Disregarding the morals of hidden-city ticketing, I've got a question.

Are there any issues from flying and skipping the last leg and hopping onto a different airline's flight to get to my wanted final destination?

So, I would go from DFW, layover in ORD and skip the final leg to GSO and go from ORD to KEF.

DFW-ORD-GSO-KEF


DFW: Dallas / Fort Worth (USA)
ORD: O'Hare International Airport (USA)
GSO: Piedmont Triad International Airport (USA)
KEF: Keflavík International Airport (Iceland)

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    It's not clear to me if you are saying that you would skip your last leg and have a separate ticket for travel to your alternate destination (i.e. from ORD to KEF), or are you hoping to just hop onto the flight to KEF without being noticed or having a ticket? If the former, it shouldn't be a problem (assuming no round trip that you'd abandon or luggage to worry about). If the latter, then I'd think you would have a VERY difficult time getting aboard unnoticed, especially on an international flight. – Milwrdfan Nov 13 at 16:01
up vote 43 down vote accepted

A few potential problems:

First, if you have checked baggage, your bags will (usually, unless you've arranged an overnight in ORD or something) be checked through to GSO. That's obviously not what you want, so you'd have to make the entire trip work in a carry-on, and be certain you won't be required to check your bag if it's deemed too large or the overhead bins are full.

Second, if something goes wrong, the first airline has been contracted to get you to GSO, not ORD. If your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled, they have the right to rebook you through another airport, and you'll never catch your flight to KEF.

Third, if something goes wrong, you've arranged your own connection. The airline operating ORD-KEF is not responsible for your connection at all, and if you miss your connection (such as if your fight flight is delayed or cancelled), you're at the mercy of their policies, which could involve an expensive last-minute ticket purchase. When you buy a single ticket from the airline, they're responsible for your connection, and will have to reticket you at no additional cost.

Fourth, a schedule change could ruin everything. If either flight has a schedule change that interferes with your connection, your itinerary is broken.

Fifth, this doesn't work with roundtrips. If you book a roundtrip DFW-ORD-GSO and don't take the ORD-GSO leg, the airline will cancel the rest of your ticket.

Sixth, there's at least some danger the airline could penalize you for hidden city ticketing (or at least threaten you with a warning), though this is mainly likely if you do this frequently.

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    Great answer. I’m just wondering about the legality of the two things you mention in the last two paragraphs, especially the last one. Isn’t this just empty threats? – Konrad Rudolph Nov 13 at 11:36
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    @KonradRudolph It is in the terms and conditions you agreed to that if you don't take one leg, the airline will cancel the rest of the ticket. As to penalties, they can sue you for their losses when you bought the wrong ticket for the journey you actually made (although they may not win the case); they can certainly refuse to carry you again. – Martin Bonner Nov 13 at 13:04
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    @KonradRudolph , the usual 'punishment' - if any - is to close your frequent flyer account, and discard any points/miles you had in there. If you don't have one, that certainly won't bother you much. There is anecdotal evidence for the airline rejecting further business with you (meaning they do no longer sell you tickets), but that was in quite aggravated situations with multiple warnings and dozens of violations. – Aganju Nov 13 at 13:40
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    While hidden city ticketing is against the contract of carriage, it's not illegal. United tried to sue and the lawsuit was dismissed money.cnn.com/2015/05/01/investing/… – Hilmar Nov 13 at 14:01
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    @Hilmar though it's worth noting the case was dismissed on a formality (wrong court) rather than content. – CompuChip Nov 13 at 14:12

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