One savvy traveler thought he’d won the airfare game by using the “hidden city” hack. However, he’s now being sued for damages by his airline.
Airline Lufthansa is suing one of their passenger for intentionally miss his connecting flight from Frankfurt to Oslo in order to get a cheaper fare.
This is the hidden city hack – a scheme where passengers book a connecting flight instead of a direct one to save on airfare. But the savings come when you intentionally miss your next flight and stay in the layover city.
CNN used this example to illustrate how the “hidden city” works:
Say a passenger in New York wants to go to San Francisco. Direct flights between the two coastal cities run pretty expensive, so here’s what savvy flyers would do: book a ticket from New York to Lake Tahoe, a less traveled route that has a stop over in San Francisco. Then you simply miss your connecting flight and enjoy your stay in your layover city (which was all along where you intended to go).
One man did this on his flight from Oslo to Seattle, with a layover in Frankfurt. The passenger used the outgoing flight but “missed” his Frankfurt to Oslo return. Instead, he boarded a plane going to Berlin from Frankfurt.
Lufthansa caught wind of the trick since the unidentified male passenger booked hi Frankfurt to Berlin ticket on one of their flights as well.
The airline is now suing the passenger, claiming it was “unfairly gamed” and seeking compensation for damages amounting to $2,385. A Berlin court initially dismissed the suit, but according to Lufthansa’s statement to CNN, the airline has since appealed this decision.
Looks like this traveler ended up with a raw deal instead of a good one. Maybe next time just wait for a seat sale?