Airlines often hate when you don’t board a pre-booked flight, particularly when you use that as a way to get lower fares.
Recently, United Airlines has been sending bills out to customers who have “skipped” flights. As an example, let’s say you want to booked a flight from LA to Houston and the direct flight cost $300. But let’s say you also found a fare that was from LA to Denver with a layover in Houston for $200 (sometimes, airlines will discount fares like this to compete with other airlines). If you booked the LA to Denver flight but got off of the plane in Denver, there’s a chance you could receive a bill from United for additional $100 (the price difference between the LA to Houston fare versus the LA to Denver fare).
According to a ruling issues by the Supreme Court of Spain on November 20, 2018, this practice is now outlawed in the country.
Also outlawed is the ability for an airline to cancel your ticket for failure to get on a specific flight. So, let’s say you booked Barcelona to Madrid to Tokyo. The way Iberia (and other airlines) had it set up, if you missed your Barcelona to Madrid flight, your Madrid to Tokyo flight would be cancelled… but no more. Now, you can miss your first flight and still be ticketed to go from Madrid to Tokyo.
The Supreme Court of Spain argued that it’s simple contract law — the customer performed its side of the contract by paying and Spanish airlines (read: Iberia) needs to perform its part of the contract by letting you fly.
On one hand, I love this. It’s rare that a court will rule in favor of passengers like this, and I think it’s great from a consumer-rights aspect. But on the other hand, I fear this will lead to much higher prices.
Have you ever strategically no show-ed for a flight? Let me know in the comments!