Only in airline math is three less than one. Ask anyone who's ever saved $150 by flying from Seattle to San Diego through Boise and Portland. Sure, you'd THINK the fuel, taxes, and other associated costs of putting a person on three flights would make that ticket more expensive than a nonstop. But then you'd vastly underestimate the chimpanzees who apparently handpick airfares.
You might as well put this wackadoodle logic to work for you. A website called Skiplagged specializes in finding what it calls "hidden city flights," wherein you book a ticket to a place you have no intention of ever going, because it connects through the city you actually want to visit. You basically ghost halfway through a trip. It pisses airlines off to no end. Yet it saves you beaucoup bucks. Win-win, right? Here's how to run this game.
How it works
As you would with any search engine, enter your beginning and end cities and travel dates on Skiplagged. It sifts through the routes to your destination city and the routes that connect through it.
So say you're trying to fly from Cleveland to New York. It'll bring up all the flight itineraries from CLE to JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark. Then it goes a step further by also listing all the "hidden city routes," where a flight from Cleveland to, say, Baltimore, has a connection through Newark. Showing all the results in a handy matrix organized by price, duration, or number of legs.
You can't book the flight through Skiplagged, but you're more than welcome to go to the airline's website, book that Cleveland-to-Baltimore flight, then when you get to Newark, just walk your happy ass right out of the terminal and save a fat $107. You, one. Chimpanzees, zero.