It's a story that's been trending for several days: a "computer wiz," 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman, has a website called skiplagged.com. The site helps you find cheap flights by using a method called "hidden city ticketing."
That's where you buy a plane ticket that has a layover - and that layover is actually your final destination. For example, if you want to fly from Dallas to Atlanta - but it's cheaper to buy a plane ticket from Dallas to New York with - that's right - a layover in Atlanta, you win! You buy that ticket to New York, get off in Atlanta and never get back on the plane. Instant cash in your pocket. Keep in mind - you don't want to check your bag. Otherwise it'll end up in New York while you're stuck in Atlanta. One other thing: it only works on one-way tickets.
The odd thing is, apparently airlines don't mind helping you find and book a "hidden city" ticket - if you call them (I know, who talks on the phone anymore!? Eww) and talk to one of their booking agents.
Here's a snippet taken from a CNNMoney article about this:
"Indeed, “hidden city,” ticketing is no secret among frequent fliers, said Michael Boyd, President of Boyd Group International, an aviation consulting firm in Evergreen, Co. Boyd worked as an American Airline ticket agent 30 years ago, and says he was trained at the airline to help customers find “hidden city” fares."
If that is the case, I'm baffled as to why one of the biggest airlines in the world and a well known travel website want to shut down a website that really doesn't take away much business at all.
What millions of people are now aware of, however, is the fu@ked up game airlines play with ticket prices. Which is exactly what they wanted to avoid.
Before you use this trick
I do have a warning for you. Something you may want to consider before doing this. I'm talking security issues. This may be one of the reasons why some airlines may frown upon the "hidden city" tactic. Using my example from above, if you buy a ticket to New York and only fly to Atlanta the airline may think you're a security threat (especially after 9/11). Even if you don't check a bag, they still may think that. At the very least, it's certainly something to consider.
Have you used this trick before? Will you try it the next time you travel, now that you're aware of it?