Airline sues passenger over skipped segment

FEB 11 An Airbus A320 of the airline Lufthansa is taxiing on the tarmac at Frankfurt Airport

In an interesting twist, Lufthansa has filed a lawsuit against a passenger for leveraging a ploy that seasoned flyers use to cop cheaper fares.

Before travelers were pulled into the digital world of algorithms that airlines use to maximize their revenue stream, they would often try ploys like "hidden city ticketing", where the passenger books a ticket to a fictitious destination (the "hidden" city) with a connection at the intended destination, then walks away at the connection node and discards the remaining segment.

The German national airline believes the customer exploited a loophole known as skiplagging - purchasing a cheaper ticket through a multi-trip fares system with no intention of flying on the last leg. He booked his flight on April 8, 2016, and traveled early the next month.

But when it came time for him to return to Olso, he skipped out on the connecting flight in Frankfurt, and hopped a different plane to Berlin.

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Network carriers such as Lufthansa set their prices based on charging less for more flights. It is now seeking $2,385 in compensation. The company claims the move is a violation of their terms and conditions, according to the court papers. However Lufthansa has since been granted permission to appeal the ruling. By contrast, the court said, the airline's method of calculating its initial price is "completely intransparent". The suit was originally dismissed by a Berlin court, but the carrier is appealing the decision, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

The Skyscanner aviation site says there are numerous drawbacks to booking "hidden city" flights, ranging from the inability to check baggage to possibly delaying flights if an aircraft waits on passengers who have simply left midroute.

In addition, the practice could bring legal trouble, Skyscanner says, adding, "Even more likely, if you do this regularly, some airlines will kick you out of their rewards program".

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