Lufthansa is suing a man who intentionally failed to board a connecting flight from Frankfurt to Oslo, but the lawsuit has nothing to do with the passenger’s tardiness.
The passenger was using a clever travel hack, often referred to as the “hidden city” scheme which involves booking a journey with a stopover and staying in the stopover city, instead of traveling to the ultimate destination. Flights with connections are largely far cheaper than direct routes, which are preferable if you prefer minimizing your time in cramped airplane cabins and busy airports.
CNN illustrated the scheme in its report on the story:
For instance, someone flying from New York to San Francisco could book a cheaper trip from New York to Lake Tahoe with a layover in San Francisco and get off there, without bothering to take the last leg of the flight.
CNN also spotted the court filing, and further spelled out how the man skirted the extra airfare:
An unnamed male passenger booked a return flight from Oslo to Seattle, which had a layover in Frankfurt. The passenger used all legs of the outbound flight, but did not catch the Frankfurt to Oslo return flight. He instead flew on a separate Lufthansa reservation from Frankfurt to Berlin.
Now, Lufthansa seeks compensation from the man on the order of $2,385, claiming the airline’s been unfairly gamed. The suit was originally dismissed by a Berlin court, but the carrier is appealing the decision, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.
“Hidden city” ticketing ploys are a well documented and fairly common airline hack, recommended by travel experts as a savvy way to game the system. Among the myriad ways to shave down the cost of airfare, some websites recommend traveling exclusively on one-way tickets, which can often be cheaper than round-trip airfare.