Hidden City Ticketing is a flight trick that is prominent in America, but is unknown here. It’s not the easiest way to fly, but it will slash the price of your ticket by around 50%.
Before you go further, you need to know this:
a) Hidden City Ticketing IS completely legal
b) Airlines HATE it
What is Hidden City Ticketing?
I know, a bit dramatic right? But if you’re happy to do it, you’ll always be able to find super cheap flights. I discovered it a good few years from an American friend which meant I got return direct flights to New York, with British Airways for £257 – while was quoted £630 initially.
How I did it? Well, the end destination wasn’t New York City at all – it was Olso.
It’s all about hub airports. Frankly, some airports are better than others. If you fly to a ‘hub’ one such as JFK, because it is super popular, its quite expensive. So to attract you to airports/places which aren’t that popular, they’ll cut the price to fly there. Oslo for example is one of those places who wants to attract people with cheap flights.
Now – here’s the trick – Hidden City Ticketing is where you book a flight to the ‘cheap airport’, but with a layover at the more expensive one – (So from London – Oslo, with a layover at JFK). Then what you do, get off the plane at NYC and don’t go to your final destination, Oslo.
How to find a Hidden City Ticketing flight
This all sounds amazing right? Here’s where I rain on your parade – getting a flight isn’t a quick process. To bag a ticket at 50% the price of everyone else, you’ll need to be flexible and you’ll have to play around with airline comparison sites such as Skyscanner.
- Pick an airport you want to fly from and put it in Skyscanner
- Pick a random cheap hub destination (just google it, there are loads)
- Put in your dates
- Un-tick the ‘direct’ option, and find a flight with a layover in the place you’d like to go.
Things you need to be aware of
- Make sure you only buy single tickets Remember, you’re not actually going to the final destination on your ticket.
- You can’t take a suitcase – only hand luggage Again, if you put a bag in the hold, it will end up at the final destination you’re not going to. So if you need a lot of luggage, this trick may not be right for you.
- Don’t assume you’re getting a bargain Once you’ve found your Hidden City Ticketing flight, compare it with a ‘normal’ flight.
- While this isn’t illegal, airlines don’t like it for obvious reasons For some, such as American Airlines, you maybe breaking their T&C’s and describe it as ‘unethical’.
- Don’t associate a frequent flyer account with these flights If airlines realise what you’re doing, they may take away your accrued points.