Might You Be Sued For Hidden City Airline Ticketing?

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fountainhall
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Might You Be Sued For Hidden City Airline Ticketing?

Post by fountainhall » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:24 am

Early this month, Lufthansa took a passenger to court for doing just this. The airline is claiming US$2,0000 in lost revenue.
It’s all about a sneaky travel havk out there, right under your nose – but you may not even know it exists. It could save you big money on airfare.

And airlines are doing everything they can to stamp it out once and for all.

It’s called “skiplagging”, and here’s how it works: Say if someone wants to fly from Boston to Houston, but the airfare is too high. So they buy a ticket from Boston to Las Vegas with a layover in Houston, because it is cheaper than the direct Boston-to-Houston fare. The passenger disembarks at Houston, leaving an unused portion of the ticket. So they never actually finish the entire journey they booked – but they’ve saved money doing so.
As the BBC article points out, skiplagging has been going on for many years and the airlines are really pissed off about it. I know some travel agents who just will not issue tickets if they know a passenger will skip off the aircraft before the final destination. Some years ago, British Airways said it would keep records of passengers known to have done this and either refuse bookings from the agency in future or claw back the lost revenue from a passenger’s credit card account.

The airlines themselves are the ones who have created this situation mostly through ridiculous ticket pricing on many routes. When I flew from Berlin to Chicago via London some years ago, the ticket was considerably cheaper than if I had purchased one on exactly the same flights on exactly the same dates but omitting the Berlin to London sectors. That makes no sense economically,, but most airlines still practice it!

Skiplagging is very similar to another price saving practice that the airlines finally managed to stamp out - but only after it had been happening for well over a decade.

I am not sure if there was a name for it but it involved scrapping the first sector of a multi-sector ticket. In the 1980s it was far more expensive to fly Tokyo to New York than it was Hong Kong to New York with a stopover in Tokyo. So clients in Tokyo would sometimes ask me to purchase tickets for them in Hong Kong when they wanted to fly to the USA. I’d send it to them and they would just tear up the Hong/Kong/Tokyo coupon. My clients saved a ton of cash and the airlines could do nothing about it until finally they got a computer programme that wiped all remaining flights if the first flight on an issued ticket was not flown.
Tony Webber, CEO of aviation research company Air Intelligence and former Qantas chief economist, says lawsuits like the one filed by Lufthansa are a scare tactic.

Webber explained the impact on revenues saying skiplagging means airlines cannot maximise revenues because, had they sold the seat directly, they would have probably received a higher fare. So, hidden-city ticketing lowers the yield they receive from each seat and complicates what is already a small-margin business.

But, Harteveldt [Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel advisory firm Atmosphere Research]
argues, airlines overbook because they know some won’t show up so it is unlikely the seat will fly empty.
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/201902 ... lines-hate

There is a skiplaggers website that gives information on how to take advantage of cheaper flights - https://skiplagged.com

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Jun
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Re: Might You Be Sued For Hidden City Airline Ticketing?

Post by Jun » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:09 pm

fountainhall wrote:As the BBC article points out, skiplagging has been going on for many years and the airlines are really pissed off about it. I know some travel agents who just will not issue tickets if they know a passenger will skip off the aircraft before the final destination. Some years ago, British Airways said it would keep records of passengers known to have done this and either refuse bookings from the agency in future or claw back the lost revenue from a passenger’s credit card account.

The airlines themselves are the ones who have created this situation mostly through ridiculous ticket pricing on many routes.
I have zero sympathy with the airlines for this.
Furthermore, providing the passenger has no checked baggage, I think the law should side with the passenger and it should be illegal for airlines to take any form of sanction against the passenger.

The only thing the airlines need to do is have a "no-waiting" policy for no show passengers without checked baggage. In my view, that's exactly what they should do anyway, as one disorganized late person should not keep another 350 waiting.

firecat69
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Re: Might You Be Sued For Hidden City Airline Ticketing?

Post by firecat69 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:20 pm

There was time when most US airlines were losing a fortune every year but certainly in the last 8 years they are all cash cows and their stocks have done quite well. Can't imagine if they would bother with this BS but then again they are Big Business needing to pay their Executives exorbitant salaries.

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