United Airlines Hidden-city ticketing, in short, is when an itinerary is booked in which the final destination is never reached. This is because the itinerary to a city where the traveler has no plans of going is less expensive than an itinerary stopping at the city where the traveler is bound.
The only reason to take a hidden city flight is because it’s cheaper. Airline pricing rules are complex and, to the casual traveler, often make no sense. … Sometimes it ends up cheaper to book connecting flights on a more competitive route than a direct flight on a less competitive route.
Hidden city ticketing is looked down upon in the travel industry but is not technically illegal — yet. You are free to use this method and there’s no denying that Skiplagged features some amazing deals. If you decide to utilize hidden city ticketing, however, you do so at your own risk.
When travelers miss flights and do not notify the airline, the rest of the itinerary is almost always canceled. That means that if you are trying to get a flight deal by gaming the system, you might find yourself stranded, or without a return trip home.
Does Skiplagged charge a fee? There is a service fee with each standard booking completed through Skiplagged, starting around $8. Hidden city bookings are done directly through the airline.
Unsurprisingly, Skiplagged was sued by United Airlines because hidden city ticketing is in their fine print as a breach of contract. If you use hidden city ticketing regularly, you may find yourself in legal trouble. Even more likely, if you do this regularly, some airlines will kick you out of their rewards program.
Webber explained the impact on revenues saying skiplagging means airlines cannot maximize 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.
HIDDEN CITY FARES Most airlines prohibit exploiting these pricing loopholes, though few have prosecuted.
HACKER FARES Another term for two one-way tickets and perfectly legal.
RESIDENT FARES Masking your computer’s address to get fares reserved for local residents may not be illegal but it is technically complex. Try using a foreign travel agent.
Countries/regions eligible to purchase tickets online
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Great Britain
- Hong Kong, China
- Korea, Republic of (South)
- Marshall Islands
- Netherlands Antilles
- New Zealand
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Puerto Rico
- Taiwan, China
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States