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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 May 11, 18, 10:48 am
  #241  
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Originally Posted by security6 View Post
Thanks to all for the replies.

We actually live in Columbia, but wife is worried about the 15 year old making the connection in Charlotte so wife wants to drive to Charlotte to pick up. I think I have enough ammo about how easy connections are in Charlotte that I can convince wife to let 15 year old make the connection in Charlotte. That will save us money (cheaper fare) and time (no driving to Charlotte).

It is nice to know that the bag would to go Columbia anyway. In case 15 year old were to mess up connection, we could easily drive to pick up a bored 15 year old in Charlotte and then get the bag later in Columbia.
People need to make decisions based on their knowledge of the individual traveler. Lots of people who are 10 can make a connection without assistance, and some people who are 45 can't. Did UM even exist when we were kids? I took the train alone when I was 11 and flew alone when I was 12, and I am sure that many people here were much younger when they traveled solo.
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Old May 11, 18, 11:30 am
  #242  
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Originally Posted by security6 View Post
Thanks to all for the replies.

We actually live in Columbia, but wife is worried about the 15 year old making the connection in Charlotte so wife wants to drive to Charlotte to pick up. I think I have enough ammo about how easy connections are in Charlotte that I can convince wife to let 15 year old make the connection in Charlotte. That will save us money (cheaper fare) and time (no driving to Charlotte).

It is nice to know that the bag would to go Columbia anyway. In case 15 year old were to mess up connection, we could easily drive to pick up a bored 15 year old in Charlotte and then get the bag later in Columbia.
Umm, unless the teenager is booked on AA's last CLT-CAE flight of the day, if the connection is missed, AA will likely put the traveler on its next CLT-CAE flight with available seats.
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Old May 11, 18, 11:35 am
  #243  
 
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There was a UM program with the major airlines in the early 80’s. Flew a lot between parents and grandparents back then.

I was let off the hook around the time I was 10/11, connecting through DFW or ORD most of the time. Meh, no biggie.

Things were different back then (and earlier) though. Less creepy people, etc. plus kids were more mature for their age, as they grew up with responsibility and such. Now, it really depends on the kid I suppose.

Although I’m curious about whether or not an airline would have flags raised if a minor missed a flight like was propositioned.
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Old May 11, 18, 12:52 pm
  #244  
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2 options
1. Pay the $480 and pick the child up in Charlotte
2. Pay the $265 and pick the teen up in Columbia

Especially since you appear to be asking before buying the ticket.

FT does NOT support violations of AA's T&C's.
Research "hidden city ticketing"

Of course, if the child misses the connection, then you can still go pick them up at CLT, assuming they can handle the time alone in the airport for the 90-120 minute or so drive

Last edited by mvoight; May 11, 18 at 1:00 pm
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Old May 11, 18, 6:50 pm
  #245  
 
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15 was around the age when I was connecting solo in ORD and DFW, and, while I'm good at figuring out maps and diagrams like the ones for terminals in the back of an airline magazine, I grew up in a place where I never had to figure out ground mass transit, bus or subway connections and the like.
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Old May 22, 18, 8:25 am
  #246  
 
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Booking with hidden city agenda

I noticed that if I book through to PIT the plane stops in Phila (where I want to go). I am offered an award seat to PIT, but not to Phila. This seems a change in policy. Usually, any leg that had award availability was up for grabs. It seems now the destination is linked to the cost of the ticket. Why then would AA offer an award ticket to PIT with a stop on PHL, but not an alone award ticket to PHL? I am tempted to book through to PIT and get off in PHL. Besides not being able to check in a bag, has anyone ran into problems with this?
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Old May 22, 18, 8:28 am
  #247  
 
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Originally Posted by Facedoc View Post
I noticed that if I book through to PIT the plane stops in Phila (where I want to go). I am offered an award seat to PIT, but not to Phila. This seems a change in policy. Usually, any leg that had award availability was up for grabs. It seems now the destination is linked to the cost of the ticket. Why then would AA offer an award ticket to PIT with a stop on PHL, but not an alone award ticket to PHL? I am tempted to book through to PIT and get off in PHL. Besides not being able to check in a bag, has anyone ran into problems with this?
As long as you don't make a habit of it you'll have no problem at all with just getting off at PHL.

Here's the dedicated thread on married segment award availability, which is a relatively new "phenomenon" with AA award space...

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...-segments.html
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Old May 22, 18, 8:55 am
  #248  
 
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Thanks....These flights are clue for how to book with "hidden city" tickets and save money
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Old May 22, 18, 9:04 am
  #249  
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Originally Posted by Facedoc View Post
Thanks....These flights are clue for how to book with "hidden city" tickets and save money
Of course, if there are IRROPS or schedule changes, you might run into problems, as AA's goal would be to get you to PITm even if it means not going to PHL.
Additionally, it is against the terms and conditions of AA
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Old May 26, 18, 3:00 pm
  #250  
 
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I wanted to get everyone's thoughts. I have flown one hidden ticket segment in my history on AA (about 2 months ago SFO-PHX), and I was considering flying LAX-PHX on a hidden city fare on Monday. Would you all say that I am opening myself up to any risk with these trips being somewhat close in timing?
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Old May 26, 18, 4:03 pm
  #251  
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Originally Posted by sdltraveler View Post
I wanted to get everyone's thoughts. I have flown one hidden ticket segment in my history on AA (about 2 months ago SFO-PHX), and I was considering flying LAX-PHX on a hidden city fare on Monday. Would you all say that I am opening myself up to any risk with these trips being somewhat close in timing?
Is two months close?

I think if your flights are on the same day, they are close.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 7:41 pm
  #252  
 
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Combo question - schedule change...change flight, throw away last leg, buy one way

I’m traveling ORD-LAS round trip. There was a massive schedule change to both flights so I am going to take advantage of the flight change.

For the return, one of the flights routes through MIA. What I want to do is choose that flight that connects in MIA but just throw away the last segment and not travel MIA-ORD (so I can stay a few days in MIA).

Then, I’d like to buy a one way home from FLL to ORD a few days after the throw away flight.

Question: will the throw away last leg raise any red flags?

Question 2: when I book the one way from FLL to ORD should I leave my FF # off the reservation until like the day before the flight so it doesn’t somehow get flagged or canceled?
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Old Jul 12, 18, 7:48 pm
  #253  
 
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Originally Posted by MSP_Monopoly View Post
I’m traveling ORD-LAS round trip. There was a massive schedule change to both flights so I am going to take advantage of the flight change.

For the return, one of the flights routes through MIA. What I want to do is choose that flight that connects in MIA but just throw away the last segment and not travel MIA-ORD (so I can stay a few days in MIA).

Then, I’d like to buy a one way home from FLL to ORD a few days after the throw away flight.

Question: will the throw away last leg raise any red flags?

Question 2: when I book the one way from FLL to ORD should I leave my FF # off the reservation until like the day before the flight so it doesn’t somehow get flagged or canceled?
As usual with throw away tickets, as long as you dont make it a habit then absolutely nothing will happen. People miss flights all the time for a myriad number of reasons. No red flags or anything like that, and you don't need to leave your FF# off your FLL-ORD reservation since it's a few days later (nothing will happen to it). As soon as you get to MIA you can even go online at aa.com and cancel your reservation, which will free up the seat on MIA-ORD.
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Old Jul 15, 18, 8:00 pm
  #254  
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dciolli likes this.
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Old Jul 15, 18, 8:21 pm
  #255  
 
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Wow! Thanks for posting. Haven't done this in a while but will sometimes miss a connecting flight every year or so.
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