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Shortcut flights are flights where flying from destination A to B to C is actually cheaper than flying from destination A to B. You can then buy the A-B-C flight and simply don’t get on the flight to C. Savings range from $40 to $100 per round-trip flight, and have saved me personally over $500 in flight costs already.
We also won second place at Startup Weekend Toronto in 2012 - check out the video of the presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO8oPJSBJ6g
If you’re still going “what?!” then maybe this graphic will help:
For example, flying from Vancouver to Toronto might cost $500, but flying from Vancouver to Toronto to New York might only cost $450, with the exact same Vancouver to Toronto flight. You buy your ticket, take it to Toronto, and don’t go to New York.
FAQ 1: what about luggage?
Make sure to have only carry on luggage, otherwise you might be in Toronto while your teddy bear is in New York.
FAQ 2: what about the return flight?
You buy another shortcut flight if you’re lucky, or simply buy another one-way flight home. In North America, most round-trip ticket prices are the exact same as two one-way tickets, so if you’re saving on one of the segments already, even if you buy market price on the other segment you still end up ahead.
FAQ 3: is this legal?
Yes. Airlines might not like it, but there’s not much they can do about it. If you do this very frequently (say every other week) there have been stories of people getting angry letters and having their loyalty points wiped. I’ve done this up to 3 trips a year and still been fine. Many publications and forums (New York Times, The Economist, FlyerTalk) have talked about this trick too, known in the business as “Hidden City Ticketing”. In fact, check out a sweet mention to us on Wikipedia.
This remains a side project, as the only way we make money now is through referral fees to Travelocity, which isn’t enough to justify full-time commitment. That said, every time someone says, “I’m going to…” I usually ask them if they’re thought about doing this. It’s fun, kind of cheeky, and an interesting case study about the factors behind airline ticket pricing. I look forward to making the algorithm work faster, smarter, and include more cities - most notably the major US hubs. Stay tuned!