Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

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

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

    Hide Wikipost
Old May 29, 19, 6:33 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
Wiki Link
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,
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old Apr 6, 19, 10:22 am
  #391  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: DFW
Programs: AA PLT
Posts: 140
Originally Posted by MIAman3 View Post
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.
95% of my AA flying is domestic... And the international travel I do on AA is typically for work with a generous travel budget so I don't have incentive to play games...
BOSishome is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 6, 19, 10:31 am
  #392  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting; SSSS = haraSSSSment
Posts: 87,824
So your plan is to book US-EU as a one-way mileage ticket and book a separate EU-US-EU ticket? That should work to get you back into the US. How you end up using or not using the US-EU flight coupon(s) of the EU-US-EU ticket is up to you. The risk that AA goes after you as an individual passenger for this kind of practice is very low, but it can be made even lower.

I have had lots of Europe-US-Europe tickets where I sometimes haven’t made use of the entire ticket as originally booked. I haven’t had any problems because of that.
GUWonder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 6, 19, 10:47 am
  #393  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: DFW
Programs: AA PLT
Posts: 140
Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
So your plan is to book US-EU as a one-way mileage ticket and book a separate EU-US-EU ticket? That should work to get you back into the US. How you end up using or not using the US-EU flight coupon(s) of the EU-US-EU ticket is up to you. The risk that AA goes after you as an individual passenger for this kind of practice is very low, but it can be made even lower.

I have had lots of Europe-US-Europe tickets where I sometimes haven’t made use of the entire ticket as originally booked. I haven’t had any problems because of that.
Yes... That is/was the essence of my plan.. However, I think I found a better solution... Fly 77W F on the way there... Fly LEVEL in economy on the way back and then buy a one-way ticket from EWR to DFW Contrasting styles of travel but whatever works!!
JDiver likes this.
BOSishome is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 4:00 pm
  #394  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Programs: AA EP, SPG Plat Elite
Posts: 244
Hidden City ticketing?

Friend told me about hidden city ticketing -- if I get a hidden city ticket and use my FF # and get out on the plane layover / but not the full flight -- will this cause problems? (I'm an elite-level flyer)
azoomee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 4:22 pm
  #395  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Programs: AAdvantage Platinum
Posts: 1,531
It will definitely cause you problems if you have a round-trip ticket. If you're ticketed to fly AAA-BBB-CCC then CCC-BBB-AAA on the return, you staying at BBB on the outbound itinerary will invalidate the rest of the ticket. You won't have a BBB-AAA ticket to go back to your original starting point.
SJOGuy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 4:24 pm
  #396  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 4,178
Originally Posted by azoomee View Post
Friend told me about hidden city ticketing -- if I get a hidden city ticket and use my FF # and get out on the plane layover / but not the full flight -- will this cause problems? (I'm an elite-level flyer)
Once you no-show for any flight segment, the entire ticket is cancelled. Be aware, as well, your bag will be checked to your final destination. You can't short-check your bag.

Conventional wisdom states:

1. Abandon only the final segment of the ticket.
2. Take carry-on luggage only.
3. Don't make a habit of it.

There are reams of debate on this forum about hidden city ticketing. Some say it's OK to fly something other than your paid-for ticket, thus saving some money. Those folks can cite countless false analogies. (Six-packs of Coke, bundled cords of wood, etc) Others say that is, essentially, theft of services from the airline. There have been instances where a person gets a bill for the true value of their past tickets, negating any savings from what the airline defines as fraud.

Personally, I'm pretty much neutral on the subject. I like to sleep well at night, so wouldn't do it myself. YMMV.
QueenOfCoach is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 4:38 pm
  #397  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: KHOU + KSFO
Programs: AA EXP | Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador
Posts: 4,784
Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
Once you no-show for any flight segment, the entire ticket is cancelled. Be aware, as well, your bag will be checked to your final destination. You can't short-check your bag.

Conventional wisdom states:

1. Abandon only the final segment of the ticket.
2. Take carry-on luggage only.
3. Don't make a habit of it.

There are reams of debate on this forum about hidden city ticketing. Some say it's OK to fly something other than your paid-for ticket, thus saving some money. Those folks can cite countless false analogies. (Six-packs of Coke, bundled cords of wood, etc) Others say that is, essentially, theft of services from the airline. There have been instances where a person gets a bill for the true value of their past tickets, negating any savings from what the airline defines as fraud.

Personally, I'm pretty much neutral on the subject. I like to sleep well at night, so wouldn't do it myself. YMMV.
You missed step 4 - dont tell anyone about it. And certainly dont post it here.
Antarius is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 8:06 pm
  #398  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Programs: AA EP, SPG Plat Elite
Posts: 244
Thanks, will it create any problems for my elite status?
azoomee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 8:12 pm
  #399  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: FIND ME ON TWITTER FOR THE LATEST
Posts: 27,302
Originally Posted by azoomee View Post
Thanks, will it create any problems for my elite status?
It most definitely can. Don't do it.

Or, do it, but then don't come back complaining if you get caught.
JonNYC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 8:31 pm
  #400  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Programs: AA EP, SPG Plat Elite
Posts: 244
Ok, thank you.... not worth the effort....
Antarius likes this.
azoomee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 20, 19, 9:43 pm
  #401  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,105
Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
It most definitely can. Don't do it.

Or, do it, but then don't come back complaining if you get caught.
Or, do it, and then after the missed flight, tell AA (at prefunds.aa.com) "hey, you know the unflown segment sitting out there in open status where the flight was delayed (or where the flight had a sched change or where the flight had an equip change or or or) - will you refund it?"

and when you get the refund back for the value of the segment (calculated roughly based upon distance) on your credit card in a few days, sleep comfortably that it was all done it plain sight, open and notorious
Colin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 19, 1:40 pm
  #402  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Long Beach, CA
Programs: AA PLT, Hilton Diamond, IHG PlatAmb, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Radisson Gold
Posts: 2,786
Hidden City Feedback

It's been a few years since I've booked a hidden city ticket so would appreciate some feedback on the viability of my scenario.

I ended up booking a one-way award ticket to Argentina this summer and needed to get back to LAX. However, one-ways were pricey to purchase so I ended up buying EZE-LAX / LAX-JFK-EZE. The "return" leg is several months later and I actually need the LAX-JFK leg of the ticket. I intentionally booked the LAX-JFK-EZE flights with a 6.5hour connection in New York.

I guess the worst case scenario is some sort of IRROPS where I get re-routed from LAX to a different connection point. In the eventuality, I've purchased a fully refundable ticket LAX-JFK on JetBlue and will just abandon the AA ticket.

However, a couple of points that I'd appreciate some feedback on:

1. Is it an issue to do this on an international itinerary, abandoning the international segment? I'll have my passport (actually leaving for LHR a few days later from JFK not on AA) and am fully able to enter Argentina (no visa issues, etc). I won't have checked bags.

2. Do I have a strong argument to not be re-routed given that I booked a long New York connection and would make the argument that I have business to conduct there?
OskiBear is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 19, 1:50 pm
  #403  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 5,551
Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
It's been a few years since I've booked a hidden city ticket so would appreciate some feedback on the viability of my scenario.

I ended up booking a one-way award ticket to Argentina this summer and needed to get back to LAX. However, one-ways were pricey to purchase so I ended up buying EZE-LAX / LAX-JFK-EZE. The "return" leg is several months later and I actually need the LAX-JFK leg of the ticket. I intentionally booked the LAX-JFK-EZE flights with a 6.5hour connection in New York.

I guess the worst case scenario is some sort of IRROPS where I get re-routed from LAX to a different connection point. In the eventuality, I've purchased a fully refundable ticket LAX-JFK on JetBlue and will just abandon the AA ticket.

However, a couple of points that I'd appreciate some feedback on:

1. Is it an issue to do this on an international itinerary, abandoning the international segment? I'll have my passport (actually leaving for LHR a few days later from JFK not on AA) and am fully able to enter Argentina (no visa issues, etc). I won't have checked bags.

2. Do I have a strong argument to not be re-routed given that I booked a long New York connection and would make the argument that I have business to conduct there?
1) No issues, doesn't matter if its int'l or domestic, and you have your bases covered re: passport, no bags, etc.

2) Absolutely. People make a stink on here all the time when this question comes up, saying "AA's only obligation is to get you to your final destination" etc. etc. While this is certainly technically true it's not how things work in reality IME. If you were to have irrops it's not as if AA will hold a gun to your head and force you onto another routing. Just call or speak to someone at the airport and you will have zero issues keeping the routing through NYC.
Colin and OskiBear like this.
JJeffrey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 19, 1:57 pm
  #404  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: SZX, HKG
Programs: AA EXP, CX GR, AS MVP GLD
Posts: 399
If you haven’t bought the tickets yet (or within 24hrs), sometimes you can stopover NYC for just the extra security fee for ex-EZE itineraries
OskiBear likes this.
shd9 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 19, 2:52 pm
  #405  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,348
Originally Posted by shd9 View Post
If you haven’t bought the tickets yet (or within 24hrs), sometimes you can stopover NYC for just the extra security fee for ex-EZE itineraries
Exactly, this. If you can get a cheap stopover, this is the way to go. Schedule the final flight as far out to end of schedule as possible without blowing up the price.

It might turn out that you want the segment later, in which case you would be able to use it for just a change fee (to change the date). Also if there is any kind of schedule or equipment change at all (basically a 100% probability on AA) you can refund the final segment.

And, the stopover removes any chance of not getting to your intermediate destination (since AA is contracted to get you there), and you can check a bag if you end up wanting to.
OskiBear likes this.
VegasGambler is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread