Lufthansa plans to sue passenger for missing booked flight

Irving Hamilton
February 14, 2019

The airline hack is known as the "hidden city" scheme, in which a person books a flight with a layover, and then intentionally stays at the layover city instead of continuing to the planned final destination.

For example, someone who wants to travel to Chicago may book a flight from NY to Los Angeles with a layover in Chicago, if that flight is less expensive than direct flights to Chicago. However, the wily passenger used all legs of the outbound flight, but opted out of the Frankfurt to Oslo return flight and, instead, flew on an unconnected Lufthansa reservation from Frankfurt to Berlin, Germany.

Lufthansa is cracking down on a way for airline passengers to get cheaper fares-with a lawsuit that brings fresh attention to the practice. He booked his flight on April 8, 2016, and traveled early the next month.

According to court documents, Lufthansa says the trip the customer took should have cost 2,769 euros - and it wants a German court to order him to pay the difference between that price and his paid fare.

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Lufthansa are hit harder by the practice than other airlines because many of their flights are routed through the hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Lufthansa has been granted permission to appeal after an initial ruling found in the passenger's favour, The Independent reports. The suit was originally dismissed by a Berlin court, but the carrier is appealing the decision, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN. But Orbitz later settled its case with the site, and a judge dismissed United's portion of the suit in 2015 - mostly because the case was filed in IL and Skiplagged is based in NY. The hack is named after the website Skiplagged, an airfare search engine that claims to "expose loopholes to save your money". It also skews the market for those final-leg flights, critics say, driving prices up and leaving seats empty.

Many carriers put it in their terms and conditions that the practice is illegal.

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