bailing at a flight stop-over? why not?

So I’m fancying going to Europe this Spring, and while I had hoped originally to fly into either Amsterdam or Brussels, I see on travelocity, for example, that tickets to London are easily $150 less expensive round-trip. So I was thinking I would just fly to London and catch a cheap puddle-jumper from there to the continent…

But then, looking over the details of a desirable London flight, I see that it in fact has a three hour stop-over connection in Amsterdam! So then I started to think, why can’t I just buy the London tickets, and bail out at the stop-over in Amsterdam anyway? Thus saving myself a few hundred bucks AND getting to my desired destination faster, and it’s hardly like I’m cheating them.

The fine print at Travelocity has some voodoo about your seat being up for grabs if you “fail to check in for any segment of your trip”-- obviously they couldn’t ding me for “missing” my flight onward to London, but it sounds like they could certainly cause me trouble for not checking into London on the return trip, and cancel my seats on the outbound from Amsterdam leg. If I showed up at the airport in A’dam before my London trip was scheduled to depart, could I get away with it (“we decided to stay on the continent longer than we had expected”), or would they find some way to screw with us anyway? Am I foolishly messing with the Man? Is this a no-brainer? Would they blink? I have to assume someone else has noticed this disparity before and tried to capitalize on it…

ou could easily find yourself with no return flight from London or Amsterdam if you aren’t on the plane going from Amsterdam to London.

This is what the airlines call a “hidden city” internerary and they don’t like 'em because, as you’ve seen, they effectively cheat the lines out of a chunk of money. Travelocity’s policy is mild - a lot of carriers will cancel the remainder of the intinerary if you miss any leg.

Safest way to fly hidden cities is to have a pair of otherwise unrelated one-way flights, but that may cost more than the round-trip fare without any hidden city tricks.

On preview, I see that gotpasswords already covered one portion of my response, but hey, since it’s already typed in, I’ll send it anyway.

IANATA (I am not a travel agent), but it is my understanding that if you fail to continue on to London, you may find the ticket for your return flight will no longer be valid. Moral is, thou shall not mess with the airlines.

Also, in the post-9/11 world, people who disappear mid-travel may draw the attention of various law enforcement types, making it probably not a good idea unless you have a desire to experience first-hand the valuable cultural experience of being detained in a foreign country.

I have a co-worker who fell asleep on a flight into the Gulf. When he woke, people were deboarding, and he thought he had reached his final destination (UAE, I believe). The Saudi police who detained him for 24 hours had other ideas, unfortunately. Note that I doubt the Netherlands are likely to be as, um, emphatic as the Saudis, but just sharing a cautionary tale.

What about your checked baggage? If it stays on the plane, or gets transferred automatically to your next aircraft, two things will probably happen:

  1. You’ll lose it forever.
  2. You may delay the aircraft, as pilots are very funny about taking off with bags whose owners haven’t shown up for the flight.
    And, as the others have said, this will screw mightily with your return journey. You’re definitely messing with the man. I think it’s a bad idea.

Oh, well, I suspected as much, although I still don’t quite see how I am cheating the line out of money by failing to occupy the seat of a flight I have already paid for, unless they have some investment in me particularly ending up in London. But if that’s the way it is, I guess I’ll play the game, finish off the trip to London and book a twenty dollar puddle-jumper from there straight to Bruges. :slight_smile:

LoadedDog: I never check baggage, but point taken.

Thanks all!

Presuming you are taking only carry on luggage, don’t even think about this sort of thing if you have luggage in the hold. Would it be possible to check with a travel agent for this possibility, they have access to the same deals that you get on internet.
There were no cheap puddle jumpers in Europe when I was living there, so be certain of their availability and price before you assume you can get from London to Brussels for less than the about $150 euro-train fair.

There’s a new-ish airline called RyanAir, which seems to provide one-ways between London and a good many places on the continent for 10-20 pound a pop; seems like the UK’s version of SouthWest Airlines here.