Hacking a Flight Deal with Hidden-City Ticketing

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Time to plan those summer vacations, right? If you have checked out the #1 Flight Search Engine and Google Destinations: Your Free Travel Agent posts, then you have gotten an eye in to finding an inexpensive flight. A controversial way to find a flight deal is through hidden-city ticketing which was made well-known through the sites like Skiplagged and Flyshortcut.

Hacking a Flight Dealwith Hidden City Ticketing

What is Hidden-City Ticketing?

Hidden-city ticketing occurs when you book a lower-priced flight that connects through the city that you actually want to fly to, and then get off the plane at the connecting city. Let’s take a look at the example below:

  • The goal is to fly from Indianapolis to Atlanta (but flights are $250)
  • There is a plane ticket available from Indianapolis to Orlando with a layover in Atlanta (for only $150)
  • You purchase the ticket from Indianapolis to Orlando and get off the plane when it connects in Atlanta (and save $100)

Hidden-City ticketing is not a new concept to seasoned travelers.  Sites like Skiplagged and Flyshortcut have made finding these hidden fares much easier.

Risks & Rules Associated with Hidden-City Ticketing

Although saving money is a benefit of hidden-city ticketing, there are various risks and rules to follow to ensure you arrive with your belongs to your desired destination.

  • Don’t Check any Luggage.  Checked luggage will go to the final destination of your purchased flight; therefore, pack light and ensure your bag can fit in the overhead carry-on compartment.
  • Book two one-way flights.  Instead of booking a round trip flight, book a one way ticket using hidden-city ticketing and a direct flight from your destination to your home.  In the example explained above, I would buy one flight from Indianapolis -> Atlanta -> Orlando and another flight home (i.e. from Atlanta -> Indianapolis).
  • Watch for rerouted flights.  If your original flight is rerouted to a different connecting destination due to weather or mechanical issues, then you could end up stranded anywhere!  Airlines are not obligated to get you to your final destination using the same routing (i.e. layover stop) as your original ticket.

Controversy

In November 2014, United and Orbitz filed a lawsuit against the founder of Skiplagged.  United and Orbitz claimed Skiplagged caused “unfair competition” and “deceptive behavior.”  The lawsuit was thrown out during spring of 2015.  However, airlines have threatened to freeze frequent flier miles or stop users from booking flights with them in the future if hidden-city ticketing is used.

Need to plan your next trip? Have you tried hidden city ticketing?

Have you used Skiplagged or Flyshortcut to find a flight deal through hidden-city ticketing?  Tell us about your experience! What other tips do you have?

 

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16 comments

  1. I have never used those sites or hidden city traveling, but we have earned plenty of free flights using credit card rewards.

    1. Glad the post proved some new information! I have just recently started using credit card rewards for flights.

  2. I heard about the Skiplagged controversy awhile back. I’m glad the suit was thrown out though. Although I’ve heard of it, I’ve never taken advantage of hidden city ticketing.

  3. Good info. I am currently doing some light travel hacking using credit card reward points but I will add this to my arsenal.

    1. Yes! Let me know if you are able to find a deal with hidden city ticketing. I purchased my first flight with credit card points a few weeks ago!

    1. Let me know if you do try it! I’ve been wanting to try as well but I haven’t found a flight where it really made sense yet – in terms of a great discount.

  4. I’ve wanted to try it, but don’t want to get caught up. I wish airlines would find a way to make tickets a little cheaper so folks don’t have to cheat or chance it with steal yo Spirit airlines, lol.

    1. I agree with you! I have been waiting for the best opportunity to try it but I don’t want to get “burned” by a cancelled returned flight or anything worse.

  5. No, I wouldn’t. I work for an airline and people who repeatedly do this can be banned from airports because it can be considered a security risk. I understand why people do it but I’ve seen and heard of too many people getting in trouble at airports.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I’ve never heard the “airline” side besides through various articles. I’ve never tried it for those reasons but I still search looking for a good deal.

  6. I have never heard about these before! Definitely going to look into using them for my next flight.

    xx,
    Amanda || http://www.fortheloveofglitter.com

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