket.
This. It would cancel all subsequent segments.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 7:18 pm
  #192  
 
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Originally Posted by betoaoki View Post
I'm flying with AA now on May with an award ticket: GRU -> DLW -> SNA -> SFO The last leg SNA -> SFO is operated by Skywest (by Alaska air). Then return from SFO -> DLW -> GRU. It's one award ticket with one locator.

If I skip the segment SNA->SFO (Skywest), does someone thinks that American will cancel the rest of my trip?
Thanks,
I have been told in the past that awards work as two one way tickets. If I were you, I would call in and try to split the itinerary into two separate ones (with separate PNRs) - need to find a good reason for the agent to do it though. Then skipping the last leg shouldn't have any effects on your return itinerary. Otherwise, doing what the others are suggesting (ask to drop the last leg over the phone) might be the way to go. In any case I wouldn't just skip a middle leg in a round trip itinerary.
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Old Feb 21, 18, 8:21 am
  #193  
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Originally Posted by betoaoki View Post
I'm flying with AA now on May with an award ticket: GRU -> DLW -> SNA -> SFO The last leg SNA -> SFO is operated by Skywest (by Alaska air). Then return from SFO -> DLW -> GRU. It's one award ticket with one locator.

If I skip the segment SNA->SFO (Skywest), does someone thinks that American will cancel the rest of my trip?
Thanks,
There is a slight chance if the return is within a day or two that your return will remain intact, but I would not count on it. Missing any segment will typically result in all remaining segments to be cancelled. If you do this and do call in, be sure to make it clear you still need to remaining segments and keep notes of name and time you called in case they don't process it properly. In the future, breaking the trip up into two itn removes any issue.
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Old Feb 21, 18, 8:46 am
  #194  
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If AA plays hardball on this and won't allow a change, there are tons of cheap intra-CA deals going on right now. You should be able to reposition yourself between NorCal and SoCal pretty inexpensively. Yeah, that's a pain and a waste of a couple hours vs. just getting rid of the unwanted segment, but it's better than losing your entire return itin.
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Old Feb 26, 18, 1:36 pm
  #195  
 
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Hidden City might happen due to work schedule

I've got a flight planned with my girlfriend from RNO to TPA via ORD.

She has been put on my itinerary in case of a likely upgrade home (it's a red eye).

Here's the deal, I am scheduled to be in Peoria, IL, on Monday. I was thinking of just getting off the plane in ORD.

#1 : Do I just get off the plane Sunday morning at ORD and not do the final leg home to TPA.
#2 : Do I need to fly home on that since she's on my itinerary? Would they pluck her off that flight if I'm not on there with her?

Last edited by tampatravel; Feb 26, 18 at 5:34 pm
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