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Unintentionally, I found myself in a Hidden City Ticketing phenomena.

I bought 4 one-way tickets (family of four) from Vancouver to Quebec City, connecting thru Montreal to travel in Early Feb 2015 from Air Canada website.

Now we have a change in plans, and we would like to skip going to Quebec City and stay in Montreal.

Instictively, I logged in to Air Canada and tried to change the itinerary. My natural thinking as I am not really changing anything, just dropping from one leg of the trip, and the airline would be better off. U was not expecting any compensation. However, the airline tried to charge me an additional $480 (I already paid $1200 for the original tickets).

So I am trying to understand my options, and while I was googling around, I came across this Hidden City Ticketing thing.

My question is, Can I simply check-in my luggages to Montreal (not to final destination) and walk away in Montreal with a no show to the connecting flight. I understand you can do this if you have only carry ons, but how about if you need to check-in luggages. Can I simply politely and nicely ask to the counter in Vancouver to tag my luggage to Montreal only? Also, I have a Star Alliance Gold card, so I will use Business Class check-in counter (even though I'm travelling economy). Will this make a difference?

UPDATE: I manage to cancel the whole trip without any charge, and rebooked the relevant portion with a marginally increased price, which I was ready to bear. Thnks for all the answers.

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I don't think so. The airline charges you because sometimes they cannot sell the empty seats that you "reserved". You could try to see the costs of canceling and buying new tickets, but you're really in an ethical grey area here. Other options would be calling the airline and asking them if you can just change your flight.

The ticketing technique “interferes with United’s ability to sell unused seats on the final leg(s) of connecting flights, resulting in the loss of revenue that United would have earned by selling the unused seats,” the company said in its lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The companies also are seeking at least $75,000 in damages and attorney fees.

“This practice violates our fare rules, and we are taking action to stop it to help protect the vast majority of customers who buy legitimate tickets,” said Christen David, a spokeswoman for United.

From: Washington Post

Also, as @Relaxed said in the comments, another reason airlines dislike Hidden City Ticketing is that most trips must go through a hub, and nobody is going to pay extra because they transit through London, etc.

  • I'd suggest "in case" they cannot sell the empty seats. They can sell the empty seats but may not be able to. – dlanod Jan 4 '15 at 21:38
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    I don't think this is the issue here. As the OP doesn't want any refund, the company has effectively already sold those empty seats. If they manage to sell them again, the will essentially sell them twice. – Aleks G Jan 4 '15 at 21:53
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    If Air Canada allows me to cancel the second leg of th trip they can effectively resell that portion, and as I do not want any compensation for that segment, they will be better off. However,if they try to charge me for "amending" my trip, then they push me to the no-show option and no extra income for them, and messed up no show stats... – CanadaWanderer Jan 4 '15 at 22:20
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    That a bald-faced lie for the needs of the lawsuit. The reason airlines don't want passengers dropping segments has really nothing to do with reselling unused seats and cannot logically be about that. After all, the airline was ready to sell the whole trip for the same price in the first place. If the passenger did travel the whole way, they would not get an extra seat to sell or resell. – Relaxed Jan 5 '15 at 16:11
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    What's really at stake is their ability to practice price discrimination and extract more money from travelers flying directly from their hub to destinations where there is no competition while still offering cheaper flights through the same hub to price-sensitive passengers that had no reason to go there in the first place. That's why ploys like hidden city ticketing are possible and why the airline needs to fight them. – Relaxed Jan 5 '15 at 16:14

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