Skiplagging is a sneaky travel hack that can save you hundreds on flights. However, it’s a risky way to get around the rules of most airlines.
If you’re not careful, you could end up angering an airline to the point they sue you for money back. Here’s how to avoid this from happening.
1. You can’t check a bag
Skiplagging, also known as hidden-city ticketing, is a technique that some people use to save on airfare. It involves booking a flight with a stopover at a different destination than the one you’re actually going to, and then disembarking in that city.
The practice isn’t illegal, but it does annoy airlines. That’s why United Airlines and Orbitz are suing Skiplagged, a startup that helps travelers find these cheaper “hidden city” fares.
When you book a flight on a hidden-city itinerary, you can’t check a bag. In addition, you won’t receive frequent flyer miles for the second leg of the trip.
That makes this method of saving money a lot more difficult than it might seem. And if you use this method too often, you may wind up in trouble with your airline, too. That could mean being banned from the airline or your frequent flyer program, or even losing your accumulated miles.
2. You can’t book a round trip
In recent years, travelers have flocked to a strategy called “skiplagging.” It’s where a passenger buys a ticket to a destination they want to visit, but ends up disembarking at a layover city along the way.
This is a cheaper fare than buying direct from A to B. It’s also cheaper than paying to fly from point A to point C and then getting off the plane in B.
However, the practice of skiplagging can be a headache for passengers. They can run into all sorts of problems from minor inconveniences to severe consequences like losing their frequent flyer account or all of their airline miles.
This is why many airlines are against the practice of skipping a leg on a round trip. They’re concerned that they’ll be unable to fill a physically empty seat on one flight, because it doesn’t match the rest of the itinerary.
3. You can’t get a refund
In 2013, a website called Skiplagged exploded in popularity by offering cheap flights by skipping the secondary legs of an itinerary. This practice is also known as “hidden-city ticketing.”
It’s easy to see why airlines hate skiplagged travelers: These people are essentially taking a seat that’s physically available on a flight. They’re doing it without the airline’s consent, which means that they’re breaching the contracts of carriage that many airlines have with their passengers.
Moreover, airlines have a lot of leverage over travelers who use these tactics, including their elite status, their hard-earned frequent flyer miles, and even their membership itself.
That’s why it’s important to be careful about your actions if you think you might be a skiplagger. Using this technique too often can lead to serious consequences, such as losing your frequent flyer points or being blacklisted from flying with the airline.
4. You can’t get a seat assignment
In order to save money, some passengers use a technique called “skiplagging,” which is a way of booking a ticket that takes you from point A to point B, with a stopover in point B. This way, you can save a lot of money on the trip by taking advantage of an airline’s pricing structure.
Despite this, it’s important to be aware of some repercussions for using skiplagging. Airlines may consider you a deceptive traveler and take disciplinary measures against you, including shutting down your mileage account and removing your frequent flyer miles or elite status.
This can cause you to lose a lot of money and even miss a flight that could have been yours. In addition, you could get sued or banned from an airline altogether.