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Frugal travel games


Kevin Slater
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So I've discovered a few things booking a trip to Florida for February:

 

It was cheaper for me to buy two one-way tickets from different airlines than to stay loyal to one. I guess I had always assumed that expedia would have returned that option with my search were it less expensive, but you have to just perform two separate searches.

 

Extending my car rental by two days (all else staying the same) brought the rate down. I can't imagine there'd be a penalty for returning the car early, and I guess this gives me cover should my flight be delayed.

 

Who knew?

 

Kevin Slater

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I needed a 1 way ticket from Los Angeles to Chicago last October and actually got first class on Virgin America at a cheaper price than economy on other airlines. There is just no way to figure out anymore a logical reason for how airlines do things. In searching for a business class ticket to Europe for February, the prices ranged from $2,800 to $10,00, all to the same destination. And prices can change within a matter of hours. I found that out to my cost by waiting a week before buying a ticket: in 5 days, the fare nearly doubled, so I had to start searching all over again. It all depends on what day you travel, how many connections you make, your mother's bra size, your father's middle name, and the color of your luggage it seems. The extra fees are annoying but have become a fact of life when you travel in economy but what burns my butt is when an airline like British Airways charges you over $4,000 to sit in their Club class and then between $90 and $120 each way to pre-select your seat. If you wait until 24 hours before flight, seat selection is free but you risk sitting in the middle seat, and yes, there's a middle seat in BA's Business Class. Swiss International even charges to pre-select a seat in Economy. What a deal: you pay an extra $53 to pick a seat that's still going to barely recline 3 inches, has a media box by your feet, and in which you're pinned if the passenger in front of you takes advantage of the 3 inch recline.

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in many cities, it's well-known that rental cars are cheaper on the weekends.....if your plans allow, play around with the very hour of the day you pick up your car.....often more than 50% cheaper, suddenly, if you finagle around with that time-of-pick-up choice toward the weekend.....

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You guys are figuring in out extremely well.

 

Besides the one-way fares, look at connecting flights through your destination city. When I fly from LA to Atlanta, I've found that booking the one-way ticket through Atlanta on to Birmingham is even cheaper than booking the ticket just to Atlanta. I fly to Atlanta and walk out the terminal... the empty seat is probably filled by a passenger paying an even higher fare.

 

I am a member of several rental car loyalty programs. I'm often offered $9.99/day rates for Friday-Monday rentals. I also rent for 24 hours even if I only need the car for the day. That gets me a lower rate and nobody ever complains when I return the car early.

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Besides the one-way fares, look at connecting flights through your destination city. When I fly from LA to Atlanta, I've found that booking the one-way ticket through Atlanta on to Birmingham is even cheaper than booking the ticket just to Atlanta. I fly to Atlanta and walk out the terminal.

 

Love it!

 

Kevin Slater

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You guys are figuring in out extremely well.

 

Besides the one-way fares, look at connecting flights through your destination city. When I fly from LA to Atlanta, I've found that booking the one-way ticket through Atlanta on to Birmingham is even cheaper than booking the ticket just to Atlanta. I fly to Atlanta and walk out the terminal... the empty seat is probably filled by a passenger paying an even higher fare.

 

This does not work if you have to check baggage, because it will go on to Birmingham without you. I recently read that airlines are also catching on to this trick, and may cause problems for you if you try it regularly, because they consider it a violation of the terms of the ticket.

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Neat topic. ;-) I love shopping for hotels and flights online. It's true that you have to perform several independent searches and cross compare. Sometimes you have to play with the dates of both hotels and airlines simultaneously to find the best deals (provided your dates are flexible). It's a whole "science", time-consuming but you've got to love doing it. I usually stick to one Airline Alliance for my overseas and long-distance flights, but for domestic US flights I pick the best deal and therefore my miles are spread out all over. Hotel-wise: I'm very loyal to my favorite chain. They always treat me nice and I achieved Lifetime Platinum status, which comes with perks that, in my eyes, are important for a frequent traveller. I really like their Rewards program, the way it's built and how it works.

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This does not work if you have to check baggage, because it will go on to Birmingham without you. I recently read that airlines are also catching on to this trick, and may cause problems for you if you try it regularly, because they consider it a violation of the terms of the ticket.

 

It really depends on the airline and the terms and conditions of the ticket. It's certainly possible to use only one leg of your trip with certain companies. I have done it, however I asked the airline beforehand to make sure it's allowed. At check-in, you need to precise it and make sure your luggage is properly tagged.

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Here's the option you need.

 

https://skiplagged.com/

 

 

From the link provided above it appears:

 

 

United Airlines Inc. (UAL) and Orbitz Worldwide LLC sued to prevent the travel website Skiplagged.com from helping consumers buy what the companies call improper “hidden city” plane tickets that undercut their sales.

 

Skiplagged helps travelers find cheap airfares by enabling them to book multistop flights and deplane before the flights reach their as-booked final destination. Sometimes a fare that travels through a hub city to another location can be cheaper than a ticket to the hub city alone.

 

“In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from city A to city B to city C but does not travel beyond city B,” according to the companies’ complaint. “‘Hidden City’ ticketing is strictly prohibited by most commercial airlines because of logistical and public-safety concerns.”

 

Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman of New York “intentionally and maliciously” interfered with airline industry business relationships “by promoting prohibited forms of travel,” the companies said in their complaint, filed today in Chicago federal court.

 

Among their stated concerns is United’s resultant inability to count passengers, which can cause departure delays and affect fuel load computations.

 

 

Orbitz, an online travel booking site, and United said neither of them gave Zaman permission to engage in hidden-city ticketing. Claiming he’s unfairly competing against them and implying he’s connected to United and Orbitz by linking customers to their websites, they’re seeking a court order halting the conduct.

 

 

Zaman, reached through his LinkedIn.com e-mail account, had no immediate comment on the suit. United Airlines is a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings. Orbitz is a unit of Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW)

 

Randy Petersen, publisher of InsideFlyer magazine, said hundreds of thousands of frequent fliers probably use the hidden-city technique, but the most savvy only do it a few times a year to prevent detection by the airlines. Carriers are likely to freeze the frequent-flier accounts or travelers who use the technique or to strip them of miles, said Petersen, who is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

Potato Chips

 

Airlines and passengers have disagreed over the practice for decades, he said. People who seek out hidden-city tickets often liken forgoing the second half of a trip to not eating the bottom half of a bag of chips. The thinking: They paid for the chips, so why are they required to eat the whole bag?

 

Carriers say that the practice takes unfair advantage of the hub-and-spoke airline system and that people who use it are defrauding them, Petersen said.

 

“Use of hidden-city ticketing can save a lot of money, and airlines aren’t in the business of promoting, allowing or turning a blind eye to practices that can break the system down,” Petersen said.

 

Small corporate travel departments occasionally employ it, too, risking the loss of fare discounts they enjoy. Still, some can’t resist paying $400 for a ticket using the technique if it would cost $1,200 the traditional way, he said.

 

Airlines have told Orbitz that a traveler caught on a hidden-city routing is subject to having his ticket voided without refund, the Internet travel company said today in a statement.

 

American Airlines Group Inc., in a letter to travel agents on its website, suggested it will have to raise fares if it keeps losing money from the practice.

 

“Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical,” according to the letter by American, which isn’t party to the case. “It is tantamount to switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores.”

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I am not a lawyer. The closest I've gotten to the system is reviewing non-disclosure agreements and software licenses for

the unversity department I work for.

 

I have been a foreman of the jury in a civil suit where a dentist sued his insurance company for settling a malpractice suit

against his wishes. The jury voted 10-2 in favor of the dentist, citing acting in "bad faith" and award 10 million dollars in punitive damages. ( I was among the 2!)

 

But it seems to me that if IBM could have been sued for anticompetitive practices by anouncing details of a computer before it

could be bought, or that the insurance company was acting in bad faith, some kind of argument could be made by a clever lawyer

for Zaman could use similar logic, especially if the hub-and-spoke system is employed by more than one airline and uniformly

reams the customers . . .

 

(oh, and I'm pretty sure it is standard practice to withhold comment on current litigation. I think there *are* lawyers among our

members here invited them to make more informed comment).

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Put me firmly in the camp of "I paid for the ticket, what I do with it is my business." Like Charlie, I'm not a lawyer and have no doubt that they can pull all sorts of legal smoke screans to insist on their being able to do what they do. In the mean time.......

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I think the reason airfares work this way is the US Gov. subsidies the smaller airports ,giving the airlines $ for each person that actually flies on the plane.

Example , flying from Charlotte to Ft Lau is somewhere around $450- $550 , but you can fly from Florence SC or Fayettevile NC , into Charlotte, get on the excat plane/flight and the price drops to $198-$280

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I may have been a lawyer -- since I'm retired and not admitted to practice anywhere anymore I can't really say I am one anymore, just that I have legal training -- but I have no idea about the ins and outs of the litigation described above. I'm not even sure if there's any governing agency or regulations that apply anymore. If I'm right about that, then the case will probably turn on the fine print of the contract between airlines and customers -- this is, the ticket. If it says what the airlines say it does, the only likely issue is clarity and disclosure. The judge may not like it (this is a case I'd expect to be decided based on undisputed facts without a trial), but if the terms are clear and aren't deceptive, the court is unlikely to rule against the airline. It's not as though airline restrictions will be unilaterally declared unconscionable; airline passengers aren't comprised of the kinds of marginalized and vulnerable groups courts protect using the concept of unconscionability.

 

Bottom line: those of you using only part of a ticket need to weigh the risk of adverse action, like being kicked off the flight and losing perks like frequent flyer miles, if you're detected against the financial benefits. It'd probably also be useful to look carefully at the tickets. I haven't flown in a long time and have no idea what kind of boilerplate (and probably incomprehensible) verbiage they contain.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest boiworship08

I haven't used that technique in years; however, I never used it with the airlines with which I have high status. I wouldn't have any qualms about using it with airline I rarely travel on, though.

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