Leaving plane at intermediate stop?

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caravanman

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Pricing up flights I notice that most routes with a stopover, a change of planes, tend to be cheaper than direct flights.
Provided that one follows the full outward journey, is there any reason why a passenger with hand luggage only, could not just abandon the last leg of the return journey?
What sanctions, if any, do airlines impose?
 

AmtrakBlue

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Maybe if you just hang out in a terminal bar till your connecting flight leaves w/o you, you'll have an excuse to give them if they "catch" you. 🤣
 
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It's called "Hidden City Ticketing". There are a lot of routes this works on, but there can be penalties if they catch you. The "missed my flight and took the bus the rest of the way" excuse would likely only work once. That said, especially in current times with reduced staffing, the chances of being caught are fairly remote.

As a lifetime AA flyer familiar with their "variables" I'm aware of several... just not sure I'd jeopardize my status benefits for a one-time saving.
 
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Pricing up flights I notice that most routes with a stopover, a change of planes, tend to be cheaper than direct flights.
Provided that one follows the full outward journey, is there any reason why a passenger with hand luggage only, could not just abandon the last leg of the return journey?
What sanctions, if any, do airlines impose?
Your example is an interesting case study, since it involves actually completing 3/4 of a round trip. Would it be something like you live in Point B, took the train to Point A, then needed to fly to Point C and the cheapest routing was via Point B in both directions? On the return you wouldn't complete the trip? :)
 

jebr

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The biggest immediate consequence would be that any ongoing segments on that ticket would be cancelled - so you'd have to only book one-way trips. You also couldn't check baggage, as that's routed to your final ticketed destination. Other immediate considerations would be if there's a schedule change which results in a change of schedule (bypassing the layover point) or IRROPs where the airline reroutes you through another layover point, again causing you to miss your intended destination.

Long-term, most airlines do ban using these types of tricks in their contract of carriage. They almost certainly wouldn't do anything if it happened once or twice, but if it happens on a regular basis they'll likely take some sort of corrective action. It may just be a scary letter, or it may be as far as killing your loyalty account entirely (losing any miles/status tied to it as well) and/or banning you from the airline entirely.
 
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I have a hard time thinking of a situation that would require that type of scheme for me. I think it may cause the airline a little discomfort and you may get a call from the authorities.
Cheerio.
 
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Isn't this called "skipjacking" or something? There were flight forums dedicated to it - when I did a big international trip a couple years ago one of my fellow travellers wanted to try this, but it was overruled (especially as it wasn't actually cheaper). I remember it being problematic for some of the reasons above, even at the time.
 

PaunchyPirate

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Through the years, I've read stories about members of the airlines Frequent Flyer program being stripped of their status for doing this. If you have no status it may not matter. Either way, you can probably do it once, twice, who knows how many times. I suspect you might eventually be added to a no-fly list.
 

BCL

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As noted before, it's called "hidden city" and there's a ton of problems with it including the possibility of being rerouted where the replacement flights go a different route, including nonstop to the purchased destination. And since it would require a no-show where the rest of the ticket would be cancelled, it's a bad idea if one wants to book round trip.

And it does break the contract of carriage. The worst happens when it's the same plane with one or more stops. I've heard of serious security checks when the head count was off. That would make things really difficult for other passengers. Not only do they need to take time to figure out which passenger is not on the plane, but with security concerns they might worry about the possibility that someone left carry-on (or perhaps even check-in baggage) that might be a danger to the aircraft and passengers.
 
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Isn't this called "skipjacking" or something? There were flight forums dedicated to it - when I did a big international trip a couple years ago one of my fellow travellers wanted to try this, but it was overruled (especially as it wasn't actually cheaper). I remember it being problematic for some of the reasons above, even at the time.
I stand corrected: Skiplagging is the correct term!
 

VAtrainfan

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Especially now with all the staffing shortages causing canceled flights and re-routes to different hubs, there's a higher-than-normal likelihood you'd be rerouted. I have a flight coming up next month and it's already changed 7 times since I booked it, and my connecting hub has changed from DTW to LGA and back to DTW before ending up in ATL. And it's still more than a month out, so I expect to get rerouted to SLC before this trip actually happens.
 

blueman271

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Isn't this called "skipjacking" or something? There were flight forums dedicated to it - when I did a big international trip a couple years ago one of my fellow travellers wanted to try this, but it was overruled (especially as it wasn't actually cheaper). I remember it being problematic for some of the reasons above, even at the time.
It’s called hidden city ticketing and it is frowned upon by the airlines. While I don‘t see any problems with it I would take two big precautions while doing it. 1 Don’t do it on any airline you have a FF account, or status, with. 2 Don’t check any luggage and don’t fly with that airline again for a while if possible. Other than that customers have every right to select products that provide the best value and if that means you decide to cut your trip short at a connection point then so be it.
 
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It’s called hidden city ticketing and it is frowned upon by the airlines. While I don‘t see any problems with it I would take two big precautions while doing it. 1 Don’t do it on any airline you have a FF account, or status, with. 2 Don’t check any luggage and don’t fly with that airline again for a while if possible. Other than that customers have every right to select products that provide the best value and if that means you decide to cut your trip short at a connection point then so be it.
That's might work if you're changing planes at the intermediate point. In that case you'd just be a "no show" on the connecting flight. But if you get off a through plane that's just stopping at the intermediate, they do a headcount of continuing passengers before they let the new passengers board. If they come up short, I'm not sure what they do, but I can only suspect that it will severely delay the outbound flight and perhaps even raise issues of terrorism (maybe the person who left the plane left a bomb on board before he left.) I would imagine that the airline would be really, really upset at a passenger who pulled a stunt like that.

By the way, I don't think customers have "every right to select products that provide the best value" if what they're selecting violates the contract of carriage they implicitly accepted when they bought the ticket.
 

blueman271

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That's might work if you're changing planes at the intermediate point. In that case you'd just be a "no show" on the connecting flight. But if you get off a through plane that's just stopping at the intermediate, they do a headcount of continuing passengers before they let the new passengers board. If they come up short, I'm not sure what they do, but I can only suspect that it will severely delay the outbound flight and perhaps even raise issues of terrorism (maybe the person who left the plane left a bomb on board before he left.) I would imagine that the airline would be really, really upset at a passenger who pulled a stunt like that.

By the way, I don't think customers have "every right to select products that provide the best value" if what they're selecting violates the contract of carriage they implicitly accepted when they bought the ticket.
When the contract of carriage allows the airlines to sell more seats on the plane than are physically present or change my nonstop midday flight to a one stop early morning flight with no recourse, who cares about the contract of carriage. They sell transportation, and transportation is what I bought. The contract of carriage is basically BS that is written to benefit the airlines and provides no real consumer protections. You can play by their rules if you want, I’ll save money flying how I want.
 

blueman271

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Pricing up flights I notice that most routes with a stopover, a change of planes, tend to be cheaper than direct flights.
Provided that one follows the full outward journey, is there any reason why a passenger with hand luggage only, could not just abandon the last leg of the return journey?
What sanctions, if any, do airlines impose?
As an aside, this is really easy to do entering the US. Lets say you wanted to fly LHR-JFK, but the nonstop was too expensive. If you found a cheap ticket LHR-JFK-XXX, with XXX being a US domestic destination, it would be super easy to retrieve your luggage, clear customs and immigration, and walk out of the airport at JFK. Would the airline like it, no. Is there anything they could do if you weren’t flying them again in the near future, no.
 
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The contract of carriage is basically BS that is written to benefit the airlines and provides no real consumer protections. You can play by their rules if you want, I’ll save money flying how I want.
I'd like to see how that might end up in court. It might be true that the airlines are cheating passengers, but, then they're the ones who own and fly the airplanes, so they can make up whatever rules they want about fares. That was the whole point of airline deregulation. On the other hand, someone who violates these rules, however unfair, is really cheating the airline. The public has no entitlement to cheap airline fares, after all, especially cheap airline fares that violate the rules set by the airlines. Yeah, I play by the rules, and I really get annoyed at people who think that they're so special that the rules don't apply to them.
 

blueman271

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I'd like to see how that might end up in court. It might be true that the airlines are cheating passengers, but, then they're the ones who own and fly the airplanes, so they can make up whatever rules they want about fares. That was the whole point of airline deregulation. On the other hand, someone who violates these rules, however unfair, is really cheating the airline. The public has no entitlement to cheap airline fares, after all, especially cheap airline fares that violate the rules set by the airlines. Yeah, I play by the rules, and I really get annoyed at people who think that they're so special that the rules don't apply to them.
Legally the airlines have no grounds to go after any customer that engages hidden city ticketing. No US airline has tried, and when Lufthansa did they failed. You can find that information by googling hidden city ticketing lawsuits.

Airline contracts of carriage are very specific and spell out in no uncertain terms that they are selling transportation between two points. They do not guarantee specific seats, or specific planes, or even specific routes. When you buy a ticket between three cities the airline has agreed to transport you between those three cities. That you may not need the last portion of transportation is none of the airlines business. Pepsi doesn’t get mad if I buy a soda take a sip and throw the rest out do they? Furthermore, if you pay your fare, show up on time, engage in the kabuki theatre that is TSA checkpoints, respect airport and airline workers, and don’t cause any trouble on the planes you are following the rules. If you want to subject yourself to arbitrary rules designed by corporations for their benefit then that’s on you.
 
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It’s called hidden city ticketing and it is frowned upon by the airlines. While I don‘t see any problems with it I would take two big precautions while doing it. 1 Don’t do it on any airline you have a FF account, or status, with. 2 Don’t check any luggage and don’t fly with that airline again for a while if possible. Other than that customers have every right to select products that provide the best value and if that means you decide to cut your trip short at a connection point then so be it.
Most airlines have rules that very specifically prohibit this type of activity. If you choose to violate the rules that you agree to under the contract of carriage, The airline may or may not take action against you, but in most countries, including this one, they have the right to make rules that benefit themselves and if you don't like it, you are welcome to risk the repercussions or not use that service. Many people feel the same way, but the laws are not on your side.
 

blueman271

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Most airlines have rules that very specifically prohibit this type of activity. If you choose to violate the rules that you agree to under the contract of carriage, The airline may or may not take action against you, but in most countries, including this one, they have the right to make rules that benefit themselves and if you don't like it, you are welcome to risk the repercussions or not use that service. Many people feel the same way, but the laws are not on your side.
If the legal case against this were as cut and dry as you make it seem then surely the airlines, with their large bank accounts and corporate lawyers, would go after customers that did this. They have all the information they could possibly need to file a lawsuit including full names, date of birth, current address etc. I wonder why the airlines haven’t been more proactive in using the courts to stamp this activity out? Maybe it’s because they know they would get laughed out of court.
 
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They do what takes the least effort and cost. Airlines have cancelled FF accounts, and occasionally cancelled return tickets. They will do what they can when they feel like it, and that puts the onus on the traveler to go to court seeking redress. They don't get laughed out of court. The record doesn't bear that out.
 

railiner

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While I like the old regulated way of charging mileage based fares, I have no problem with the current way of market based fares on nonstop fights.
However, I do find fault with someone on my flight, purchasing their ticket at the same time, but getting a lower fare because they are continuing on further. To me that is totally illogical, and if someone takes advantage of working the ‘system’, good for them…
 
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The system in place has its oddities and can be a plus for some and a negative for others. My point is, people who think they are gaming the system without breaking enforceable rules are mistaken, and many people think that rules that work against them are ok to be broken. If you don't like the terms of a deal, don't use that company or service.
 

blueman271

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They do what takes the least effort and cost. Airlines have cancelled FF accounts, and occasionally cancelled return tickets. They will do what they can when they feel like it, and that puts the onus on the traveler to go to court seeking redress. They don't get laughed out of court. The record doesn't bear that out.
Nowhere did I say there wouldn’t be consequences for engaging in this practice. I fully understand that airlines can and will claw back FF miles and or elite status. Those actions are outside the law. If you can show me a case where an airline has taken an individual to court for engaging in hidden city ticketing and won I would be eager to see it.
 
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