When is a ‘travel hack’ unethical?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by NYCUA1K, Nov 21, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    In his latest installment, the Washington Post's travel writer and "consumer advocate", Christopher Elliot, reports on a very interesting question: Is it ethical to change one's IP address to take advantage of airline ticket prices that can often be much cheaper in a foreign local currency than if purchased with USD or using a US IP address?

    Read the piece and then chime in!

    LINK:
    Nikolas Langes thought he knew every trick in the book for saving money on airline tickets. After all, he’s the founder of an online start-up called Tripdelta, which specializes in finding inexpensive fares.


    Turns out he didn’t. One day, he noticed a discrepancy between fares based on the currency used to pay. And then another.

    For example, when he was in Santiago, Chile, searching on LAN’s Web site for flights to Easter Island, he noted that the Chilean price was $374. But if he indicated that he was in Germany, where his company is based, he paid $693. And if he changed his Internet Protocol (IP) address to one in the United States, the site quoted him a fare of $699.


    “The price seems to be best when you choose the currency of the home base of the airline,” he said. “Interestingly, the U.S. dollar is always the most expensive option.”


    These price variations are not uncommon, and they have been around as long as airline tickets. But in a time when switching your stated location is as easy as changing your IP address, the question isn’t whether you can save money by pretending to be in another country, but whether you should.

    All’s fair, right?


    No, says Anne Klaeysen, a leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. “Travel hacking, or strategies for getting better deals, may be legal,” she says, “but they are not always ethical, especially when they involve deception.”


    For instance, although Klaeysen holds a PhD, she won’t book a flight with the “doctor” title, because it implies she’s a physician, which may afford her preferential treatment.


    “Nor would I book a ticket from a fake location, taking advantage of lower prices offered to people in countries with lower standards of living,” she adds.


    The federal government agrees with her, at least up to a point. This year, when the Transportation Department investigated a fare error on a flight from New York to Copenhagen on United’s Web site, regulators sided with the airline, which refused to honor $142 round-trip prices.


    Continue reading...
     
  2. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    I remember John Kerry parking his boat in another state because the taxes were cheaper,,,

    No one went to jail...

    I try to get the best deal that is being offered, we often buy items in other countries,

    Nothing wrong with a Union man spending his money a Wall-Mart to make it go further,

    Not ethical, but it is not stealing except from your fellow union workers.,

    Kerry, just cheating another state, depends on how honest you want to be...
     
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  3. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    How about differential pricing of medicines from across the border, up north ?

    why is travel hacking unethical and taking advantage of differential pricing in Wall St. considered financial acumen ?

    RTW travel specialists have been leveraging this differentials since eons when constructing a RTW itinerary and pricing.
     
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  4. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    I do not do this but then, don't corporations set up bases in low tax states or even countries so that they avoid or reduce their tax burdens.?

    Exceptions could be when it is explicitly stated that there are preferential rates for certain citizens or residents (could be tied to tax deals with the local government), and one tries to get the reduced rate without the required residence, then that is wrong in my opinion.
     
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  5. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Christopher Elliot is a self-important , self promoting idiot one has to look no further than the blatant misinformation he is currently pushing with regard to the AA ticket hold policy.:rolleyes:
     
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  6. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Similarly, reserving a hotel room using a code that says you're a government employee or an affiliation club member when you are not, in order to get a discount or special rate. I'm not sure how that is different than any other deliberate misrepresentation in order to get a discount (i.e., fraud).
     
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  7. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I thought gummint folks, Seniors, and AARP types have to show the right ID ?
     
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  8. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    Never been ask for an ID, helps to be a little assertive...
     
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  9. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Or (in my case) to clearly look over 70.

    (Although -- strangely -- I do occasionally get carded when I buy beer. Go figure.)
     
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  10. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    The beer thing is a state law.

    I do not look my age...but many times feel it...
     
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  11. Dublin_rfk

    Dublin_rfk Gold Member

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    Using the 'government rate' as an example is probably not a good idea. The 'government rate is often 5 to 20% higher than the basic rack rate.
     
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  12. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Depends on your hotel chain. As for Marriott, the "government rate" is usually equal to or less than the "per diem" limit that the government will reimburse a traveler who is on official business in the locality, and is usually very much below the rack rate, particularly in large cities.

    Now, I have run into situations where other special rates (e.g., holiday rates, senior rates, AAA rates) happened to be lower than the government rate, but it has always been less in my experience than the rack rate.

    Starwood is similar.
     
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