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any risk to not using last flight segment

My daughter and husband live in Atlanta but last year flew down to Florida and went out of Miami to Madrid, Spain which saved them about $800 each. We are looking to go with them and our other children to Italy this next May. We do not plan to go to Rome because we have been there. But they have not. So they are looking to fly out of Miami to Rome before us and then return to Atlanta from Milan. My daughter accidentally found a flight Itinerary that potentially could work really well but it means skipping the last part of the flight. The itinerary is direct from Miami to Rome and then from Milan to Ft Lauderdale via a seven hour layover in Atlanta. It is priced less than $700 but if you try the same itinerary and end in Atlanta (as opposed to a ticket continuing to Ft. Lauderdale) then it is over $5000!!!!

The flight back is on Delta. I would think as long as they carry on their luggage they would be OK. They would go through passport control and immigration and then proceed through security with their luggage to connecting domestic flights. I would presume though that they could then follow the signs to exit and baggage claim and leave the airport.

There are other options, of course, that are less than $5000 but the next best seems to require connecting flights both ways and is about $400 more than the itinerary outlined above.

I know if you skip out of the second part of a flight on your way to your destination, your return will be cancelled. The only risks I can think of is if the flight got rerouted through another city than Atlanta which doesn't seem likely or if they are forced to check their luggage. Delta has reasonable carry on limits though and I would think this too would be minimal risk as long as they were attentive to those limits.

Any thoughts? My daughter would be willing to even pay a few hundreds more for her preferred itinerary to avoid any worry, although as she says it is crazy to pay more to fly less. But of course, she would not buy a $5000 ticket (and an economy one at that).

Posted by
467 posts

I think you've got a correct grasp of the situation and risks. If all goes according to plan, this plan should work.

The only likely rerouting possibility on Delta metal is going to be through JFK, which also has service to both Milan and Fort Lauderdale.

I also suspect that the $5000 ticket is going to go down -- there's a premium to be paid for nonstop flights but that seems wildly excessive. Sometimes the first fares loaded in the 300+ day period prior to a flight vary wildly.

Posted by
16883 posts

I'm seeing multi-city itineraries on Delta's web site for $2300-2600 per person, both in October and in May, which is still too high. But we would normally expect to book it as multi-city, since a one-way ticket on the major carriers is traditionally much more expensive. Maybe calling Delta would provide some insight into the reason.

Posted by
268 posts

Over $5000? What? I'm assuming that must be First Class. It that ISN'T First Class, that seems kind of an outrageous price on Delta if you are flying in and out of their hub.

I also live in Atlanta, and I'm flying Delta direct/nonstop to Rome, then direct/nonstop home from Paris. In Comfort Plus, it is $1500 total for both flights (booked as "multi-city")

PS...I read your post again, and you said this is an ECONOMY fare? Okay, something is not right here. No way should she be paying $5000 to fly Delta out of Atlanta AND have to make a connection. Seriously, that is how much First Class fares were going for on NONSTOP flights when I bought my ticket!

Posted by
1799 posts

The $5000 was out of Miami direct to Rome and then from Milan direct to Atlanta. But the same itinerary ending in Ft Lauderdale was about $700.

And I did see that you can now buy a ticket direct from Atlanta to Rome and direct from Milan to Atlanta for about $1500. When she and I were looking online a week ago those flights were over $2000. Personally, it is a lot less messing around and I would be tempted to do that but my kids are willing to do more wrangling to save some money. Two years ago my son flew from Orlando to Atlanta ($120 round trip, unconnected flight) and met my daughter and husband to fly to Athens. Turkish Air was $850 out of Atlanta but all my son could find in Orlando was $1400 or more. So he saved more than $400 with that maneuver. And as I said, my daughter and her husband paid $550 per ticket from Miami to Madrid this summer while it was $1500 out of Atlanta.

Posted by
1220 posts

Atlanta is an airport where you absolutely positively have to do carry-on only if you want to do hidden city ticketing if it's your international port of entry. International flights can land at either E or F Concourse, each of which has their own CBP point of entry. While some flights are more likely to land at one concourse or the other, it can change at any time.

The bottleneck is that there is no direct exit to the landside area of E Concourse- if your ticket ends in Atlanta, you have to reclaim and do a bag drop after passport control for any checked bags. Your bag that is specifically tagged to ATL is then sent to a landside carousel while you have to reclear security and take the plane train or tunnel to landside baggage claim in order to reclaim it there.

And the Delta agents working the bag drop off area of E Concourse are well versed in the hidden city ticket scenario and will not let a person on a continuing ticket send a bag to the carousel outside of security unless you're visibly too ill in the vomiting on the floor sense of things to continue on with your ticket.

Posted by
2048 posts

Do this once a year, and there’s actually no risk. Trust me I live in Atlanta and did this just last year going to London. Do it once a week they’re going to catch you

The only real risk is if you get re-routed for some reason due to weather or mechanical. What I did was I had a cheap ticket booked on Southwest to get back home if I wound up being re routed directly to Orlando. You can cancel that and use the credit on Southwest at another date. So I would do that rather than buy ticket on Delta

Posted by
268 posts

This is interesting, because I've never heard of "hidden city ticketing" or even knew it was a thing. I always felt that living in Atlanta was an advantage since Delta has so many direct flights to places I want to go. It never even occurred to me to try to find a cheaper fare this way!

Posted by
1220 posts

Hidden city ticketing is technically not allowed under the airline's contract of carriage but as long as it's only once in a while and you aren't making a habit of it, most airlines will let it slide instead of trying to get a fare difference for the route actually flown out of you

Posted by
1220 posts

Though Delta positions themselves as the 'nice' airline in America and I've never heard of them chasing down a final segment no show for any sort of fare difference. As one time thing, if anyone in the mothership even notices the no show on the computer-generated passenger manifests, it will be assumed that you no showed for something like you were feeling ill and decided to check into a hotel for the night instead.

Posted by
1078 posts

Is the $5,000 itinerary being processed as two one-way flights? If so, that could account for the high price.

Posted by
124 posts

I did this to Israel last July/August. I found a United Ticket starting in LAX or SAC for $980 r/t but if I started the same nonstop flight from SFO-TLV r/t it was $1800+. So I had a voucher good enough for a free one way First Class ticket on Alaska to LAX. As my Mother was going to Paris we timed our flights perfectly. I left int he early AM and spent the morning until 2 PM at the Alaska Lounge which is part of my ticket when I could check in for my United Flight.

So at 1:30 PM I took my suitcase over to United and checked in and went to the United Club.

Then I boarded my flight to SFO(we flew over my house in the Bay Area) and I went to the Gate to TLV as the terminals were connected it was an easy connection to the International Terminal. I was the first one through the extra screening for TLV.

On the return I flew the nonstop to SFO and we arrived over 1 hour before we were supposed to and Cistoms was closed. I was seated in the front of the plane in Economy Plus(got seated here due to my disability and there were no other seats left for this assignment) so I called up Untied to cancel my SFO-LAX flight and told them I had an urgent need and that I would not be flying this segment. I also informed the Travel Agency later to cancel it.

We were let off the plane at 6:00 AM and with Global Entry I was in the the Car Service vehicle at 6:20 AM and home by 7:00 AM. I know it could have been a risk but as its an international flight and SFO is a Hub of United and as I am required to pickup my luggage for Customs Screening the risk was very low of anything going wrong. So not only did I save over $1000 dollars considering having to purchase another flight to SJC and time it was totally worth it on the outbound to fly down to LAX. If I had to go to Sacramento my Car service would be $200 to start the flight.

My total cost to LAX was $11 and this included the food in the lounges , drinks and more. It was money well spent!!!!!!!!

On the return I was home at 7:00 AM took a 30 minute nap and was out and about and took a bath and treated it like a normal day and had no jetlag on both flights going and coming.

Posted by
124 posts

Added to say that it would cost me $200 to only get $130 back for the SFO-LAX flight so I just let it expire as I can get roundtrip in First Class for around $200. or Economy for $130ish.

Posted by
124 posts

I flew from SJC-LAX to start the LAX-SFO-TLV-SFO flight.