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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 Mar 6, 19, 11:19 am
  #376  
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post


Please give me a break and put your money where your mouth is. If you have AA miles I’ll happily buy some from you for a first class long haul flight. When I’ve completed my travel are you ok with me letting AA know that we’ve never met, that you sold me some of your miles, and that you’re convinced that the airline won’t come after you and shut down your account. Do we have a deal?
who here was talking about selling miles? We were discussing hidden city ticketing and your position that everything that a company puts in the this COC is above being questioned and is 100% correct. I pointed out multiple examples of how this position is untenable and you resort to nonsensical example that no one was discussing. So, again, do you have a rebuttal grounded in fact about the basic premise you and I have disagreed on. I have no skin in the game personally, as I have never had the occasion to do hidden city ticketing but I’m simply pointing out the flaw in the position you put forth.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 1:49 pm
  #377  
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Hidden city ticketing is as much a violation of AA’s T&Cs as selling miles is. Your point was that courts won’t enforce consumer-unfriendly contracts. I disagree.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 2:27 pm
  #378  
 
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Not sure if selling miles is a good analogy but if i find reports of aa going after skiplaggers i may see things differently.

Westjet and southwest posted openly some time ago that ppl can get off as they please so unless things changed recently the industry policies vary.

imo airlines that openly try to enforce this will have more to lose in bad publicity so they are more likely to pursue it in a passive aggressive way - scaring tactics, refusing to short check bags, threaten irrops complications etc
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Old Mar 6, 19, 2:43 pm
  #379  
 
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Originally Posted by Carl Christensen View Post


you make such absolute statements (you are wrong) while failing to prove your side.

lets consider the broader thrust of your argument - if a company puts a “contract” with their product and service you are duty bound to follow it completely.

but this position has consistently been found to be wrong in broad swaths of the commerce in the US. Since you fail to provide examples of your case I will provide examples backing up my position.

- software shrink wrap license agreements said you couldn’t sell your copy - courts found this position to be wrong
- airlines went after skiplagged for helping facilitate this exact behavior and lost the airlines lost
- overseas the airline just lost the first attempt at this and while still possibly pursuing it they did lose
- copying of movies for personal use was attempted to be prosecuted and pursued by the movie companies and with shrink wrap license agreements and they lost
- companies have tried to say that you cannot leave negative feedback if you use their service - and have been defeated.
- many different industries have tried to say that by using their service or product you give up the right to sue and have to go through arbitration - and this have many times been proven to not be correct and not enforceable


instead of arguing about individual examples, I present the broader narrative that just because a company puts something in their “contract of carriage” does not mean that it is the same as a contract one may enter into with an individual party and that individual portions of this “contract of carriage” may not be enforceable or correct as the airline claims they are.
A couple of points here:
  1. You agree to the CoC when you purchase a ticket, creating an enforceable contract between you and the airline. An airline can sue you to enforce the CoC if it believes you have breached the CoC. Likewise, you can sue the airline if you believe it has breached the CoC. However, just because you sue someone, doesn't mean that you will win.
  2. Just because a contract (here the CoC) says something, does not mean that it is actually enforceable. It is very common for lawyers to put unenforceable clauses into contracts because, frankly, it costs a lot of money to sustain a contract suit (at least in the US where each side usually pays its own fees) and often consumers don't know what is enforceable and what isn't.
  3. As Carl Christensen notes, there are numerous instances where courts have thrown out clauses in contracts as unconscionable or invalid for other reasons. For example, if the CoC required you to pay five-million dollars if you missed your flight, a court would most certainly throw out this clause as unconscionable or as an unenforceable "penalty" that has no correlation to the damage actually suffered.
  4. However, I do not agree with all of the examples Carl gives, since not all of them relate to contractual issues:
    • My understanding of the skipplagged case is that it failed because for reasons unrelated to the CoC. Since UA had no CoC with Aktarer Zaman (the guy behind Skipplagged) it could not sue him for breach of contract. Rather, it sued him on unfair competition and "deceptive behavior" claims. I believe the case was dismissed for procedural reasons.
    • In the Lufthansa example, my understanding of that case is that LH lost on procedural reasons, not substantive reasons. And, in any event, LH is appealing. From my understanding of the case, LH has a much stronger position against the individual passenger than UA did against Skipplagged. I don't know enough about the relevant EU law to have an opinion on how this case will come out.
  5. On a practical level, lawsuits to enforce contracts cost money and can cause reputational damage. In the LH example, it will certainly cost the airline more in money and/or reputation than it lost due to the hidden city ticket. LH is obviously looking to make an example of this passenger to hopefully stop others from doing the same. That being said, I do not see it as a sustainable business model for airlines to continuously go after passengers for the fare difference since the legal fees and reputational harm will almost certainly be higher than the recovery (especially in "each side pays their own legal fees" jurisdictions).
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Old Mar 6, 19, 6:34 pm
  #380  
 
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Originally Posted by Carl Christensen View Post
Just because a company puts something in their COC doesn’t mean it is valid
Stop saying things that are obviously correct. That is not tolerated around here!
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Old Mar 6, 19, 7:03 pm
  #381  
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This discussion is very odd. It is one of those that makes me realize how little non-lawyers understand about the law (yes, it surprises me). It is absolutely true that if a CoC had a $5 million penalty for not appearing at your flight that a court would likely hold it to be unenforceable on any number of grounds. HOWEVER, that has almost nothing to do with whether, for example, a hidden city limitation is enforceable. And many of the examples by Carl are wrong, while many of them are correct. For example, contrary to what he says, shrink-wrap licenses were mostly found enforceable (for reasons I understand) and arbitration agreements are almost always enforceable (for reasons with which I drastically DISAGREE, but that doesn't mean that I don't know the direction the courts are taking). The idea that once a segment has been refunded there is nothing to worry about is just plain dumb. Almost anything can happen as a "one-off" and, as explained by Mary, many things can happen as a "ten-off." But somewhere between two and 100 (depending on the nature of the offense) someone might notice.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 7:14 pm
  #382  
 
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I think that there is an argument to be made that charging someone money for not taking a flight is unconscionable, since the airline suffers no damages by you not taking a flight. Whether the penalty for not appearing for your flight is $5 million or $500 does not change this fact.

Until a court decides this one way or the other, there is no way to be sure.

However, it is abundantly clear that the arguments that "it's in the CoC and therefore it's enforceable" are incorrect. The only correct answer here is that it's undecided, and we will know for sure if and when a court rules on it.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 10:57 pm
  #383  
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I think that there is an argument to be made that charging someone money for not taking a flight is unconscionable, since the airline suffers no damages by you not taking a flight. Whether the penalty for not appearing for your flight is $5 million or $500 does not change this fact.

Until a court decides this one way or the other, there is no way to be sure.

However, it is abundantly clear that the arguments that "it's in the CoC and therefore it's enforceable" are incorrect. The only correct answer here is that it's undecided, and we will know for sure if and when a court rules on it.
I think you need to read the whole thread and get up to speed on the argument. The airline very much does suffer damage.
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Old Mar 7, 19, 7:47 am
  #384  
 
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
Stop saying things that are obviously correct. That is not tolerated around here!
Since you are not a moderator of this forum, I don't think you are in a position to say what is tolerated and what isn't. Telling someone what to do and admonishing them is not constructive and likely violates Flyertalk Rules 12.1 and 13. I leave that for the moderators to decide. In any event, while my statement was "obviously correct" as you put it, from reading the thread, it didn't appear that everyone understood that. Hence why I made the statement and provided further background.

Originally Posted by sbrower
This discussion is very odd. It is one of those that makes me realize how little non-lawyers understand about the law (yes, it surprises me). It is absolutely true that if a CoC had a $5 million penalty for not appearing at your flight that a court would likely hold it to be unenforceable on any number of grounds. HOWEVER, that has almost nothing to do with whether, for example, a hidden city limitation is enforceable.
If you're assuming I'm not a lawyer, what basis do you have for that statement? My example of a $5MM penalty has everything to do with whether a hidden city limitation is enforceable. While the $5MM penalty example is obviously extreme, the same argument could be made against a hidden city limitation in a CoC. For example, just as you could argue a $5MM penalty for not taking a flight is unconscionable, you can argue that an airline going after a passenger for a few hundred (or even thousand) dollars is unconscionable when the airline is the one that intentionally sets prices to gouge people on certain routes thereby creating the very problem they are now complaining about. The argument then continues that it is therefore unconscionable for airlines to set the incredibly complex rules that usually leave the consumer at a disadvantage, then complain when someone exploits a gap in their system. Now, I don't pretend that the argument against the hidden city limitations is as strong as the $5MM penalty, but it is the same argument nonetheless. And, I'm not saying I think a court would rule that hidden city limitations are unenforceable or not, but it is one argument I would make (among others).

Originally Posted by sbrower
And many of the examples by Carl are wrong, while many of them are correct. For example, contrary to what he says, shrink-wrap licenses were mostly found enforceable (for reasons I understand) and arbitration agreements are almost always enforceable (for reasons with which I drastically DISAGREE, but that doesn't mean that I don't know the direction the courts are taking).
I agree with all of this.
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Old Mar 7, 19, 8:13 am
  #385  
 
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Open and Notorious

Hey guys at prefunds.aa.com.
Will you take a look at my eticket 0019999999999 & notice segment 2 remains in Open status for AA999?
AA999 had a schedule change.
Will you please refund the value of this unflown segment?
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Old Mar 7, 19, 2:07 pm
  #386  
 
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Originally Posted by tacostuff View Post
Since you are not a moderator of this forum, I don't think you are in a position to say what is tolerated and what isn't. Telling someone what to do and admonishing them is not constructive and likely violates Flyertalk Rules 12.1 and 13. I leave that for the moderators to decide. In any event, while my statement was "obviously correct" as you put it, from reading the thread, it didn't appear that everyone understood that. Hence why I made the statement and provided further background.
I was not replying to you. That should be pretty clear from the fact that I was quoting someone else.

Trust me, I don't think that anything that you said is "clearly correct". Quite the opposite, in fact.
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Old Mar 7, 19, 2:59 pm
  #387  
 
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Just want to remind the conversation...AA CoC rules state that you must be intending to avoid fare rules for a ticket to be considered nested or B2Bd.

FWIW
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Old Apr 6, 19, 9:46 am
  #388  
 
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Cancelling "Return Trip" on a Round trip Ticket to Avoid One-Way Gouging

Was advised to delete... And not do throwaway ticketing on an international itinerary.

Last edited by BOSishome; Apr 6, 19 at 10:31 am
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Old Apr 6, 19, 10:16 am
  #389  
 
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You're/Were an AA Platinum and don't know that ? Yes it will be flagged. You're bypassing their fare rules.

The question is do you want to fly them again. If you do, I would suggest not doing this.
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Old Apr 6, 19, 10:20 am
  #390  
 
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Is it against the rules? Yes. Do people do this? Yes. Just don't make a habit of it. And consider deleting your post. AA has lurkers here.
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