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Airhitch is a user-run system for hitchhiking on commercial airliners. It was started by a group of U.S. college students in the 1960s. People who travel in this way generally refer to themselves as Airhitchers. Most airhitchers fly between the United States and Western Europe. Before Airhitch migrated to internet based communication in the 1990s, it operated out of North American offices including New York, Los Angeles (Santa Monica), San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal, and Vancouver, and numerous European cities including Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Bonn, and Rome. Airhitch is a non-commercial system/method/process. Today, virtually, all exchange of Airhitch information takes place in an AIM chat room. In the chat room, Airhitchers use their real names, while the staff use screen names such as Airhitch01, and Airhitch08.
Since 2006, the cost and availability of "Airhitchable" flights has been questionable. Currently, the majority of "AHers" opt to help each other find conventional airfare to their destinations.
The Classical Airhitching Process
- Registration: Airhitchers formally commit to participation in the Airhitch system by sending an online registration to the staff.
- Flight-Briefing: With the guidance of the staff, Airhitchers explore the best possibilities for catching rides on flights and the procedural mechanics of how to take advantage of them.
- Decision: Airhitchers decide which flight they will attempt to board.
- Boarding: Airhitchers go to the airport and attempt to board the aircraft.