New York Times advocates hidden city ticketing!

In a recent article in New York Times, Nate Silver Hidden City pricing.JPG has advocated hidden city ticketing as a way to beat high airfares. Hidden city ticketing is method of booking phantom tickets on flights that you have no intention of taking, in order to get lower fares.

Consider an example that I faced myself last week. I was looking to travel from New York (NYC) to Chicago (ORD). The cheapest one-way fare was ~$200. However American (AA) had a special fare to LAX from NYC via ORD for just $120. I could have booked this ticket and simply de-boarded at ORD. I would have saved $80 if I dumped the phantom ORD to LAX. Nevertheless, I didn’t do it.

I agree that it seems unfair that a 2,000 mile flight is priced half of a 750 mile flight. And I resent the exorbitant airfares charged by various airlines from small cities and hubs. I am not commenting on the ethics of hidden-city ticketing; however, when you are buying a ticket, you are agreeing to the contract of carriage. Nobody forced you to fly!

Hidden city ticketing can have disastrous consequences for frequent-flyers. There are several horror stories on Flyertalk about the repercussions of frequent hidden city ticketing. The airline can easily prohibit you from flying them and freeze your mileage account. I am sure no mile-savvy frequent flyer would want that!

Do you think hidden city ticketing should be practiced?

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  1. Sure. All is fair in love and war…and business. If you can get away with it do it, just don’t get caught.

  2. I’ll be taking my first hidden city ticket in less than a month and in the end, it was all a risk vs reward scenario. Delta was more than willing to heavily discount a ticket between two Star Alliance hubs but wouldn’t give any deals to one of its own.

    I only needed the one way as the return was already booked on an award ticket on another carrier. I’ll take the minimal risk with my meager skypesos account to save 100$. After all, there’s only so many magazine subscriptions you can buy with Skypesos. The decision would have been much more difficult if it had been on either of the other two alliances.

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