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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 Feb 7, 19, 5:42 pm
  #286  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Programs: OW Emerald
Posts: 1,446
Originally Posted by Kat7275 View Post
Will they know?
If you put your AAdvantage number in both reservations, then of course.

A relevant question is how long is the connection/stop between A-B and B-C. If it is days, then it becomes more plausible that your plans simply changed. If it is just a regular connection, then I hope you are not checking bags, because these would typically be checked to C and not claimed until C.

Last edited by jridge; Feb 7, 19 at 5:53 pm
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Old Feb 7, 19, 5:49 pm
  #287  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 372
I’ve never heard of a scenario where AA cancels an entirely separate booking as a result of a single instance of a potential hidden city booking violation. Normally, AA’s only recourse is to reprice the one way itinerary you actually flew.

You’ll be fine. Just don’t make a habit over it.
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AndyAA is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 6:03 pm
  #288  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Originally Posted by AndyAA View Post
You’ll be fine.
The probability is high that you're correct. Just note there are risks besides AA canceling the second flight, e.g. IRROPS cause re-routing from A-X-C without going to B at all.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 6:21 pm
  #289  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 5
Will they know

AAdvantage number is not entered. Not bag checking and the flight is a 6 hour wait from B-C. Thank you.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 6:22 pm
  #290  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 5
Thank you.

Originally Posted by AndyAA View Post
I’ve never heard of a scenario where AA cancels an entirely separate booking as a result of a single instance of a potential hidden city booking violation. Normally, AA’s only recourse is to reprice the one way itinerary you actually flew.

You’ll be fine. Just don’t make a habit over it.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 6:29 pm
  #291  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Programs: OW Emerald
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Originally Posted by Kat7275 View Post
AAdvantage number is not entered. Not bag checking and the flight is a 6 hour wait from B-C. Thank you.
This makes it more reasonable. You'll still have the IRROPS risk - there are numerous possible scenarios, but just for example mechanical issue in-flight and plane diverts to X. AA contracted to get you to C, so they will try to fly you X-C, not X-B. Chances of such an incident are small, and even if this did happen maybe you can successfully argue that X-B is easier/cheaper for AA than X-C. Only point is that by doing this you've taken on some degree of risk in order (presumably) to save money.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 6:47 pm
  #292  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Assume instead of transiting to C, you will exit B and go through passport control?
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Old Feb 7, 19, 7:30 pm
  #293  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Originally Posted by Kat7275 View Post
AAdvantage number is not entered. Not bag checking and the flight is a 6 hour wait from B-C. Thank you.
You will have zero issues and it doesn't matter if you enter your AAdvantage number or not. As soon as you arrive in city B, pull up your reservation at aa.com and cancel it. This will remove you from the final B-C segment and no one will ever look at the record again. Then fly the B-A segment like usual.
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JJeffrey is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 7:39 pm
  #294  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NYC
Posts: 7,902
Agreed- Perfectly OK. In any case, If to Europe the second leg will be on BA.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 7:39 pm
  #295  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Even if not cancelled there are a load of reasons someone would actually fly to "C" via "B" (AA is not watching these posts to see where A, B and C are so spare us the "code"), and later get to B on their own and fly B to A. It's not suspicious with or without an AA account assigned or not. The B (only) to A reservation for later that is.

Say A is JFK and B is LHR and C is AMS. One can or in the OP's case, not, fly to AMS (A-B-C) and later take the train to London and fly home from there (e.g. B to A). Perfectly legit. They are not going to start plowing through all the future tickets for the OP if he no shows on B-C to see if there is a secret Dr. Evil B to A flight waiting to finalize this plan.
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ricktoronto is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 10:06 pm
  #296  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: PHL (kinda, no airport is really close)
Programs: AA Exp (2020 is first and last year). Enterprise Platinum woo-hoo!
Posts: 3,321
There's no reason in the world that they will look askance at your "open jaw" trip.

There are no reports I'm aware of, of AA (or any carrier) peeing their pants over a single hidden city ticket.

In the wildly unlikely event they did make an issue of it, I'd just tell them I went into town during my 6-hour layover and lost track of time, and felt too embarrassed to go back to the airport so you went from B-C on your own. (Your plans obviously contemplated going from C-B on your own later, right?)
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redtop43 is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 10:32 pm
  #297  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,490
there is zero risk in an IRROPS situation that AA would deny your request for the next available seat on the original routing.

zero.

in the event of IRROPS w/ AA proposing a new routing, just say “no thanks. i’ll take the next available flight on my original routing.”
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Colin is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 11:22 pm
  #298  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
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One more thing, check to see if your B -> C flight is on time, you might be able to get a partial refund if it gets delayed or canceled. If the flight is within the European Union, you might even be able to get extra compensation!
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donotblink is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 11:50 pm
  #299  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Originally Posted by donotblink View Post
One more thing, check to see if your B -> C flight is on time, you might be able to get a partial refund if it gets delayed or canceled. If the flight is within the European Union, you might even be able to get extra compensation!
+1

If you are as stressed as you sound, just plan to cancel the B-C leg anyhow. You can do what donotblink says and wait to see if it is delayed or canceled (in which case call up and just cancel the leg). Or just call to cancel when you land in B. You can use Skype to call AA for free from overseas.

You would have to do this many more times than you're doing it for anyone to care.
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platbrownguy is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 4:55 am
  #300  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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The really surprising thing is that two one ways ended up cheaper than just buying a roundtrip A-B-A
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