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Consolidated "Hidden City Ticketing Questions"

Consolidated "Hidden City Ticketing Questions"

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Old Oct 28, 18, 1:24 am   -   Wikipost
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from Airline booking ploys
Throwaway ticketing is purchasing a ticket with the intent to use only a portion of the included travel. This situation may arise when a passenger wants to travel only one way, but where the discounted round-trip excursion fare is cheaper than a one-way ticket
Throwaway Tickets , such book RT and only use OW - any issues with UA?

Hidden city ticketing (HCT) is a variant of throwaway ticketing. The passenger books a ticket to a fictitious destination (the "hidden" city) with a connection at the intended destination, walks away at the connection node, and discards the remaining segment.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 4:54 pm
  #376  
 
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post


I can see how you might think that. Nevertheless, I am not.

Let me lay this out as simply as possible. Jane buys a HCT and affirms that she understands and agrees to the CoC. In reality she hasn’t even read them, let alone understood and agreed to them. UA knows this and sells her the ticket anyway. Jane terminates her journey midway and saves a few bucks. UA confiscates her miles. End of story.

In FlyerTalk fantasy land, UA then takes Jane to court for fraud — she deceived them by claiming to agree to terms she never even read. But then UA loses. So UA doesn’t take her to court. Which is why the end of story is, in fact, the end of the story.
Yeah, this is definitely misunderstanding the legal landscape in which airline tickets are purchased. If UA sued a flier to recover the difference for a "skiplagged" ticket, the cause of action wouldn't be fraud, it would be breach of contract. And, as I pointed out above, the significance of the representation that she understood and agreed to the terms of the COC has nothing to with fraud: it just means that UA would have a basis for not needing to prove that she actually understood them when it attempts to enforce the contract. (None of this is to take any position as to the merits of such a suit or whether UA would win.)
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Old Oct 23, 18, 9:00 am
  #377  
 
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
And, as I pointed out above, the significance of the representation that she understood and agreed to the terms of the COC has nothing to with fraud: it just means that UA would have a basis for not needing to prove that she actually understood them when it attempts to enforce the contract.
Agreed. My point is simply that while the COC is a contract in name (obviously), and may well be a contract for legal purposes, but what it absolutely is not is a good-faith contract between two parties. UA not only expects me to violate the very first line of our contract (“...you agree to and understand fare rules, COC, etc...”), they in fact want me to.
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Old Oct 23, 18, 9:25 am
  #378  
 
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post
Agreed. My point is simply that while the COC is a contract in name (obviously), and may well be a contract for legal purposes, but what it absolutely is not is a good-faith contract between two parties. UA not only expects me to violate the very first line of our contract (“...you agree to and understand fare rules, COC, etc...”), they in fact want me to.
I disagree. They make both the COC and the fare rules easy to locate (IIRC, with a direct hyperlink right next to that checkbox and the CoC is linked from the bottom of -every- page on ua.com) -- if UA "wanted" you to not read or understand the fare rules they would make it much harder to find.

Someone makes the election not to read, or to read and not understand, an agreement at their peril -- especially if they're making the affirmative representation that they've done both (and UA won't let you complete a purchase online without that representation). I will agree that some of the fare rules are head-scratchingly convoluted/awkwardly phrased -- but the CoC is easily comprehended by someone of average intelligence reading it. (And it would be nice if UA had a good faith "if you're unable to understand these rules...call..." service)

The decision to say you've read/understand/agree to something of expediency is a risk/reward proposition that everyone takes into hand. I make a point of skimming of the fine print in all of my agreements at least once (and the contract of carriage every 6 months or so) -- but I don't read all of the fare rules every time (because the risk I undertake by not doing it is, IMO, less than the value of my time to actually do it) -- and make similar value decisions all the time: I drove plenty of people crazy at closing for my house by reading every sentence of every page before signing to close/for the mortgage -- but give relatively little mind to low-value online purchases.

But regardless of those examples -- be it my mortgage or a $5 Amazon purchase, the other party has the right to reasonably agree that when I said I read and agreed [with a physical or electronic signature/checkbox] that I did, in fact, read and agree. I think the only way to make that more clear would be to make you pass a quiz on the contract terms -- which everyone would decry as ridiculous.
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Old Oct 23, 18, 9:59 am
  #379  
 
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or just buy the ticket from a telephone agent where there is absolutely no mention of any contract

or just buy the cheap hidden city fare without another thought on the matter, until after you've flown the first segment when you'll be able to spend 10 minutes online requesting a refund of the unflown segment for the trivialist of delays or shed change.

it's that easy. do it at a reasonable volume of a leisure travel and you'll be fine. seriously.
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Old Oct 23, 18, 10:48 am
  #380  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Has that happened?

In the case of Skiplagged -- they were not a party to the CoC (a defect many had with the UA case) and apparently the court dropped the case for a jurisdiction issue -- nothing related to the merits of the case. So neither of those apply to a passenger.

Actually not aware of anyone posting that a passenger was taken to court.
Taking a passenger to court is more of a public relations decision, akin to the RIAA suing grandmothers and 12-year-olds for using Napster. The fact that United hasn't done this probably has little to do with whether they'd win the case.

One of two things would happen:

(1) They'd sue somebody, and nobody would notice outside of aviation nerd boards.
(2) Some local paper would pick it up, and start running stories about fortress hubs, United's relationship with local politicians, how United lobbies Congress, the 10 or 20 most egregious examples of monopoly pricing in the U.S. air travel market, the decline in competitiveness across the airline industry in recent years, the posting of record profits, the cartel-like behaviors that the government often ignores, the lack of a passenger Bill of Rights, etc., etc., etc.

They'd make the defendant look like the victim, outgunned by corporate lawyers and their greedy overlords. They'd make United, and quite possibly the politicians who receive money from airlines, look like the villains.

Although we (mostly) agree that analogies to HCT all suck, the general public doesn't see why they can't buy two bananas, choose not to eat the 2nd one, and *not* pay a $1000 fine for that.

United could very well win a small contract law case and end up looking almost as bad as when they dragged an elderly doctor off an airplane. (Okay, maybe not quite that bad. )
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Old Oct 23, 18, 11:27 am
  #381  
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Taking a passenger to court is more of a public relations decision, akin to the RIAA suing grandmothers and 12-year-olds for using Napster. The fact that United hasn't done this probably has little to do with whether they'd win the case.
At the end of the day any corporation who has to face a jury will have tremendous pause due to the inherent risk in doing so.

However many "normal" citizens are emplaned will carry their unknown biases, prejudices, beliefs, etc. which will be used to articulate the jury's verdict. There's no way to know these in advance and jury selection can only weed out the obviously biased potential jurors. Point is even if the law is blatantly on UA's side, a jury can STILL tell the airline to pound sand - think back to the northern juries pre civil way who refused to convict those who aided runaway slaves if you're looking for a dramatic example of this in action.

If it becomes precedent that UA (or any carrier) cannot enforce an unconscionable aspect of the Contract of Carriage - i.e. FORCING a customer to take a flight - it kicks out a major component of how airlines sell and price their fares. Moreover, it also opens the door for lawsuits against the carrier for retributions taken against customers. UA closed my account for hidden city ticketing? That's not fair! The entire concept of "hidden city ticketing" is unconscionable therefore it is also unconscionable for UA to take any negative action against me! AND if a sanction or closure of a M+ account goes to a jury the law might again be on UA's side but the jury might STILL decide against UA and blow a massive hole in the concept of loyalty accounts are the property of the issuer and can be changed/closed at the issuer's whim.

Anyways the tl;dr of this is litigation is fraught with peril. If UA loses the entire industry may be dealt a serious blow and even if UA "wins" they can still lose in the long run.
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Old Oct 23, 18, 4:30 pm
  #382  
 
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Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
At the end of the day any corporation who has to face a jury will have tremendous pause due to the inherent risk in doing so.

However many "normal" citizens are emplaned will carry their unknown biases, prejudices, beliefs, etc. which will be used to articulate the jury's verdict. There's no way to know these in advance and jury selection can only weed out the obviously biased potential jurors. Point is even if the law is blatantly on UA's side, a jury can STILL tell the airline to pound sand - think back to the northern juries pre civil way who refused to convict those who aided runaway slaves if you're looking for a dramatic example of this in action.

If it becomes precedent that UA (or any carrier) cannot enforce an unconscionable aspect of the Contract of Carriage - i.e. FORCING a customer to take a flight - it kicks out a major component of how airlines sell and price their fares. Moreover, it also opens the door for lawsuits against the carrier for retributions taken against customers. UA closed my account for hidden city ticketing? That's not fair! The entire concept of "hidden city ticketing" is unconscionable therefore it is also unconscionable for UA to take any negative action against me! AND if a sanction or closure of a M+ account goes to a jury the law might again be on UA's side but the jury might STILL decide against UA and blow a massive hole in the concept of loyalty accounts are the property of the issuer and can be changed/closed at the issuer's whim.

Anyways the tl;dr of this is litigation is fraught with peril. If UA loses the entire industry may be dealt a serious blow and even if UA "wins" they can still lose in the long run.
It would be very interesting to know how many cents on the dollar (if any) collection outfits would be willing to pay United for "skiplagging" debts it asserts it is owed by fliers.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 2:04 pm
  #383  
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Unlikely IB is willing to short-check a simple itin like this with a "normal" connection. You'd have better luck if an overnight was involved or some other oddity.

Maybe go to Barcelona, spend a couple days there, and go back to Madrid via flight or train? Both are wonderful cities more than worthy of a visit.

Seems like moving a couple hotel bookings around shouldn't be too hard unless there's some crazy-huge event going on in either city.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 4:04 pm
  #384  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Unlikely IB is willing to short-check a simple itin like this with a "normal" connection. You'd have better luck if an overnight was involved or some other oddity.

Maybe go to Barcelona, spend a couple days there, and go back to Madrid via flight or train? Both are wonderful cities more than worthy of a visit.

Seems like moving a couple hotel bookings around shouldn't be too hard unless there's some crazy-huge event going on in either city.
Train between Madrid & Barcelona is great!
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Old Oct 28, 18, 12:20 am
  #385  
 
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Dropped City Ticketing Is it Allowed?

I am about to book a flight from LAX-EZE via IAH both ways. (LAX-IAH-EZE-IAH-LAX)

My final destination in the end is SEA. But booking LAX-EZE ROUNDTRIP and then booking a one way flight from IAH-SEA is cheaper than doing it properly (multi city) through United.

That is, I won't take my final flight IAH-LAX, but take IAH-SEA on a separate ticket, might as well as I have to recheck my bags anyway on international flights.

Will the system allow this?
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Old Oct 28, 18, 12:29 am
  #386  
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It's hidden city ticketing and a violation of UA's contract of carriage. And yes, there is definitely a risk UA will cancel your IAH-SEA segment as a duplicate. If you're going to do this, I'd suggest a different carrier for IAH-SEA, except that will be a one-stop itinerary, so you might as well just fly IAH-LAX and then book LAX-SEA.
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Old Oct 28, 18, 12:31 am
  #387  
 
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Thank you for the answer,

Any idea when UA will decide to cancel it? What is the risk, cancellation rate? I got a reservation but no ticket yet.

Sadly Alaska does not work for me for the times given, so I may as well fly Spirit with one stop in LAS to SEA, still cheaper than LAX-SEA for me, and no stupid terminal change, baggage pickup and security again at LAX.
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Old Oct 28, 18, 12:35 am
  #388  
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Originally Posted by macintoshd View Post
Sadly Alaska does not work for me for the times given, so I may as well fly Spirit with one stop in LAS to SEA, still cheaper than LAX-SEA for me, and no stupid terminal change, baggage pickup and security again at LAX.
I'm not sure which is worse - having UA cancel your onward ticket IAH-SEA, or flying Spirit.

Why wouldn't you just fly UA LAX-SEA?
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Old Oct 28, 18, 12:37 am
  #389  
 
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More expensive, and I am not sure they can actually check in my baggage all the way through from EZE to SEA if the LAX-SEA is a different ticket. LAX requires you to exit security to pick up baggage and to go through security again to recheck it.
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Old Oct 28, 18, 12:52 am
  #390  
 
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Originally Posted by macintoshd View Post
More expensive, and I am not sure they can actually check in my baggage all the way through from EZE to SEA if the LAX-SEA is a different ticket. LAX requires you to exit security to pick up baggage and to go through security again to recheck it.
Technically, yes, United can interline baggage to itself on a separate ticket. However, in practice, many check-in agents don't know how to do this. You could ask that your bag be checked through EZE-IAH-LAX-SEA at EZE; however, don't be surprised if none of the EZE agents knows how to do it- it is an outstation, after all. Alternatively, could pull and have the bags re-tagged at IAH; however, the system will show that you already have a bag checked in; and, the agent may get an error message and look at you with some funny questions. Could also retag the bags at LAX; however, as you said, you'll have to leave security to grab your bags, walk upstairs to check in again, and then proceed back through security.
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