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United asking gate agents to report hidden ticket travelers

United asking gate agents to report hidden ticket travelers

Old Aug 1, 19, 6:34 pm
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United asking gate agents to report hidden ticket travelers

"United Airlines wants airport agents to monitor what it calls a “a growing trend” of so-called hidden-city ticketing, or passengers who book cheap fares to cities they do not intend to visit to save money. United is asking agents to cite possible scofflaws to its corporate security department, according to a new internal memo."

https://skift.com/2019/08/01/united-...cheaper-fares/
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Old Aug 1, 19, 6:40 pm
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I was going to respond that this is old news...until I saw the date of the link!
Didn't we come across this sort of thing some years ago?

But anyway, how is a GA even going to be able to identify hidden ticket travelers?
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Old Aug 1, 19, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
...But anyway, how is a GA even going to be able to identify hidden ticket travelers?
One thought would be for them to report no-shows. They already have the information on incoming connecting passengers and can see those that have adequate time to get to the gate but don't show up. For passengers who "miss" multiple connecting flights on one-way itineraries with no checked bags, they would likely get flagged.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 6:54 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
I was going to respond that this is old news...until I saw the date of the link!
Didn't we come across this sort of thing some years ago?

But anyway, how is a GA even going to be able to identify hidden ticket travelers?
No-show for a connection they should have been able to make, with no return journey on the same PNR?

Certainly not a guarantee, but I suspect 99% of people who meet those criteria are engaging in hidden city ticketing.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
No-show for a connection they should have been able to make, with no return journey on the same PNR?

Certainly not a guarantee, but I suspect 99% of people who meet those criteria are engaging in hidden city ticketing.
Computer can pick that up. GA wonít know inbound pax walked off connecting flight and exited the airport till closing connecting flight.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 6:59 pm
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If the passengers are dumb enough to approach the GA and say that they won't be taking the final segment, this would be a red flag unless they can credibly claim an extenuating circumstance such as being sick.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B View Post


Computer can pick that up. GA wonít know inbound pax walked off connecting flight and exited the airport till closing connecting flight.
I agree on both counts.

The article (which I've now read) talks about agents taking care when talking to pax about these issues, even in the context of checking bags. So maybe this is more pre-travel when someone asks to short-check?

Because once travel is completed, as you said, a computer can trivially pick these things up.

But if they're not going to stop the passenger from flying, I don't know why they'd want the agents involved at all.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:02 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post

But anyway, how is a GA even going to be able to identify hidden ticket travelers?
My bet is that some people are just outright telling gate agents that they aren't taking the flight. People tend to provide more information than they really need to. Now corporate is telling the gate agents to send up suspicious behaviors, whereas in the past it might of gone unreported. Not sure how likely a gate agent would be to really focus on this, as they have a lot going on and the last thing on their mind is tracking down violators.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:04 pm
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I'm hard-pressed to believe UA is actually losing money that means something material to Scott Kirby's bottom line due to hidden-city tickets.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by freeagent View Post
the last thing on their mind is tracking down violators.
Unless United offers them a bounty.

Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
I'm hard-pressed to believe UA is actually losing money that means something material to Scott Kirby's bottom line due to hidden-city tickets.
With hub-to-hub flights that are full/oversold and could otherwise bring in good revenue, I can see it.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:05 pm
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Specifically curious is this excerpt: "... United is asking its employees to understand a customerís predicament before making accusations of hidden-city ticketing. ďAsk questions and understand the customerís situation,Ē the memo said."

How is a GA going to even make an accusation, if the pax never turns up for the flight?

And what exactly is an "airport agent" the article refers to? (This thread's title uses "gate agent", the linked article does not.)
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:06 pm
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It would also be suspicious to ask to short check a bag, especially if the passenger then decides to do carry on only when the request is denied....or if someone fails to recheck a bag after exiting customs on a USA international arrival.

Bottom line: If you do this, standard advice has been not to do it too often and now you also should avoid calling attention to it or even having unnecessary contact with agents (which can be a good thing otherwise too).
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Specifically curious is this excerpt: "... United is asking its employees to understand a customerís predicament before making accusations of hidden-city ticketing. ďAsk questions and understand the customerís situation,Ē the memo said."

How is a GA going to even make an accusation, if the pax never turns up for the flight?

And what exactly is an "airport agent" the article refers to? (This thread's title uses "gate agent", the linked article does not.)
I believe this is specifically referring to people who go to an agent -- presumably a gate agent, but possibly also a customer service or baggage service agent -- and ask for their bags to be offloaded at a connection point due to whatever situation has come up.

The article also states that the airline "has to" reunite the passenger with their bags, if the bags have flown on and the customer has not, by flying the bag back at the airline's own expense. I don't believe that for a moment.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:12 pm
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I foresee a funny reverse-Dao scenario:

"United Gate Agent calls airport police and force a passenger onto a plane, strap them into their seat, and make them take the last leg of their flight."
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:13 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
With hub-to-hub flights that are full/oversold and could otherwise bring in good revenue, I can see it.
Color me skeptical. UA or some other airline is going to erroneously dock someone who had a valid reason to not connect and get absolutely crushed in the PR department. It seems like it is more trouble than it is worth.
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