British Airways Allegedly Vows to Punish Savvy Travelers

For years savvy travelers have saved loads of money by booking one-way flights and not completing their itineraries. These bookings are referred to as hidden-city or throw-away ticketing. Historically there has been little or no recourse against said travelers, except canceling the remainder of their itinerary (which was not being utilized anyway).

Passengers are willing to pay more for direct flights, therefore airlines charge more for non-stop flights than a flight with a connection in that very same city. For example, a flight from Los Angeles to New York with a layover in Cincinnati is less expensive than a direct flight from Los Angeles to Cincinnati. As long as passengers carry their luggage on, they are able to book a less expensive fair and get off at the connection. These bookings have become more prominent in recent years with websites such as Skiplagged.com that were specifically designed to help find such fares.

This week British Airways has announced they will fight back against such fliers. According to Head For Points:

Two people, independently, told me last week that British Airways will begin to take a harder line. Both of these people are very close to the situation.

The trigger has been the ludicrously cheap tickets to Hong Kong which British Airways is selling from Germany. These are £1,000 return in Club World – the offer has been extended to this Friday as my other article today explains. It appears that BA intends to continue to sell tickets at these prices to counteract heavy discounting by the Middle East carriers and Turkish, but needs to ensure it protects its revenue.

If the final leg of your Germany to Hong Kong ticket is a few months after the Hong Kong to London leg, be aware. Your card is marked. British Airways will be watching to make sure you take the final flight to Germany. …

If you do not take the final leg of a booked flight, BA has the right to reassess your fare and charge you for the cost of a Germany – Hong Kong – London ticket. This would be a bill for a large amount of money.

This could all be ‘talk’ by British Airways, of course. If you refused to pay their invoice, they would need to pursue you in court for the money and I doubt that they would want to risk a judgement going against them.

British Airways is not the first to take action against these types of one-way flights. Recently, United Airlines and Oribiz have filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged.