American Airlines Cracking Down On Hidden City Ticketing?

Filed Under: American

American Airlines’ corporate security department seems to have a bit of time on its hands at the moment, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. A FlyerTalk member shares an interesting letter he just received regarding hidden city ticketing.

Some of you may remember that American’s corporate security department was in the news a while back for shutting down AAdvantage accounts over Citi credit card applications.

American identifies 52 cases of hidden city ticketing

A FlyerTalk member has shared a letter he received from American’s corporate security department. I’m not suggesting this is necessarily part of any widespread crackdown on this practice, though it may be. Regardless, I figure it’s an interesting data point.

This person is an American AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, has lifetime status, and currently has 600,000 redeemable AAdvantage miles.

It would appear that the member was engaged in quite a bit of hidden city ticketing, as the airline identified at least 52 cases of this. The airline is “only” asking for $2,500, which seems reasonable, frankly (that’s less than $50 per incident, potentially significantly less than the fare difference would have been).

The letter reads as follows:

As an analyst with American Airlines, one of my responsibilities is investigating violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. An audit of your AAdvantage account, determined that you have engaged in the practice known as ‘Hidden City ticketing’; the purchase of a fare to a point beyond your actual destination. Hidden city ticketing is explicitly defined in AA’s Conditions of Carriage as a violation of ticket validity. The Terms and Conditions of the AAdvantage program further state that compliance with the Conditions of Carriage is compulsory for participation in the AAdvantage program. As such, AAdvantage account XXXXXX is restricted, pending the outcome of our investigation. You may review the terms and conditions of the AAdvantage ® program (several parts of the terms and conditions are noted below) by clicking the link below or by copying and pasting it into your browser.

The audit of your account was completed on August xx, 2020. The following reservations were not issued in compliance with the AAdvantage Terms & Conditions, Conditions of Carriage or Site Usage policy:

52 HIDDEN CITY TICKETS (Included each one of the flights they believe is a hidden city ticket)

Not unlike other commodities, airline seats are market priced. A seat on a non-stop flight is a premium product and commands a higher price. Seats in connecting markets must be priced competitively and hence can be substantially cheaper. The ill-effects of point beyond ticketing are two-fold; the customer receives the flight for a price for which they aren’t entitled and a seat is spoiled on the separate connecting flight. An airline ticket constitutes a contract and the terms of that contract are stated explicitly in the Conditions of Carriage. Please see excerpts below.

These actions have resulted in clear and considerable losses to American Airlines. In addition to our loss for the travel provided, tickets booked through prohibited practices are considered fraudulent, and therefore not eligible to accrue mileage. In this case, our loss is further compounded through the Elite mileage accruals, benefits, and services used that were not otherwise available. Generally, violations of this nature subject the AAdvantage account to termination. However, we are willing to provide you with an opportunity to restore an equitable relationship through restitution for the loss on your identified travel.

You may respond to this message by 3pm, CST, Friday, August 31, 2020 stating you would like to bring your account back to good standing. At that time, the segments will be re-priced based on your intended travel and we will send you the information so that you may make the appropriate reimbursement for the travel provided. Failure to return the account to good standing or to reply, will result in the termination of your AAdvantage® membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage® miles in your account and any award tickets issued from it.

American Airlines has rules against hidden city ticketing

What is hidden city ticketing?

Just to go into a bit more detail on what hidden city ticketing actually is…

Airline pricing can be incredibly complex, and often consumers can’t make sense of it. That’s because airlines price airfare not based on the cost of providing it, but rather based on what they think consumers are willing to pay.

That’s why a longer flight may be significantly less expensive than a shorter flight, and why a connecting itinerary may be significantly cheaper than a nonstop itinerary. This most commonly comes in the form of nonstop flights being priced at a premium, since people value the convenience of that.

Let me give an example, even though at the moment airfare is pretty cheap across the board.

A nonstop one-way flight from Miami to Charlotte costs $105.

Meanwhile if you fly from Miami to Raleigh via Charlotte (with the same Miami to Charlotte flight) you’d pay just $54.

The practice of hidden city ticketing would be to book the ticket all the way to Raleigh, but then get off the plane in Charlotte.

Now, there are some things to be aware of:

  • For most airlines this violates the contract of carriage, though it isn’t illegal
  • There are some risks associated with this in the event of irregular operations, if you’re checking a bag, etc.; you can read more about that here

Nonstop flights are often priced at a premium over connecting itineraries

Bottom line

It’s always interesting to see what’s going on at airline corporate security departments, since this kind of stuff isn’t often made public. American Airlines seems to have just sent a letter to someone who engaged in hidden city ticketing 52 times, requesting $2,500.

American may or may not be cracking down on this on a larger scale — we don’t know — but regardless this is an interesting anecdote.

Generally speaking engaging in hidden city ticketing once or twice won’t set off any alarms (though United has told gate agents to report suspected cases of hidden city ticketing), while doing it dozens of times absolutely will trigger something, as we’re seeing here.

  1. Why anyone would do hidden city ticketing with their primary airline frequent flyer account is beyond me, especially if that account holds a substantial number of miles or high tier status.

    Why not just use a burner account or credit those flights to a partner account (like in this case any of the OW partners).

  2. So this person was saving around $50 per ticket given the amount they want reimbursed and the number of flights it involved. Hardly worth it. And he was kind of foolish doing it so many times for such little reward.

    Bottom line is, a few times a year they are unlikely to catch it. Better to save it for the few flights you can save a few thousand (Europe Business class via London or FRA to Budapest or Warsaw as an example). Every one of these stories seem to involve those people who pushed the envelope and were doing it repeatedly throughout the year.

  3. Wow. AA is smart to target elite members who are abusing hidden city ticketing since they’re more likely to pay that fee ($2500 in this case) rather than lose all their AAdvantage miles and status.

  4. August 31 is not a Friday this year. A thorough investigation by an AA analyst would have revealed this.
    If the author of the letter can’t read a calendar, what does it tell about the other parts of the letter?

  5. I guess like anything: If you do it excessively, you take a risk. I don’t think they will go after each and every single case, but if a pattern emerges, they will.

  6. Maybe it’s just me, but I search for flights only to my destination and, if the fare seems reasonable, I buy it. If I got a $100 fare between MIA and CLT it would never even cross my mind to look for something cheaper. That already is ridiculously inexpensive.

  7. Question: If you aren’t a FF of a program then is there any downside? For example, if I choose to do this on AA but I have no FF account with them is there really any recourse for them if I do this 100 times? Could they ban a passenger for life type of thing?

  8. One other question: The letter reads “You may respond to this message by 3pm, CST, Friday, August 31, 2020 stating you would like to bring your account back to good standing. At that time, the segments will be re-priced based on your intended travel and we will send you the information so that you may make the appropriate reimbursement for the travel provided.”

    Where do you get the $2,500 from? I guess I’m just overlooking something but given the above quote, it sounds like they are going to make the individual pay for all those segments which I would assume is much more than $2,500.

    Mind you I didn’t click on the link to the actual FlyerTalk post but rather just taking your post into account with my question.

  9. Airlines have a lot of freed up employees with time to pursue the matter and a need for money at the moment.

  10. Don’t fool yourselves. As a Gate Agent for AA we can so easily identify a Hidden City ticket and we queue it to security. This is ongoing and only gets press when some EP gets caught. Each flight I work I find at least 5 of them. And my colleagues and I bust them Every time. Sometimes we call the pax to confirm if they’re going and some tell us they’re at their final destination!

    So this is not a crack down, it is and has been an ongoing effort. If you have no status, and you do not pay, you join the no mask people on the no fly list.

    This is against the contract of carriage that you agree to when you purchase a ticket.

    And if you think you can beat the system by leaving off your FF number think again. Technology for this is top notch.

  11. I do this all the time and have saved 10s of thousands of dollars for myself and my business.

    I’m a free agent and don’t enter any loyalty info, as the savings always outweigh the value of the points…even though I’m lifetime status with AA and UA.

    Given the continuous devaluations in these programs, I’ve been doing this even more.

    I don’t do this with Southwest, because their pricing is so straightforward.

  12. It’s the airlines’ fault that their pricing is backwards, not mine. So I’ve been doing this for years and have saved boatloads if money. If some airline notices it and bans me, I’ll just use another airline. They are all desperate for passengers. I don’t even have any member status or frequent flyer points or anything. I don’t bother with them. Never have.

  13. @Ticket Police-Nobody “agrees” to a complex, hidden contract when they simply purchase a ticket. And basic contract law requires a “meeting of the minds” for a valid contract to exist. Which is why airlines pursue hidden ticket pax through ancillary means rather that a breach of contract lawsuit.

  14. Yeah, the simple rule is that if you are going to do this then no frequent flyer miles or benefits and no luggage, etc.

    I was once flying to LGA on a midcon nonstop and while boarding they stop an old couple from Europe with two ginormous bags telling them they have to check them. When they ask where they’re going they say New York! Lol. The agent says, “but your reservation says Toronto?” Clearly, these people’s travel planner had bought a cheap hidden city ticket for them.

    It was towards the end of boarding and even though the agent gave them the whole spiel about “paying the difference” they let them board and short checked the bags.

  15. This guy should pull out his credit card and pay up. The $2500 to save his lifetime status and miles is a bargain and frankly generous. AA gave him a break.

  16. Imo, regulators should ban the ‘hidden ticketing’ clause from the conditions of carriage.

    A) it’s a clause that only exists because of airline monopoly power. B) it would force airlines to make pricing transparent and in aggregate improve outcomes for consumers.

  17. If all I want is a burger, but it costs less to get the burger and fries combo, no one is following me home to ensure I eat the fries, and punishing me if I don’t.
    Commercial airlines exist today ONLY because there is no alternative. They want to give me 2 products for half the price of one of those products, that is some ignorant stuff that only this either failing or being bailed out industry does. Punishing the consumer for your ignorant pricing methods is wrong and if widespread should lead to a class action lawsuit.

  18. One time I did this and my throw-away segment got cancelled. I called and got a refund :). The $350 ticket I should’ve paid for cost Me only $120, and I ended up getting $60 back for a final cost of $60. Best deal of my flying life.

  19. I read through AA’s Contract of Carriage and found:
    “Prohibited booking practices
    Reservations made to exploit or circumvent fare and ticket rules are prohibited.
    Examples include (but are not limited to):
    – Purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares (hidden city ticketing)”

    Then the consequences:
    “If we find evidence that you or your agent are using a prohibited practice, we reserve the right to:
    – Cancel any unused part of the ticket
    – Refuse to let the passenger fly and check bags
    – Not refund an otherwise refundable ticket
    – Charge you for what the ticket would have cost if you hadn’t booked it fraudulently
    – Require you refund to us any compensation we provided like bag delivery costs, and – reimbursement for clothes or toiletries because of late or lost bags”

    It seems Southwest does not have such verbiage in their contract of carriage

  20. @jetaway they know they do it because they are mostly frequent fliers and contributors to blogs like this

    It’s the “ let’s try our luck and see if we can get away with it “.

    It’s also common in Europe eg buy a ticket London Frankfurt Johannesburg return and try to end at AMS with checked bags. As the LH fare ex London was cheaper And there is always a sob story

    Some airlines also ask passengers pay a flat fee if they want to retrieve bags at the transfer point. That’s usually cheaper than recalculating the fare

    The other one is out of sequence a Madrid Munich Madrid ticket. Don’t use the outbound claiming grandma was sick and end up in Munich even though the ticket was changeable

    Why not rebook the Munich Madrid if you had to change ?

    It’s because you were never in Madrid. You simply bought the ticket as it was cheaper and you thought you could get away with it

  21. I was trying to get home early and every ticket I wanted was nearly $700. Found a hidden city on Frontier, and as much as a hate Frontier, going home that night for $65 instead spending two more nights in a hotel I went for it. I actually told the gate agent I had no intention of taking the next segment and she about lost it. Told me I’d be losing my miles, bag would be lost, etc etc. Joke was on her since I haven’t regularly flown Frontier in years and actively avoid them. She can keep ’em. All 0 of them. And I was only carrying-on. I didn’t feel guilty one bit about it. Someone from their corporate office left me two voicemails to contact them. I never called them back.

    While I understand that these is technically against the contract, it just feels petty. And each time I read about these incidents I have no sympathy for either party. AA, or any other airline for that matter, is not going to go bankrupt through this.

  22. @jack on the contrary it would lead to all the fares being identical and no competition
    San Francisco – Dallas – Miami $500
    San Francisco – Dallas $500
    Dallas – Miami $500 in the same booking class
    This way if the customer ended in DFW there’s no revenue loss

    As I said , 99% of travellers do it intentionally as they know the rules and contribute to these blogs and think they can get away with it

  23. Once again a great example why living in the EU is great. Many countries, like Italy and Austria, explicitly allow hidden city ticketing.

    Lufthansa tried to sue someone for this, and had a bad loss in court.

    Why? Because you bought a service. If you wish not to use a part of it, it is not your problem.

  24. I’m sorry but I have to agree with @Ticket Police above. Airlines have gotten more sophisticated at spotting abuse over time (as you’d hope LOL) and that’s a good thing. HCT, speculative PNRs, unsupported upgrades, tkt/cxl for lounge access, the list goes on and on…

  25. It’s not illegal in any state in the U.S. so can’t go to jail for this. As for the contract, sure it’s a violation but, what’s the enforcement mechanism- airlines will take away your miles. That’s harmless. Is the airlines going to sue you in civil court, not sure if that’s a good look. And yes, I’m a lawyer.

  26. Don’t have any check-in size baggage or any items prohibited as carry-on.
    Only purchase one-way tickets, because the return travel automatically cancels when you don’t board the connecting flight.
    Don’t attach your mileage number or use credit cards associated with it.
    Don’t abuse it repeatedly.
    The airline can still sell that empty seat and make extra revenue.

  27. Everybody here is justifying saving money. If you own a business and make a profit, are you to just let people steal from you and eat into your profit? Why not, you still made some money. Cheap and shameful excuses, all of them.

  28. I don’t engage in this practice but I have zero sympathy for any US based carrier.

    Since 9/11 they have abused the authority wrongly handed them and have used “security” as a crutch to mistreat customers, reduce quality, and increase prices.

    Airline employees working for US companies know full well they can mistreat customers and if anyone complains they can and will have them arrested.

    Any time a US airline gets screwed I am pleased to hear about it and I hope it bankrupts every damn one of them. Even that is not enough payback for the crap they have heaped on the flying public since 9/11 and using “security” as a cover.

  29. “Okay, I’ll make it as easy for you as I can, I’d like an omelette – plain – and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast. No mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.”

    “A No. 2. Chicken sal san. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?”

    “Yeah. Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich and you haven’t broken any rules.”

    “You want me to hold the chicken, huh?”

    “I want you to hold it between your knees.”

    * * *

    OK, I’ll make it easy for American Airlines. I’d like a ticket to Raleigh-Durham. Hold the connection from Charlotte. Tell corporate security to hold it between their knees.

  30. Oh please, imagine a rule put in place that a passenger can demand a refund on a no-show or missed flight if the plane goes out with equal or more revenue passengers so that his no-show did not lose money for the airline … not gonna happen ever right.

    This is why I don’t have sympathy for US airlines or corporations in general. Boohoo… you only made $X billion in net profits this year instead of $X+1 billion… maybe claw back those bonuses that are more money than most people will ever see in their lifetime or two. Oh wait that would be unsustainable or whatever

  31. So there I am trying to get from Charlotte to Raleigh but the flight is almost sold out. AA’s revenue software prices my ticket accordingly and I can pony up, or ride the bus. Flight leaves with more than a few seats empty because those folks got off at CLT, never intending to go to RDU.

    I get screwed, you get a deal, AA makes out okay. Yeah, that’s great.

  32. Attempting to be loyal…. I remember one day trying to fly from ORD, to PHX, then the next day fly to SFO.. Purposely selected “Multi-city” and booked it that way… Anyway I arrived at PHX waited 45 mins for my bag (more or less normal there), finally asked the office they said they were holding my bag since I was flying on to SFO tomorrow. I explained that I needed that bag, and they explained they “get in trouble” for doing this since.. I was dumbfounded, I explained I purposely booked a multi city ticket to stay over in Phoenix that night to join my colleague on the flight to SFO. They said they could pull my bag only if it was a “medical emergency” so I said “Ok I have a medical emergency”… I went on to say that I know it’s not their fault and I appreciate their help and the job they do but their upper management is horrible. I still feel bad about that because I never ever complain to front line people but I was just so frustrated. Like I book a multi-city ticket with the understanding my bag is held until my next flight? Why would that ever make any sense unless it was like a long-haul international flight with a stopover?

  33. It never ceases to amaze me how people think it’s their right to lie cheat and steal by gaming the system. If you can’t be an honest customer then the airline shouldn’t do business with you and I would love it if the airlines would share their banning lists in a large database. If you make this big of a deal about cheating them out of a few $ then what other issues are you going to cause on a flight? This type of personality is also the type that causes scenes on the plane and at the terminal.
    Treat the airline like you would like to be treated and remember what you learned in kindergarten. It’s really sad the criminal mentality of people today.

  34. Anyone following these blogs and FlyerTalk should not get a reprieve as they know the rules. The user’s account or status should have been cancelled or AA should have charged a penalty above the calculation – maybe $10-20K as a fine to retain miles and status.

  35. Totally forgot to mention, that yes, per the post above, if you want to do this then book in Italy. They have a provision to legally drop segments as long as the specifications are met.

  36. David says” Once again a great example why living in the EU is great. Many countries, like Italy and Austria, explicitly allow hidden city ticketing.
    Lufthansa tried to sue someone for this, and had a bad loss in court.
    Why? Because you bought a service. If you wish not to use a part of it, it is not your problem.

    Exactly right! Not sure why all of the shills on this site can’t see this. Hope someone takes on the airline industry in court regarding this. The airlines created this pricing mess and now they need to live with it. I have ZERO compassion for the airline industry. !!!

  37. @Bubthebuilder

    But we are treating the airline as they are treating us! There is no lie, cheat, gaming the system.

    I know it is a difficult concept. Fare offered. Fare purchased.

    Not like the drug industry where a government supported laboratory finds a miracle cure and then charges 1000 times the cost because they are a monopoly. Or like the creep who purchased epi-pen and raised the price 100 times just because he could. If a person pays a full price fare offered by an airline it’s their prerogative to fly or not fly. I have actually been on a flight with a connection where I legitimately did not fly the second leg for reasons beyond my control. Luckily the airline did not try to supercharge me for not taking their product. But they sure as heck did not refund my partial ticket.

    If the airline offered fair fares then this would never happen. It is a product of the airline’s greed, not the consumers reluctance to be taken to the cleaners.

    I question anyone who states that once you purchase something it isn’t yours – but is subject to the control by others. If I buy a ticket and don’t fly then I lose my money. Simple. There can’t be two rules in effect otherwise I would have received a refund of my missed flight. (Ha – as if that would ever happen).

  38. So let’s recap…

    – Hidden city is a breach of your ticket’s contract of carriage
    – You can’t check anything in (voluntarily or involuntarily)
    – If your first segment gets canceled, there’s a big chance you won’t get to your hidden destination
    – You won’t accrue miles or status with your trip (since you won’t want to associate your FF account with this type of cheat)

    Even if you don’t care about any of the above from a sheer practical perspective of wanting to complete your trip reliably, the bottom line is that when you comparison-shop and purchase your ticket, you are competitively procuring transportation from point A to point B, and it’s essentially up to the provider how it gets you there within the general parameters you asked for.

    And don’t give me that “EU consumer friendly” crap. Unlike genuinely justified provisions for airlines needing to give compensation for substantially delayed flights (where, and because, those are the fault of the airlines themselves), there is nothing “consumer friendly” about allowing systematic gaming and cheating the system at the expense of other consumers.

  39. BS! You all say the airlines are making a killing by cheating their customers? Is there one person here who owns one share of an airline stock? It’s just pathetic to complain about the cost of flying.

  40. Wouldn’t you be saving the airline money if you bought a seat and used for half the flight? That’s less weight, and therefore less fule used. Why shoud they care if you decide to end your trip at a layover- if you paid for the whole flight?

  41. There were brief periods of time when HCT also worked for SQ award tickets – pure SQ F SYD-JFK was 25k miles more than same ticket continuing to BOS on United. FRA-JFK segment got delayed, so I ended up with about 60 minutes between landing at JFK and scheduled “connecting” departure from EWR. No way I was going to even try it. Good thing I had a separate JFK-BOS ticket handy that cost less than a transfer from JFK to EWR 🙂

    On second thought, not sure this even qualifies as HCT – I was in fact going to BOS, just not through EWR.

  42. I don’t agree with the airlines premise that they are losing revenue. If you connected and flew both legs, they would be none the richer. The presumption is that they could have sold you a full price direct flight, and they could have sold the last leg to somebody else, but they didn’t, because they were pretty certain that they would make more revenue by selling you the secret city flight.. it is like selling you a baseball and a bat cheaper than just a bat , and then insisting that you must use both or pay for the baseball you never used. The fault is the airlines for having these crazy sales.

  43. @ Azamaraal perfectly well said! +1

    These airlines, with skiplag being ruled legal, then the contract of carriage is obviously moot. You cannot enter a contract that’s not enforceable. You cannot make people take second legs or force them into a plane because they’ve been booked onto them. I too have health issues and have been unable to continue onto my final destination.

    The airlines and contract of carriage means nothing. Just like I can’t put a sign on my car that says “if you drive next to me it’s not my fault.” Airlines don’t have the right to FORCE someone to get on a plane. They have the right to refuse service.

  44. I fly at least once a week. Admittedly I try to go Southwest as much as possible…2 FREE BAGS, 2 FREE CARRY ONs and a decent fare can’t beat it. But here’s my issue with all the folks hollering “bad consumer! ” what about “bad AIRLINE$”. What about all the connecting flights folks miss everyday. All the airlines fault with no apology or regard for the customer…just oh well we’ll put u on tomorrow’s flight. No hotel, no accommodations. The fact that 1st class exists suggest that the airline knows the coach seating and legroom is wrong. The little ass restrooms wrong. The rude as staff wrong. The outrageously priced fares wrong. The little ass overhead bins wrong. The outdated planes on the MAJOR AIRLINES. The harassing gates agents. So now I’ve paid for the baggage handlers to kill my bags-wrong. The ridiculous baggage fees…I’m traveling via plane I think it’s safe to say I won’t be back today. So nowhere in the cost of my ticket was at least 1 checked bag??? Hmmmm…wrong!!!! So check this out I feel nothing for the airline. Nothing. THEY ARE NOT BEING ROBBED OR RIPPED OFF. THE PASSENGER PAID HIS FARE FOR WHERE HE WAS GOING. THE PLANE ONLY HAS SO MANY SEATS. YET SOMEHOW FLIGHTS ARE OVERSOLD everyday. Let’s think about that for a minute folks. We’ve all been on a OVERSOLD FLIGHT, A COMPLETELY FULL FLIGHT AND a hot plane. I guess the a/c can’t work on the ground. But anyway back to the OVERSOLD flight, could it be that the airline is either a) greedy b) greedy c)planned on folks missing that flight. Either way the airline has there money for each ticket in hand. So no robbing, no stealing, no cheating any more than the airline themselves do. Customer service sucks at most of these airlines. So if you’re going to Charlotte and a ticket to Raleigh is cheaper and you paid your fare all i can say is handle your business. Funny thing is all these HonestAbe’s didn’t once mention the fact that the fare was paid. Stealing is still taking something that doesn’t belong to you. The Fare was paid to destination. Utilize some of those OVERSOLD tickets. Lmbo!!!!!

  45. I guess I don’t understand how people actually get away with this. As someone mentioned, typically if you don’t fly the second leg of the originating flight, the airline CANCELS the remaining segments. How does that work in your favor? I could see doing this only the return, but definitely not a complete round trip. Unless you’re purchasing two one way tickets, which just seems like an awful lot of effort for maybe not significant savings. Just my opinion.

  46. Of course the guy should pay up if he values the miles. But if he doesn’t, AA will lose a good customer forever at a cost greater than $2500.

  47. Is the airline contract of carriage above the law? I am asking this because the airline pricing is so confusing and crazy that itself lets people do this to bypass outrageous fares. I can´t understand why the cost of a non-stop flight is higher than one with multiple stops…

    Is the contract of carriage represents what the law says so the better option is to pay the USD 2500 but if there is a possibility to go to a court and fight against the airline pricing method why not?

  48. I bought a round trip ticket to Tel Aviv via Rome. Cost $800. Later, I found out my meeting in TLV was moved ahead, meaning I wouldn’t make it in time. Alitalia said my ticket was not changeable, I would lose the $800. I had to book a one way ticket with my United miles and advised Alitalia I would not be there for the first leg of my flight. Yes, they canceled my trip back, without telling me. So I lost the $800 anyway. Thought it was unfair

  49. The number of people willing to be dishonest in the name of saving a few bucks or “screwing” the airline is appalling. If you purchase a Hidden City Ticket it is a fraudulent purchase. End of. This elite member got off easy….

  50. Back in my day (retired in 1993)Corporate security personnel were not the brightest bulbs in the lamp. I recall 3 instances that involved me. 1.My son was a first time traveler as an employee of a local company. He was proud to show me his first paid ticket. Yep it was a point beyond ticket with his last and 5th segment DFW- MSY . I asked him how he was going to get his bags back from MSY. He didn’t know what I was talking about and I explained how his company was cheating AA. I told him to remove the entire 5th segment and give it back to his company.
    I had a copy of the letter his company issued to all employees with a copy to his travel agent
    telling them this was not right. I sent it all to Corporate Security. Thought I was doing the right thing. Many months later I got a letter from them saying I was fostering point beyond. Seems like they couldn’t put the ticket and my letter together. I was mad and called Security and told
    2. Same son was at LGA some time later and missed his flight which called for an increase in fare. I told him to explain tho the agent the problem and to charge the difference to his UATP card. Agent understood but didn’t charge him. A good agent who went beyond.
    Again several months later I got a letter from Security accusing me of something. Don’t’ remember all the details but I told them to do the same with the letter mentioned above.
    3. The worst was after I retired and was a volunteer at the AA Museum. We did not have parking stickers as such and still to this day don’t We had a card we put on the dash. When I went to my car there was this ticket on my window which I swear was put on with something like gorilla glue. I was mad and called corporate security who sent a group wise letter to the Director. I still have a copy of the letter which stated in writing I used profanity such as … . I probable said “you bet your … you will”. but not you better get that sticker off my window. They wanted me banned from all AA property. I was in
    the directors office when he called Security and told them I was not going anywhere period. Asked if I should sue? His comments were you will probably win but do you want to sue a company that you worker for 38 years and I said no they were always good to me.

  51. The contract of carriage you enter into a binding contract which is upheld by the laws of this country.

    As for loosing a *good* customer over a $2500 fee.. If you look at the number of illegal actions that customer has done that is obviously not a Good customer that any business wants to have as their customer.

    For an airline not changing your flight at the last minute because YOUR plans change and they won’t refund the return flight. Yes that is unfair. It’s unfair to the airline as they held up their end of the contract of carriage and you did not. If they gave a refund for that leg there is virtually no way they are going to be able to resell that ticket in that short of a period of time.

    Before you complain that you aren’t being treated properly or being overcharged take a look at what flights used to cost back during regulation times. Back then the cost of a flight was MORE than it is today even when not considering inflation. Flying is extremely cheap these days. Along those lines start looking at what it costs to run an airline. Those 7 people on the plane and the two at the gate are just the tip of the iceberg that you see. There are thousands backing up every one of them everywhere from maintenance to cleaning to the people cleaning the terminal bathrooms.

    If you really have this much hatred and contempt for all airlines then you don’t have to fly you can drive or take a bus or a train or a boat. Oh that’s right all those options cost more than the amazing transportation we have called airplanes.

    If you want to fly somewhere just go online search for a flight to where you want to go to and buy the one you want. Turn off that criminal part of your mind and don’t look for ways to cheat the system because as you see here what goes around comes around and I’m all for all airlines cleaning house of all of these deadbeat customers.

    Unfortunately being a criminal today is the norm,celebrated even and as many of the SJW here think shouldn’t be shamed or pointed out that the customer is not always right and is generally wrong more often than the company.

  52. @Bobthebuilder

    You stated “Turn off that criminal part of your mind and don’t look for ways to cheat the system because as you see here what goes around comes around and I’m all for all airlines cleaning house of all of these deadbeat customers. “.

    Lets see – this “DEADBEAT” has flown so much that he is executive platinum, has lifetime status, and somehow this “deadbeat” also has 600,000 miles in his account.

    Are you an EP/Lifetime with 600,000 miles or do you fly twice a year in basic economy? I suspect the latter but maybe I am prejudiced.

    In reality I think that this EP lifetime has given American Airlines a lot more revenue in a year than most in a lifetime.

    Airlines price some routes with extreme fares “because they can” and make usurious profits if there is no other way to travel between the same city fares at a reasonable price. Check out the price between Bahrain and Dammam Saudi Arabia, a road distance of 82 Km. Airfare is astronomical. Why – because they can. Not that the pricing is reasonable because it isn’t.

    So as to losing a huge amount of profit from this “deadbeat” they seem to have lost track of what is important to their bottom line. Loyalty and frequent flying.

    I think AA needs more “deadbeats”, not less, and if they don’t like HCT they should price their routes more fairly so that HCT is not needed.

    The future rewards for being EP and having lifetime status are so questionable at this time I think that the OP might be wise to just tell AA they can place this somewhere moist and take his “deadbeat” business elsewhere.

  53. @Azamaraal Typical when faced with facts and reality and you have nothing to fight back with the personal insults come out since you have no leg to stand on.

    If this customer was such a great customer they would have just bought the ticket they needed instead of cheating them out of the cost of the flight they should be getting. That is NOT the sign of a good customer. This is a sign of a customer that has an attitude and superiority complex among other issues. Often this is the type of customer that will complain about wearing a mask or complain they boarded 5 minutes late and didn’t get their drink. This is unfortunately common these days as people can’t behave themselves and are all ME ME ME. Think of it from the airlines side and then what would you do?
    This type of customer is not what any company wants and is also someone you don’t want to be sitting next to on a flight as they are no fun to sit next to and hear their petty complaining.

    Just because you get a *status* made up by the industry to make people feel special because you were able to accrue lots of miles on credit cards and then fly for less than buying an actual ticket doesn’t give you the right to steal from that company.
    So does that mean since you spend X amount at the grocery store that you get to pick out a few items and take them home without paying? It’s sad how people can justify theft just so they don’t feel bad about doing it.

    As for me I fly quite a bit or at least I used to up until recently and dealing with the primadonna frequent flier gate lice is the worst part of flying. Unfortunately I won’t be going to Greece this year either.

  54. @Bob

    Haven’t seen any ‘facts’ that I have to dispute.

    Don’t recall any insults. You are calling the other guy a “deadbeat”, not me. I think he is a profit center for AA and perhaps they will lose a great deal of money if they carry on.

    Were you insulted that I suggested you don’t have any status on AA? You then went on to suggest that “Status” is made up by the industry to make some people feel special. So I don’t see how your possible lack of status or frequent flying is an insult since you think that frequent fliers are deadbeats.

    This has been fun – and I certainly agree that we will never ever see eye-to-eye on this one.

    I’d love to find out what the OP decides to do about the threat by AA to throw him out with the bathwater. They’d be cutting their own throat.

    Be nice, AA (if you can)

  55. @Azamaraal

    You don’t follow the rules, you try to do things ‘your way’ and get away with it, I’d say that makes you a moral deadbeat. Yep.

    So, he’s an EP. That’s not a big deal. I’m a Key. If he were a Key and got his hand slapped like this, I’d be more impressed. Impressed that he was dumb enough to share his story, have it go wide on the internet and expect people to support his clear breakage of the ROC.

    Quit making excuses for people doing the wrong thing.

  56. Where is the “stealing?”
    The airline keeps the agreed-to ticket fare. The connecting flight is more spacious for other passengers, or the airline can accommodate a passenger who missed an earlier flight, or do a last-minute sale and get more revenue.

  57. @MilleFeuille

    “or do a last-minute sale and get more revenue”

    I think the airlines have done the math, and concluded that that approach would not generate more revenue. Instead that seat would be going out empty. Get it?

    What is so hard to understand about this? It’s like even the slightest bit of complexity throws 50% of folks off. How do you even manage your personal finances if you can’t comprehend basics like these?

  58. How is this a problem for the airline company? They charged an amount for a flight (including all legs of the flight) and received the amount they requested. And since it is common practice for airlines to overbook flights by 10%, they were mostly likely able to book a standby passenger on the leg that the original ticket holder skipped. So the airline actually made more money than they had anticipated receiving for the transaction. It’s like a grocery store trying to fine a customer who purchased an item that was BOGO but they didn’t take the free item. It’s not illegal and they can’t sue the passenger because the law will only make you “whole” in a judgement. The airline is often profiting when someone does this, not losing money. If their argument is that they could have made more money if the customer would have chosen the higher priced ticket for the direct flight, then they need to reassess their ticket pricing practices.

  59. @Otavio

    You cannot fight AA in court over the T&C of their frequent flyer plan as it states clearly that they can do whatever they want to do and cancel you for any reason whatsoever.

    The court that will convince them is walking away.

    I still think they will be a loser on this one if the FF has actually given them enough business to become Platinum Lifetime. Just depends. These days nobody loves AA so it is a difficult decision as to whether the lifetime benefits are worth paying the RANSOM.

    For the foreseeable future I suspect not bothering is the best outcome for the FF – but it’s a crap shoot either way. Odds are that he will be blackballed by AA so that any time he wants a perk in the future even as a lifetime Platinum he may find that “nothing available” is his constant answer.

    The fact that they didn’t start with a warning is odd to me. Perhaps there is more to this than has been exposed to the light.

  60. @Joey,
    What kind of company allows its employees to fly from ORD to PHX with an overnight stay so they can join their colleague on a morning flight from PHX to SFO? You’d have been fired for that stunt if you had worked for me.

  61. I do not understand what is the problem and the Arline is getting revenue either if the seat is empty or if it is taken, The airine has already been pad for the seat at the price that they airline dictated. Not a good argument from the airline’s perspective. Just like change fees, how does the ariline lose money, if they keep your money in “space” and let you change for free as Southwest does, they are getting the price that they asked for for that particular ticket.

  62. Ticket prices are determined by many things, one of the most important being competition. So if you are ticketed to a city that has strong competition then the fare may be lower. If your hidden city has not much competition, perhaps a hub, then the airline can charge more, can’t they? They base their fares on the market, just like any business, and they are allowed to do that. For the people that are saying the airline hasn’t lost any money, that is incorrect. They lost the opportunity to sell that seat at the higher, correct fare. Whether you like it or not, they get to say what that cost is. You are stealing the difference in fares, plain and simple.

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