Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Highlighted

Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Active Member

Why is it in many cases that prices to end your flight in a stopover city tend to more expensive that stopping over then continuing on?

 

Example - 

 

MSP -> OAK -> ONT this is cheaper than MSP -> OAK. 

 

I've noticed this pretty steadily over the last couple years on several flights. Not newly related to covid-19 policies, but still happening.

 

I guess I don't understand how/why it'd be cheaper to continue on to another airport compared to just ending the trip at the stopover airport.

 

8 REPLIES 8
Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Top Contributor

It's called hidden city ticketing, a practice most airlines frown upon or will take action against flyers if they catch you doing, but Southwest actually has no policy against it.

 

Here's a little explainer I found, there are many others. 

https://www.pointswithacrew.com/some-blatant-hidden-city-ticketing-on-southwest-right-now/

 

Definitely don't do this if you need to check bags. Also, it's polite to inform the gate agent that you won't be continuing on to your final ticketed destination so they don't go crazy paging you when you don't board, plus it potentially allows a standby passenger to travel.

 

I don't really have an answer for your "why?" question other than what was in the article I linked. Basically airlines don't factor in the stopover city, they just set the price as if you are going from A to C, not A to B to C. If other airlines offer a non-stop A to C it might cause other airlines to match the price on their A to B to C. 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Active Member

Ah, I think you’ve misunderstood my post.

 

I was just trying to figure out why airlines, Southwest in this case, would make a system that makes the middle city more expensive than the destination city. You’d think the end city would always be most expensive. I guess in that way you could game the system, but hard to get back to your origin city since you’ve gotten off at the expensive city.

 

I’ve read about how some people get off halfway and just stay as long as they have no checked luggage, only using a carry on. I think I’ve even heard an airline sued someone in court because of doing it as well on an international flight.

 

 

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Top Contributor

Airfare pricing is based on supply and demand, as well as market considerations, and not necessarily distance or flight time. Prices are set with respect to the origin and destination city. Some cities have more competition so prices are "low" compared with cities only served by a single carrier or with less volume of flights. Getting from city A to city B on Southwest may mean connections at cities C, D or E. Prices are set based only on A to B, without regard to C, D or E. Prices for non-stops to C, D or E are set based on the demand and market considerations specifically for C, D and E. Hope this helps!

Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Active Member

I guess I’m not understanding what multi-billion dollar business wouldn’t consider the fact of stopping in city C, D, or E.

 

Looking at the schedule in March (when more flights were available) I could route MSP to LAX for 3,120 points for most flights through August.

 

The flights were routed through Oakland, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas.

 

I guess I’m saying that one could fairly easily just jump off at those cities and stay if they were higher priced. And according to the above poster it’s not even frowned upon by SW as long as you don’t have any checked baggage. So with that into consideration the stopover city should be of some consideration.

 

But hey whatever works for Southwest. I may just jump off one day and stay in the middle city, maybe. Good to know I have the option.

Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Top Contributor
Solution

@Matt4202 wrote:

 

 

I guess I’m saying that one could fairly easily just jump off at those cities and stay if they were higher priced.  


That is what themiddleseat called hidden city ticketing,  it happens for the reasons chgoflyer mentioned, and it happens on all airlines. Normally I see it when I fly a hub and spoke carrier, and I'm flying from a non hub city to another non hub city  , with a connection in a hub city (in my case United and Chicago or Denver). I live in Dallas and United has to compete via connection with

non stop flight by American and Southwest. If the nonstop flights between city A and city C

are cheaper than flights from city A to city B, then United, via connection, has to match pricing on flights from city A to city B to city C.  Violla, you have a potential for a hidden city ticket for a connecting flight  from city A to city B (the hidden city) to city C.

 

Southwest does not prohibit it unlike other airlines. If you do it enough on the other guys, they'll threaten to forfeit all your FF points and perks. Some, like Lufthansa, sue their passengers in court for breach of contract.

 

Be aware that although Southwest does not prohibit the practice, it will not give flight segments or RR points for anyone doing it with a ticket bought with cash.. Why? The passenger did not complete the itinerary.  

One must complete the itinerary to get points and segments.

Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

@Matt4202 wrote:

 

 

I guess I’m saying that one could fairly easily just jump off at those cities and stay if they were higher priced.  


 

 

Be aware that although Southwest does not prohibit the practice, it will not give flight segments or RR points for anyone doing it with a ticket bought with cash.. Why? The passenger did not complete the itinerary.  

One must complete the itinerary to get points and segments.


This being the main downside. 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Top Contributor

@Matt4202 wrote:

Why is it in many cases that prices to end your flight in a stopover city tend to more expensive that stopping over then continuing on?

 

Example - 

 

MSP -> OAK -> ONT this is cheaper than MSP -> OAK. 

 

I've noticed this pretty steadily over the last couple years on several flights. Not newly related to covid-19 policies, but still happening.

 

I guess I don't understand how/why it'd be cheaper to continue on to another airport compared to just ending the trip at the stopover airport.

 


This may be a factor where you are starting from - coming from MSP you see competition for Delta and others to go places. Southwest meanwhile has a lot of connections from MSP but not as many direct flights. 

 

Therefore the overall connection must be competitive with the other guys.

 

I don't see this as often coming from MDW:

 

  • I get a lot of direct options and don't ever look for connecting cities. 
  • I love free checked bags, so forget even looking.
  • I travel for work and have to reimburse, it would look funny paying for a ticket to somewhere else even if I got off halfway to save the client some money.

I see it once in a while when I'm looking at @bec102896 style itineraries. 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
Highlighted

Re: Pricing for stopover flight to another city vs ending in stopover city.

Active Member

Yeah, since MDW is a hub city you have many more direct options that there are available from MSP.

 

Flying from MSP we need to stop somewhere to get to most major cities like MCO, LGA, LAX, even LAS.