Airlines swoop on passengers using ticket loophole

14 February, 2019, 08:27 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Lufthansa lost the first court case against the flyer but is seeking an appeal

For example, if you fly to Cologne in Germany from London Heathrow today, a cheap option is to book a £70 flight to Munich, which stops in Cologne.

Leading airlines are fighting back against passengers who use a simple loophole to secure cheaper tickets.

The flight reportedly had a connection in Frankfurt, at which point the passenger took a separate flight from Frankfurt to Berlin, suggesting he was engaging in a practice known as "hidden city ticketing." .

Lufthansa is set to take legal action against a passenger who did not complete the final leg of a flight in a crackdown on "tariff abuse".

For instance, someone flying from NY to San Francisco could book a cheaper trip from NY to Lake Tahoe with a layover in San Francisco and get off there, without bothering to take the last leg of the flight.

Lufthansa didn't like that.

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Lufthansa is seeking to sue a passenger it claims intentionally missed a leg of their journey in order to secure a cheaper flight, it has been claimed.

An initial court case came down in the passenger's favour in December 2016, but Lufthansa has now been granted permission to appeal against the decision and pursue payment from the unnamed traveller.

Unethical or just playing the game?

Hidden cities are against any common sense logic. Bill Rieke, a Cincinnati-based elite, frequent, and long distance traveler, told ConsumerAffairs that when Comair was in Cincinnati - and Cincy had the highest average ticket prices in the country - he would often use the hidden cities maneuver. Some say it's unethical because a flyer is taking a seat they're not going to actually use - one that another passenger might need to get somewhere at the last minute.

Lufthansa said it believes the passenger bought a multi-stop ticket but never meant to complete the full trip.

Lufthansa airlines is now demanding $2,385 - the full cost of the flight with interest. In this case, a customer must buy a new ticket.

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