I’m sure many people know of the “hidden city” hack by now. Travelers have used it to save money for years, but it’s frowned upon from airlines and it might even give you some major headaches.
Hidden City Trick
Here’s a quick breakdown of what it is. The passenger books a ticket to a random destination with a connection at the intended destination. Passenger then walks away at the connection node, and discards the remaining segment of the flight. Flight fares do not necessarily correlate to the distance flown, which is what enables these pricing discrepancies. As a result, a flight between point A to point C, with a connection at point B, might be cheaper than a flight between point A and point B. It is then possible to purchase a flight ticket from point A to point C, disembark at the connection node (B), and discard the remaining segment (B to C).
But this trick and some others are generally a breach of the contract of carriage between the passenger and the airline, which airlines may try to enforce in various ways. Now Lufthansa is setting a new example by suing a passenger.
Lufthansa Sues Passenger
The German national airline, Lufthansa, is pursuing payment from an unnamed traveler who, it believes, deliberately bought a ticket with no intention of flying the last leg. While an initial court case found in the passenger’s favor, Lufthansa has been given permission to appeal, Independent reports. At the center of the issue is that passengers will pay a premium for non-stop flights.
There are numerous issues with the trick, starting with the mistake of missing out the first segment. Travelers will discover their whole itinerary has been cancelled because they were a “no-show” for the first flight. For passengers who plan to forego the last flight, there is also the risk that checked baggage will be tagged to the final destination. That’s why it’s a good idea to travel lightly in these situations. If you do this regularly, some airlines will even kick you out of their rewards program.
Lufthansa is seeking to make an example and dissuade people from the practice. Getting sued will surely scare people from testing out airlines with these tricks. Let’s see how this court case will play out.