Hidden City Tickets in the Age of COVID-19

It’s no secret that COVID-19 decimated the travel industry, but it does create AMAZING hidden city ticket opportunities for those brave enough to fly. For over three decades, airlines have relied on back door methods to dispose of their EMPTY & OVERVALUED inventory. Examples include AD75 tickets, mileage programs, hidden city tickets and point beyond tickets. Airline deception still receives too little attention, but continues to happen every hour of every day. Despite COVID-19 fueling a 90% drop in demand for air travel, premium cabin fares have not decreased. On several routes, fares have actually increased. If nobody’s flying, how do airlines fill their empty seats? Hidden city tickets and mileage programs. Hidden city tickets are an airline enabled deception. The funny thing is that in times of high demand, airlines cry that hidden city tickets cost them money. HA! Maybe airlines have become too comfortable receiving free money courtesy of bailouts paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. In reality, hidden city ticket may be the only legitimate revenue airlines receive during COVID-19. It’s true that airlines have been brought to tears, but hidden city ticketing are the least of their worries. Once again, hidden city tickets are an airlines best friend. Airlines are desperate for ticket sales of any kind, even hidden city tickets. During past calamities, including 9-11, the SARS outbreak, the Iraqi conflict and the 2008 financial meltdown airlines relied on hidden city tickets to fill empty seats and continue to do the same as COVID-19 rages on.

COVID-19 has very few bright spots, but it does create eureka like conditions for hidden city and point beyond ticket consumption. Historically, airlines refrain from interfering flyers traveling on hidden city tickets during times of crisis and COVID-19 continues to be much of the same.

Airlines had plenty of chances to remove the hidden city ticketing loopholes at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with nobody flying, and bring an end to hidden city tickets once and for all. But they didn’t. Why? Airlines need hidden city tickets just as much as the travelers who exploit them. Hidden city tickets help airlines fill the slack on flights when travelers WON’T overpay. Despite popular belief, hidden city tickets bring balance to airline seat distribution. Just because your smart phone says a business or first class seat costs $5,000 or more doesn’t mean anyone is actually buying in at that price. Historically, a few impatient price insensitive travelers may buy in and fly comfortably at any price but not enough to fill the entire premium class cabin. That’s where hidden city tickets come in, allowing flyers to OVERVALUE their EMPTY seats in search of a few unsophisticated buyers while quietly disposing of the leftovers via the hidden city ticket.

A COVID induced post pandemic phenomenon is the emergence of a new class of first time travelers, crowding into business and first class cabins without regard to price. Strong demand from price insensitive travelers does pose some challenges for hidden city ticketing, but hidden city fares have been part of the travel landscape since the late 1980s. Hidden city tickets will continue to exist until airlines simplify their draconian fare structures.

Interested in understanding the history of hidden city tickets, how it all works and how we got here?Subscribe to I-REROUTE. Remember, the smartest flyers never overpay for comfort and neither should you!

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