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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 May 29, 19, 6:33 am   -   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,
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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,
  2. If the passenger fails to comply with applicable stay-over requirements,
  3. If the passenger does not meet the purpose or status requirement associated with the fare category on the ticket, or
  4. 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,
  2. Confiscate unused flight coupons,
  3. Refuse to board the passenger or check the passenger's luggage, or
  4. 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,
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:41 am
  #346  
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A reminder: advocating for or encouraging actions in contravention to the AA C of C or AAdvantage T & C such as skiplagging / throw-away ticketing etc. is not permitted in this forum. Posts advocating such will be deleted without notice, in accordance with the FlyerTalk rules.

As to risk, AA has penalized FlyerTalk members with anonymizing handles for various offenses they’ve committed against the C of C. It is certain they read here, and have used posts here to identify and penalize them.

Attacks on members are also prohibited by the rules and will be summarily deleted. Serial rules violators may have their membership privileges suspended.

Link to FlyerTalk rules.

Thank you,

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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:51 am
  #347  
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The C of C goes back to a time when (nearly) all airlines were bankrupt, in lieu of gov't regulations the airlines were permitted to write "pax friendly rules" = C of C. Now that the airlines are VERY profitable some (maybe ALL) of the totally one sided C of C should be scrapped.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:01 am
  #348  
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Originally Posted by jah718 View Post
I have seen this topic come up a lot in the media recently and I was wondering out of curiosity, in a situation like this, how could an airline possibly penalize you for this? Who is to say you didn't simply miss the flight or got the time wrong? If an airline was honestly stupid enough to go after someone for this, I honestly couldn't see anything ever coming of it.
Have you read any of the links provided previously in this thread? Have you asked that question about how AA might find and penalize those who have posted here about trading or selling instruments, selling award trips, buying and canceling tickets for the purpose of accessing lounges, etc.? AA Corporate Security are quite experienced, have software and the full AA booking data at their disposal and are apparently effective at what they do.

And though Lufthansa was quite recently denied a win on their lawsuit against a passenger engaged in throw-away ticketing, Lufthansa has chosen to appeal. I suspect LH or AA have considerably greater resources to devote to such a suit than the average passenger.

And AA doesn’t have to go to court to shutter your account, confiscate “your” miles, deny you the opportunity to earn miles in the future, withdraw your Elite status and the like.

While I’m sure it’s essiest and most productive to go after multiple violators, it’s not possible to state there is no risk to a very occasional violator.

Add: As to hidden city or throwaway ticketing, possibly the best article out there is ExpertFlyer’s 3 WORDS ON HIDDEN CITY TICKETING: DON’T DO IT (February 27, 2019) link.
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Last edited by JDiver; Mar 2, 19 at 7:47 am Reason: Add ExpertFlyer link
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:44 am
  #349  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
And though Lufthansa was quite recently denied a win on their lawsuit against a passenger engaged in throw-away ticketing, Lufthansa has chosen to appeal. I suspect LH or AA have considerably greater resources to devote to such a suit than the average passenger.
I have not been following this case, but it makes sense they'd appeal because it's potentially a significant precedent-setter, at least in the relevant jurisdiction.
I hope they lose, and I hope they are forced to pay the defendant's legal fees. JMHO.
Irrespective of what's in the one-sided CoC, I just don't know in what universe it's acceptable to charge someone potentially thousands of dollars for not taking a return flight.
Banning a serial offender from the mileage program? Fine. But up-charging the fare? Nope.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 1:28 pm
  #350  
 
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
I have not been following this case, but it makes sense they'd appeal because it's potentially a significant precedent-setter, at least in the relevant jurisdiction.
I hope they lose, and I hope they are forced to pay the defendant's legal fees. JMHO.
Irrespective of what's in the one-sided CoC, I just don't know in what universe it's acceptable to charge someone potentially thousands of dollars for not taking a return flight.
Banning a serial offender from the mileage program? Fine. But up-charging the fare? Nope.
+1

It's one thing to, say, take away your miles. But charging a made up amount after the fact, that the passenger obviously didn't have notice of (let alone agree to), is consistent with the law of approximately zero first-world countries.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 9:16 am
  #351  
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
+1

It's one thing to, say, take away your miles. But charging a made up amount after the fact, that the passenger obviously didn't have notice of (let alone agree to), is consistent with the law of approximately zero first-world countries.
Sorry, but I don't think anyone buying a throwaway ticket is doing so blindly. I suspect they first checked out the one-way fare and thinking it was too expensive then went in to check round trip pricing and chose that (partially informed decision). I don't see it natural to willingly pay for a product/service you have no intention of using UNLESS it provides a savings. However, in this case there are stated rules, that were agreed to by purchasing the ticket, that were ignored and disregarded. I am sure many may feel they stumbled upon a nifty trick, but failed to consider possible consequences.

AA is a huge corporation and has many more resources to pursue actions against customers, but also must consider the public response to doing so. I think that is why the onesy-twosy offender is allowed to get away with it, plus the time to determine what happened. The repeat offenders start getting cocky and pretty much thumb their nose at AA and lo and behold no longer have a need for Kleenex.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 3:18 pm
  #352  
 
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Originally Posted by RogerD408 View Post
Sorry, but I don't think anyone buying a throwaway ticket is doing so blindly.
Didn't say they were. Hence my agreement that being penalized for breaching the contract of carriage would be perfectly reasonable. But basic notions of procedural due process require the airline to give notice of the amount of the fine (or method of figuring it, etc.) they're going to exact for the breach. If the contract of carriage said "if you do throwaway ticketing then you are liable for the cost of the routing you flew based on cost at time of ticketing," then I wouldn't have as much of a problem (although I would still expect that efforts like Lufthansa's would fail in many jurisdictions because it is an unreasonable penalty rather than a reasonable liquidated damages provision).
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Old Mar 2, 19, 10:09 pm
  #353  
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
Didn't say they were. Hence my agreement that being penalized for breaching the contract of carriage would be perfectly reasonable. But basic notions of procedural due process require the airline to give notice of the amount of the fine (or method of figuring it, etc.) they're going to exact for the breach. If the contract of carriage said "if you do throwaway ticketing then you are liable for the cost of the routing you flew based on cost at time of ticketing," then I wouldn't have as much of a problem (although I would still expect that efforts like Lufthansa's would fail in many jurisdictions because it is an unreasonable penalty rather than a reasonable liquidated damages provision).
But, they do clearly state this:

c of C, in part: “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:
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
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Old Mar 2, 19, 10:50 pm
  #354  
 
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Don’t understand back to back ticketing rule. Why does there have to be a minimum stay. I have gotten around the rule by flying other airlines in the sequence.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 11:11 pm
  #355  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
But, they do clearly state this:
Ooh, nicely played!
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Old Mar 3, 19, 12:15 am
  #356  
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Originally Posted by buckeyefanflyer View Post
Don’t understand back to back ticketing rule. Why does there have to be a minimum stay. I have gotten around the rule by flying other airlines in the sequence.
Because they sell the tickets and establish the rules so as to maximize their income. Because in most (if not all) countries, they can in accordance with the laws. I’m interested to see if Lufthansa wins or loses on appeal.
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Old Mar 3, 19, 7:05 am
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Originally Posted by buckeyefanflyer View Post
Don’t understand back to back ticketing rule. Why does there have to be a minimum stay. I have gotten around the rule by flying other airlines in the sequence.
My understanding of minimum stay is that it exists so that airlines can offer lower fares to leisure travelers and higher fares to business travelers who often travel for very short periods.
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Old Mar 3, 19, 8:32 am
  #358  
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Originally Posted by buckeyefanflyer View Post
Don’t understand back to back ticketing rule. Why does there have to be a minimum stay. I have gotten around the rule by flying other airlines in the sequence.
Yes, it's most likely to deal with the business travelers that really don't care so much on costs since it's going to be expensed anyway. Also, it may be a joint marketing agreement with the local tourist boards to draw weekend traffic to the area. Yes, you can play games with mixing/matching tickets and if you are lucky enough to have multiple airports to choose from, it's not hard to get around it. Personally, I check odd routings when I am very cost sensitive. For instance, I needed to be in FL for a class. At the time AA was offering bonuses for RTs out of NYC, so I booked a ticket from SFO to NYC and a second ticket from NYC to MCO, all legitimate, meet the minimum stay between flights (nothing says you have to stay at the destination, just don't go back to the same airport) and got the bonuses for both! Win win in my book.
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Old Mar 3, 19, 9:12 am
  #359  
 
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Originally Posted by RogerD408 View Post
Yes, it's most likely to deal with the business travelers that really don't care so much on costs since it's going to be expensed anyway. Also, it may be a joint marketing agreement with the local tourist boards to draw weekend traffic to the area. Yes, you can play games with mixing/matching tickets and if you are lucky enough to have multiple airports to choose from, it's not hard to get around it. Personally, I check odd routings when I am very cost sensitive. For instance, I needed to be in FL for a class. At the time AA was offering bonuses for RTs out of NYC, so I booked a ticket from SFO to NYC and a second ticket from NYC to MCO, all legitimate, meet the minimum stay between flights (nothing says you have to stay at the destination, just don't go back to the same airport) and got the bonuses for both! Win win in my book.
Is that really back to back ticketing? I understood B2B to be using two different tickets between the same city pair to avoid a minimum stay. Nested tickets (what you did) which comply with applicable rules are perfectly fine.
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Old Mar 3, 19, 9:16 am
  #360  
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Originally Posted by HofstraJet View Post
Is that really back to back ticketing? I understood B2B to be using two different tickets between the same city pair to avoid a minimum stay. Nested tickets (what you did) which comply with applicable rules are perfectly fine.
Correct, my point is there are many ways to keep away from B2B and look at a bigger picture to get what you want without breaking rules.
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