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Southwest is currently running a 3-day fare sale, with flights at $49, $99, $129, or $149.  I don’t always post about these Southwest fare sales, because a) Southwest doesn’t fly from my closest airport (CVG) and b) it feels like Southwest is running a fare sale just about always.


In any case, I was browsing through some of the fares, and I noticed that there is some pretty blatant hidden city ticketing going on right now!

What is hidden city ticketing?

Hidden city ticketing is the art of buying a connecting flight to a destination that you’re not really going to, and then getting off half-way / “forgetting” to take your onward connection.

Consumers have the mindset that when they buy a ticket from A->B->C that they are buying a ticket from A to B and one from B to C.  The airlines take the side that you’re buying a ticket from A to C, and it is irrelevant that there is a connection at City B.

Generally airlines do not LIKE when you engage in hidden city ticketing, though it’s been my personal experience and from what I have read, as long as you are not doing it all the time or otherwise rubbing it in their face.  I bought a ticket from Salt Lake City to Charlotte to Cincinnati to go to the Family Travel for Real Life Conference in Charlotte, “accidentally” getting off in Charlotte and not taking my onward connection to Cincinnati (I bought a 4500 Avios ticket for the next day to go from CLT-CVG)

(SEE ALSO: Traveling #hobostyle)

(SEE ALSO: Recap of the Family Travel for Real Life (#FT4RL) conference!)

Some things to watch out for with hidden city ticketing:

  • Obviously, don’t check any bags. Your checked luggage will not know you’re getting off half-way
  • In case of a weather, mechanical or other irregular operations, you may be out of luck.  The airline may try to route you a different way to where they think is your final destination
  • You may not earn miles for your ticket (even the leg that you actually did fly)

Heading out to Arizona, Nevada and points west

I am looking at going with my son out west in November.  I have the Southwest Companion Pass, which is expiring at the end of the year, and so I thought I’d take that chance to get a flight for “free”.  One thought I had was to check out the 11:11 11/11 Veteran’s Memorial

Check out what happens when the sun hits this monument at 11:11 a.m on November 11th

Check out what happens when the sun hits this monument at 11:11 a.m on November 11th

That’s one of the things that’s on my travel bucket list, and going to Arizona might also let us take advantage of some pretty sweet one way car rental deals that are going on right now.

Hidden City ticketing going on at Southwest right now

So I started looking at Southwest tickets to Phoenix.  Southwest doesn’t fly from Cincinnati, so I looked at Columbus


Several good options there. The nonstop is an option, but check out the 5:15 p.m. departure that goes to Phoenix by way of Las Vegas.  It lists at a price of $175, but what happens if you try to book a direct Columbus to Las Vegas flight?


That same flight (leaving Columbus at 5:15 p.m. direct to Las Vegas) COSTS $201!!

So you would be better off booking a flight from Columbus to Phoenix, routing through Las Vegas, and then just getting off the plane at Las Vegas and not taking the onward flight to Phoenix!  I am certain that there are other instances of this hidden city ticketing, but that was the one that I noticed.  If you see others, leave them in the comments!

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