Cranky on the Web (December 1 – 5 ) – Hidden City Ticketing, First Class, More

This secret trick could save you money on airfare — but bewareDigital Trends
I was asked to comment about hidden city ticketing – where you buy a ticket to one place but get off at the connecting point to save money.

With new A380, Emirates brings high flying luxury to HoustonHouston Chronicle
With Emirates bringing its A380 to Houston, the paper did a little piece talking about ultra luxury First Class and asked me about the state of that offering.

In the Trenches: Crafting a Differentiated ProductSmall Business Center
We’ve bulked up our small business travel programs by including mileage searches as well as paid. It’s actually a great way to manage travel, and we’re already helping people save a ton.

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10 Responses to Cranky on the Web (December 1 – 5 ) – Hidden City Ticketing, First Class, More

  1. David SF eastbah says:

    For hidden city airlines need only blame themselves for it. If a person has a ticket and doesn’t cancel some of the space and exchange their ticket prior to the flight, then airlines should make unused coupons worthless and charge the traveler for the actual travel they did if it would have cost more. With all the computers now a days, you would think they could handle that.

    • Patrick says:

      I find it rather unlikely that a contract clause allowing an airline to charge a customer more if they don’t travel on all segments would be upheld in court. Their only real recourse would be to deny you future passage (but they would have to notify you of that ahead of time.)

      I’ve never used a hidden travel booking, but I don’t consider it immoral, unscrupulous (of the customer), or otherwise wrong even though the airlines don’t like it. Just as it’s expected that airlines will do everything they can to maximize profit, passengers shouldn’t be blamed for trying to maximize their savings.

  2. David SF eastbay says:

    Cranky for small businesses you are working with, are you working with them to make sure they have a travel policy for all employees to follow which can help save the company money over employees just booking their own travel. Seems a lot of companies don’t have a policy or don’t mandate one if they do.

    • CF says:

      David SF – Yeah, some of them have a travel policy already but with others we work with them to craft one. Sometimes, these companies have one person making all the bookings as a central point of contact anyway. So it’s not as much of an issue. But for others, we definitely do reign them in if the company wants a good handle on things.

  3. BJ says:

    I know youve posted the reasons before but having a fare to onwards destination less than a mid point doesnt make sense. In the example above, fares to NY are higher because planes are full of people travelling on. It is a crazy system that seems to be predominantly a US quirk.

  4. Steve says:

    I pulled the hidden city trick last year to fly SAN-PHL on US Air’s direct flight. Have a backup plan if possible. I booked to Baltimore so I could drive to PHL quickly if I was rerouted. United did that to me last year, sending me through DEN instead of IAD on my DFW-SAN flight because of bad weather in Houston. Thanks to a mechanical delay I spent the night in Denver, though with family there, it was a bonus. Had Houston been my hidden city I would’ve been SOL.

  5. David says:

    The airlines have themselves to blame on the hidden city ticketing issue. There is a widely held principle in society, that if you want more of something, then you have to pay more.
    If airlines are unable or unwilling to enforce the details of a contract with individual passengers (which seems to be substantially the case), then they need to follow the principle of “If you want more then you must pay more”. That extra ride on a plane has to add to the fare, even if just a small amount – in a financial markets situation, the failure to do so would be called an arbitrage.
    Hidden city ticketing has to be either widely enforced through the courts, or the arguments of an airline become just hot air.

    • CF says:

      David – I disagree. Sometimes less is more. Nobody is buying a connecting flight because they want to connect. People buy a connecting flight either because there is no nonstop option or the price is too high on that nonstop option. So you pay less for an inferior product. It would be silly for airlines to price their product based on the costs involved in providing it. They should price based on demand, and the demand for a better product, the nonstop option between two cities, is worth more to people.

      • David says:

        CF – under normal conditions you’re right, but when pricing policy becomes sufficiently different from the cost of producing a product, consumers and markets start to behave in highly unusual ways.

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