You’re Going to Get Caught Skiplagging, and It’s Not Going to Be Pretty
With the rising costs of fuel and labor paired with unprecedented inflation, flight ticket prices this summer have become nothing short of astronomical. That’s why people planning to vacation right now are looking for any way to save money on air travel. A tactic that’s become popular over the last few years for saving on airfare is the practice of “skiplagging”—when you book an itinerary where the stopover is actually the true and intended destination of the traveler. The idea is that you’re able to find a cheaper connecting flight with a middle point of your true destination than if you were to just fly to that city directly. It’s a clever idea; but unfortunately, it’s not a good one.
To understand skiplagging, you need to understand the most popular purveyor of this practice, the website Skiplagged. Founded in 2013, the website boasts the opportunity to save over $100 on flights using their practice. It also found itself in immediate hot water, facing lawsuits from United Airlines and Orbitz who were both unhappy with the practice—but the lawsuits were dismissed and the website was allowed to carry on.
Even though the airlines didn’t win their legal battle, though, they still have the capability to punish those who engage in skiplagging. United Airlines will fine passengers who repeatedly partake in practice. American Airlines reportedly sent a passenger a $2,500 bill in relation to the identification of 52 cases of skiplagging. The former even went so far as to threaten to use an external debt collector agency, which at best will cause you a huge headache, and at worst will negatively affect your credit. Additionally, passengers could face a possible ban from the airline if they’ve deemed the practice to be against their contract of carriage.
I’m a firm believer in going the unconventional route to save money, but only if that route is in service of saving a few bucks while also not making your life more difficult. Skip on skiplagging for now. Instead, save money by flying on an airline that will let you use wifi for free or let you change your flight without an extra charge.