A teen that skipped his last leg of travel to save money on his airfare is bringing to light a travel hack that got him in trouble with American Airlines by using a controversial strategy: skiplagging.
“Skiplagging” or booking a flight with a layover to skip the last leg of travel, is a common hack for travelers that don’t want to pay for a direct flight, but ultimately end up costing the airlines for seats on planes. Or travelers use it to get cheaper tickets to a destination.
It’s also sometimes known as “hidden city” ticketing.
For example, an airline may charge more for a ticket from Dallas to Cleveland than it does for Dallas to New York. But in certain instances, the plane may connect in Cleveland and the passenger can simply walk off the plane for less money.
That’s because sometimes an airline charges lower fares between destinations to stimulate demand, move aircraft and crew or because
According to Insider, a teen planned to ditch during his layover in Charlotte, instead of New York City, where his final leg of travel ended. His father told Insider that he has been barred from flying with American for three years because he intended to use a “skiplagging ticket,” when a gate agent noticed his North Carolina ID.
In 2021, American released a notice to travel agents that it would be monitoring bookings for this sort of behavior, according to SimpleFlying. There’s even a website called Skiplagged.com, which claims to “find flights the airlines don’t want you to see.” In 2015, a Chicago judge threw out a lawsuit from United Airlines against the website, according to CNN.
While it isn’t illegal to skiplag, the airlines can take further action against a passenger that tries to take advantage. Southwest Airlines’ contract of carriage states “purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares” as a prohibited booking practice. American’s conditions of carriage state sites the same language for a prohibited practice.
It also doesn’t work with round-trip tickets. Airlines usually cancel future legs of a trip if a passenger misses an earlier flight.
Airlines can ban or suspend customers from future flights if they discover the behavior.