If you’ve ever been desperate to cut down your travel costs, you might have stumbled across a concept known as ‘skiplagging’. It’s a controversial tactic some travellers use to get cheaper flights. While the idea may sound tempting, it also carries potential risks that could make you think twice.
What is Skiplagging?
Skiplagging, or ‘hidden city ticketing’, involves booking a flight with a layover at your actual destination, then simply not taking the final leg of the journey. The rationale behind it is that direct flights can often be more expensive than those with one or more stops, so travellers can sometimes save money by not completing their booked itinerary.
For instance, if you want to fly from City A to City B, but flights are expensive, you find a cheaper flight from City A to City C that has a layover in City B. You book the flight but disembark at City B and don’t take the connecting flight to City C.
How to Skiplag:
Skiplagging requires careful planning and usually only works for one-way trips, since airlines often cancel the return portion of a trip when a passenger misses a leg. There are even websites and apps designed to help travellers find these opportunities. The most famous of these is Skiplagged.com, which was sued unsuccessfully by United Airlines and Orbitz for promoting this practice.
The Risks of Skiplagging:
While skiplagging might save you some cash, it’s essential to understand the potential risks involved:
- Airline Policies: Airlines generally frown upon skiplagging because it disrupts their ability to manage passenger loads and revenue. If you’re caught, they might penalize you by voiding the rest of your ticket, removing your frequent flyer points, or even banning you from the airline.
- Baggage: If you check bags, they’ll usually be sent to the final destination on your ticket, so skiplagging only works if you travel with carry-on luggage.
- No Show: If the first leg of your trip is cancelled or significantly delayed, causing you to miss your connection, the airline will usually rebook you on the next direct flight to your final destination, bypassing your intended stopover city.
- Legal Consequences: While not technically illegal, skiplagging is a breach of most airlines’ contract of carriage, which could potentially lead to legal consequences.
- Ethics: Some argue that skiplagging is unethical, as it can contribute to higher fares for everyone and may eventually lead to airlines reducing flights to specific cities, affecting those who rely on those routes.
In conclusion, while skiplagging may seem like an attractive option for scoring cheaper flights, it’s essential to weigh the benefits against the potential risks and complications. It’s always recommended to stay within the rules set by airlines to ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience. Safe travels!
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