Skiplagging: Airlines taking a stance on controversial travel trick

Also known as hidden-city ticketing, point-beyond booking and throwaway ticketing, skiplagging is a simple travel trick

The BBC in February called it “The travel trick that airlines hate,” while Travel+Leisure magazine in February claimed skiplagging is “too good to be true.”

Also known as hidden-city ticketing, point-beyond booking and throwaway ticketing, skiplagging is a simple travel trick, according to smartertravel.com in April: “Sometimes the nonstop airfare to a particular destination is much higher than a fare to a separate city that includes a stopover in your final destination. In that case, a traveler heading to the first city can buy the connecting fare to the second city and skip the journey’s final leg.”

Airlines are unhappy with customers who “game the system,” asserted BBC. Lufthansa saw this as a violation of its terms and conditions and sought around $2,385 in compensation from an unnamed male passenger, reported CNNtravel.com in February.

However, smartertravel.com pointed out that a lower court denied Lufthansa’s initial filing. And, “United lost a 2015 lawsuit against Skiplagged, the website that searches for hidden-city airfare opportunities …”

Travel+Leisure cited some of the reasons why airlines are miffed about skiplagging:
‒ Deprives travelers of needed seats.
‒ Can result in flight delays if airlines wait on connecting passengers who do not show up.
‒ Could cause problems and confusion with baggage, especially if a carry-on bag gets checked at the last minute.

The magazine warned: “And unexpected changes to the flight plan can ruin your travel plans. Re-routing can be caused by a number of circumstances, like inclement weather.

And your airline will not be sympathetic if you try to rebook a hidden-city ticket.“
Although skiplagging is not illegal, some airlines are beginning to take a hard line.

Travelers who want to skiplag are advised to read the fine print on the ticket to learn whether penalties are involved. Added Travel+Leisure: “In addition to revoking elite status and invalidating frequent flyer miles, an airline has every right to refuse you service, bump you from future flights — whatever revenge they see fit.”

Instead of skiplagging to save money, Travel+Leisure suggested consumers seek flight deals and airfare sales.

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