A guide to booking the hidden city flights
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
What is a hidden city flight?
It is also known as the point beyond ticketing, is an age-old trick that travellers discovered & used it to their advantage. There are times when booking a ticket to a city that has your final destination as a stopover is way cheaper than booking a direct flight to the destination. So, instead of booking the direct flight to the desired city, you book a cheap flight that connects to the destination city as a stopover. You then hop off at the desired location without taking the ongoing connecting flight. People opt for hidden city flight because it’s cheaper. This pretty much is valid for the eleventh-hour flights; you may not find any benefit of it if you book well in advance.
While it’s pretty clear the whole arrangement is quite risky but if you would like to try your luck, here are a few things you must consider:
The luggage’s final destination: Most of the airlines issue the final destination boarding pass even if you have one stop in between. This also means that your luggage would only be available at the final airline destination. So, it is best to carry only hand baggage so that you can easily hop-off.
Plane de-boarding policy: Before booking the flight, do check if it’s the same aircraft that would take you to the destination or not. If it’s the same plane, the airline may not allow you to travel de-board the plane.
Airline detection system: Thanks to the technological advances that we have made, a lot of airlines can detect the non-boarding. There are usually no consequences to it as people tend to miss their flight all the time. There has been a couple of cases where the airlines have sued the traveller; the classic example is of Lufthansa Airways.
Flight Amendments: This is pretty rare for an international flight but for domestic connections, amendments are pretty frequent. There can be a situation where your flight is cancelled or rescheduled & you are accommodated in another flight which may flight to different stopover. Changes in the connecting city do happen & it might ruin your plans as you can’t stay in the new layover city.
Ways to book a hidden city flight
Now that we are entirely aware of the risks, there are pretty cool search engines that help you find hidden-city tickets. One such engine that enables you to discover such tickets is Skiplagged. There’s another platform called ITA Matrix that helps you find hidden city flights. This one is pretty hands-on but allows you to use advanced routing codes too. Since it’s more like DIY, you need to spend a considerable amount of time to figure the whole thing out. Just a caveat: The interface is pretty clunky & it doesn’t allow you to book the flight from their platform directly.