What is Skiplagging and Why is American Airlines Filing a Lawsuit?
With flights becoming increasingly expensive, it’s no wonder that many people are continually searching for ways to find affordable flights. The cost of airfare can quickly add up, making it one of the most expensive aspects of travel. As a result, many travelers are looking for the best deals on flights. Some have even resorted to unconventional booking strategies like hidden-city ticketing or “skiplagging” to save money. However, these tactics have caught the attention of airlines, and they are cracking down on them to prevent travelers from exploiting their pricing models.
Hidden-city ticketing, or “skiplagging,” is an unconventional booking strategy where travelers can save money by booking a trip with a layover in the city they actually want to visit. Then, instead of taking the second flight, they leave the airport with their carry-on bag. It’s worth mentioning that this strategy won’t work with checked luggage as those would be routed to your final destination.
American Airlines has taken action against “skiplagging,” a popular airfare-saving tactic some travelers use. In August, the airline filed a lawsuit in federal court against Skiplagged, a company that helps customers buy tickets using “hidden-city booking.” This strategy involves searching for flights with layovers in the passenger’s desired final destination so that passengers can book cheaper fares by skipping the second leg of their trip. American Airlines accused Skiplagged of using “unauthorized and deceptive ticketing practices” to sell its tickets to customers illegally.
Teenager banned by airline for 3 years
A few weeks later, the airline made national headlines when it caught a teenager attempting to use the same tactic. The airline made the teen purchase a new direct flight and reportedly banned him for three years.
The problem with hidden-city ticketing is not that you can get into legal trouble but that it violates the airline’s policies. American Airlines’ conditions prohibit “purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares (hidden city ticketing).” Most other major U.S. airlines have similar restrictions in place.
Suppose American Airlines catches travelers using prohibited practices like hidden-city booking. In that case, it warns of several steps it may take, including canceling the ticket, refusing to let the passenger fly, charging the customer for what the ticket would have cost if they “hadn’t booked it fraudulently,” and even banning the customer from flying with the airline temporarily or permanently.