“Hidden-city ticketing?” to beat high airfares

Okay, I’ve heard about saving on a pricey one-way ticket by buying a round trip ticket and not using the return. BUT, I hadn’t heard about “Hidden-city ticketing” which was mentioned in a recent NYTimes Magazine story.  Among several examples it used was one from our very own Des Moines where a nonstop flight to Dallas costs $375 but $185 if you go buy a ticket to Los Angeles via a connection in Dallas – but you don’t take the connecting flight.  You have to book two one-way flights rather than a round trip because if you miss the first segment of your return flight home, the airline will usually cancel it. (Which raises the question – aren’t two one-way flights more expensive than a round trip?))

The writer also acknowledges that airlines don’t like this and in some cases forbid it – but he says they have limited recourse and the risk of being detected is small if you only do this a few times a year.

more tips:

– This works best if your destination is a hub airport dominated by a few carriers – i.e. Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta etc.

– Then search for “phantom flights” into airports with more competitive fares – like NYC, Boston, Vegas, Miami. Kayak.com lets you select the desired connecting airport (i.e. your REAL destination.)

–  Don’t check your bags – or they’ll end up in the wrong airport. And get to the gate early enough so you are assured a spot in an overhead bin.

– If caught, don’t lie. Or you could face fraud charges

All toll…this doesn’t sound like that great an idea…


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Filed under airfare, Des Moines

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