Using Skiplagged Flights to Save Money | What Is Skiplagging & Is It Worth the Risk?

Hey everyone, how’s it going? Hope you all
are doing well. It’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In this video, we’re going to be
exploring the topic of skiplagging flights, which is booking a connecting
flight with the intention of skipping the final leg. We’ll discuss the risks
and share some tips to keep in mind. (light chiming music) A couple weeks ago I asked on my community
tab whether any of you have ever skiplagged a flight. Less than 10% of you
responded that you’ve done it, but over half of you responded that you’ve never
even heard of it. So today, I want to talk about an air travel technique known as
skiplagging. It’s recently received a lot of press due to some airlines
cracking down on passengers, so I thought it was relevant. Plus, we recently booked
some flights that may require us to skiplag them unintentionally, so I wanted to
share my personal experience. Before we get started, if you’re new here, welcome
to our channel. Trip Astute is a travel channel that is focused on sharing ways
to make travel easier, affordable, and more enjoyable. Traveling can be
stressful and expensive, so we’re looking for ways to help you maximize your
experience through travel tips, points and miles, and innovative gear. If that
sounds interesting to you, please consider subscribing. Skiplagging is
essentially booking a connecting flight with the intention of missing the final
leg of the flight plan. You might be asking why would anyone want to do this.
Well, it’s usually due to cost. Sometimes you’ll find flights that connect through
your destination that are cheaper than simply booking a flight to that
destination. It’s a bit annoying since it really doesn’t make any sense that a
longer flight will be cheaper, but that’s why some savvy travelers will use skiplagging in order to get a cheaper flight, even though they essentially are
abandoning and not using the final leg of their flight plan. For example, suppose
you were to fly business class from Los Angeles in New York. If I were to look up
direct flights this week on Delta, you would see that the cheapest flight that
I could find is around $1,600. Pretty pricey! However, if I were to create a
flight that stops in New York but then continues to San Juan, Puerto Rico, you
would only pay $610 for the same flight. You can see why someone might
purchase this flight with the intention of skipping the final flight to San Juan
in order to get the lower price. The airlines hate it when people skiplag,
and rightfully so. Airlines will often try to keep the gate open as long as
possible if they think passengers are trying to connect. This means a waste of
time and effort by the airlines. I imagine
that it might cause confusion in their systems to have passengers who miss a
flight as they probably assume that those passengers will still need to get
to their final destination. There’s also the ethical implications. I know that it
bothers me that I might be causing a plane to leave late because they’re
keeping the gate open for my arrival. I have this image of them calling my name
over and over in the airport, and it’s not a good feeling to know that I’m
wasting other people’s time. I hate it when people waste my time, so I can only
imagine how gate agents would feel, as well as passengers who are sitting in
the plane waiting for their departure. On the flipside, it’s frustrating that the
pricing for nonstop flights can be so expensive, and the fact that a lot of
flights are overbooked makes a lot of people feel unsympathetic toward the
airlines. Regardless of how you feel about the airlines, there have been a lot
of stories lately of the airlines cracking down on passengers that skiplag.
Specifically, United and Lufthansa have been in the news for suing passengers
that were caught skiplagging. However, I did some digging into the stories and I
found that the passengers who were sued were regular skiplaggers, which means
that the airline had a record of them doing it many times in the past. To be
honest, I was a bit nervous when I read the article since we booked a Delta
flight from Burbank, California to Glacier Park International Airport in
Montana that stopped in Salt Lake City. We decided later on to change the
starting location of our trip to Salt Lake City,
so skiplagging was one of the options since we didn’t want to pay the
cancellation fee. Ironically, we called Delta last weekend to discuss the
situation. We told them that we needed to go to Salt Lake City instead of Glacier
Park, and that we would like to cancel the last leg of our flight. Delta said
that they would need to charge us $150 per ticket to make the change. We
asked if they could waive the fee, especially since we were essentially
giving them the ability to earn more revenue by booking the seats to other
passengers on the final leg of our trip. After going back and forth on the fee,
the representative told us and it might be better for us to skip the last flight.
Yeah, the Delta rep advised us to skiplag. So it’s a tough call. I don’t recommend
anyone doing it if you can avoid it since it’s generally against the terms
and conditions of the airlines. However, I also don’t know how an airline can
enforce the rule unless you’re someone who has a pattern of doing it. For
example, there might be legitimate reasons why someone might skip a flight.
Maybe you feel sick. Maybe there’s an emergency that requires you to fly back
home. Or a work situation that causes you to
miss a connection or redirect or travel to another location. I don’t think it’s a
good long-term strategy for travelers. Since the airline’s track your flight
history, it makes sense that they are cracking down on people who they can
argue are intentionally doing it and abusing the system. Now that I’ve told
you the risk and recommended that you avoid skiplagging, I should mention
that there is a website dedicated to help you find flights that take
advantage of this loophole. It’s called, and it’s
basically a flight search engine that looks for flights with connections as a
final destination that might be cheaper than non-stop flights. The company has
been sued by United and Orbitz, but has managed to survive. From what I’ve read,
they’ve won based on a technicality since the company is based in New York
and the lawsuit was filed in Chicago. I’m guessing this won’t be the last legal
challenge that they face, so be careful if you intend to use the site to book a
connecting flight with the intention of skiplagging. If you decide you need or
want to skiplag a flight, here are a couple things that you should keep in
mind. Number 1: Avoid multi-city round-trip flights. If you don’t complete
your flight plan, than the rest of your reservation is usually canceled. This is
important if you book your return flight on the same reservation. Just know that
the default for the airlines is to cancel your reservation if you don’t
complete it. So if you need to book a flight home, you’ll want to do it on a
separate one-way reservation. Number 2: Don’t expect award miles. Like number 1,
cancelling your flight plan can cause you to lose miles on the entire
itinerary. It’s not a definite outcome that you won’t get miles for at least
the portion that you traveled, but it seems like folks online have mixed
experiences when it comes to getting their loyalty miles. Number 3: Avoid
check-in baggage. This one is probably obvious, but you definitely do not want
to have to check-in a bag if you’re planning to skiplag. This is because
your bag will likely get transferred automatically and end up at the final
destination of your travel itinerary. Also, I recommend keeping your carry-on
bag small, preferably small enough to fit underneath your seat. The reason being is
that sometimes the overhead bins get full and the airlines will force you to gate check your bag. Keeping your carry-on bag small reduces
the risk of that situation since you can fit it underneath the seat if
necessary. Number 4: Don’t tell the airlines that you intend to skip the
final flight. While we broke this rule, I generally don’t recommend that you
disclose that you plan to skip a flight. From my experience, the
airlines will not try to accommodate your situation, so it’s probably better
to do it without telling them. Number 5: Monitor any flight changes. I’ve had
situations where my connection changed, especially when I booked the tickets so
far in advance. The flight was still going to go to the final destination, but
the connection point was different due to a flight cancellation. If this happens
on a skiplag flight, I recommend that you request a refund for the flight, if
it’s possible. It doesn’t happen often, but it is a risk you take if you are
skiplagging. Number 6: Scheduled flights with a long stopover. Similar to
the previous tip, having a longer stopover reduces the risk that your
entire flight plan will change. The airline will likely try to get you to
your stopover location, so it means one less flight that they have to adjust in
the event of a flight cancellation or rebooking. Number 7: Avoid skiplagging international flights. Since airlines are usually required to verify
whether a passenger has a valid visa before checking in or boarding an
international flight, it can cause all kinds of issues if you plan to miss your
final leg. I suppose you could get a visa for both destinations if it’s necessary,
but it does seem a bit risky. I personally wouldn’t do it, especially
since I wouldn’t want to have to answer questions from customs and immigration
officials if they somehow investigated my original flight plan and notice that
I skipped it. Some countries are sensitive about onward travel plans as well, so
you want to be especially careful about showing your intention to leave the
country. Though in my head, if an official were to find out that you broke your
arrival flight plan, I would worry that they might suspect that I might do the
same with my departure. Just something to consider if you plan to go this route.
Number 8: Don’t overdo it. As I mentioned earlier, those have gotten in
trouble with the airline are folks that have a habit of missing their
flights. That data is trackable and it’s not worth being flagged by the airlines.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it came up during a Global Entry interview as well
as a potential issue during a background check. At the end of the day, I think that
skiplagging presents a lot of risks for travelers. There are a lot of
logistical issues that can come up. Whether it’s flight changes, visas, or
baggage, I think the risk that your trip could be completely derailed is much
higher when skiplagging. There’s also a risk of losing your points because the
airlines crack down on you and close your account. For those of us in the
points and miles hobby, especially those of you with a lot of airline miles
and status, this could be especially painful and devastating. Of course, I wish
the airlines would make more effort to price their flights in a way that
doesn’t encourage people to have to use this method to save money. The source of
the issue is the pricing of the tickets, so I think it’s in their interest to
find ways to make pricing more reasonable and competitive to discourage
people from having to search for alternative bookings. What do you all
think of skiplagging? Have you ever done it? Please let us know in the comments
section below. If you enjoyed this video or found it useful, please give us a
thumbs up and consider sharing our video with others who might benefit from our
content. It really helps us with growing our channel and our community. Until next
time, travel safe and travel smart.

21 Replies to “Using Skiplagged Flights to Save Money | What Is Skiplagging & Is It Worth the Risk?”

  1. Masoom Patel says:

    I've heard of it, but I've never done it. I'm typically looking for cheap flights and any savings on those is so minor that its not worth the risks or hassle of having to avoid a checked bag. Even for the more expensive flights that have larger savings, the end price is still something I'd rather not pay.

  2. Sarah says:

    i don't feel sorry for the airlines at all!

  3. Trip Astute says:

    Have you ever skiplagged a flight? Let me know if you think it's worth the risk. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. se7en Zee says:

    This is too risky as Airlines might try to sue you. Plus if you miss one leg, all other legs will be canceled. So I wouldn't do it.

  5. What Name says:

    I think thatโ€™s the airlines fault for pricing the tickets that way.

  6. Davish Lamburnt says:

    Thanks for all the info. You mentioned some things I wouldn't have thought of. I haven't heard of people doing this in a long time.

  7. ron623tt says:

    Can you do a report on what Credit cards get you early access to Rock Concerts?

  8. Sizzlemann says:

    If airlines would properly price their flights, then this wouldn't happen. Until then, I've done it twice and will continue to do it until they pull their heads out of their a%&^s! If you plan on doing it, don't use your frequent flier number (if you have one).

  9. Thirsty Lion says:

    Hi Ernest, from your experience do you find that this method is cheaper for award flights booked with miles, or only paid flights?

  10. Noto Sure says:

    America is supposed to be a free market. I say let the market forces decide, not the airlines.
    It's also creepy to think the airlines have legal rights in this matter.

  11. jalabi99 says:

    I hear that if you ever did want to use skiplagging, make sure that you complete your Global Entry interview and get your KTN before you do.

    Like I said, it's something I heard somewhere from someone some time… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Rapunzel 1701 says:

    This is also widely called Hidden City Ticketing.

  13. Chunda Zeng says:

    A lot of airlines donโ€™t charge extra for extended layover. To do that online, just book a multi city trip. Of course, you do have to physically show up at your unintended destination

  14. C.J. says:

    I did this three times last year. Worked like a charm. A flight attendant friend said the airlines overbook flights so often that this saves them in vouchers. Kind of makes sense.

  15. Global Adventurer says:

    Some international airlines charge about $300 for no shows. I assume they debit the credit card you used at booking.

  16. Mike Jacobsen says:

    These are some good logical tips that I would not have considered

  17. Rasta Zorastra says:

    What happens if you "skiplag" but chill at the airport for a bit. Once your flight leaves go up to counter and be like fuck I lost track of time. They'll try to book you another flight. You'll say you need to make a call. Walk away?

  18. AtlantaAngel84 says:

    This seems very risky.

  19. โ€”- says:

    I highly doubt you will lose a lawsuit for skipping a flight. You already paid for the flight itโ€™s your choice if you donโ€™t want to get on the plane. They are just trying to scare people.

  20. Andrew Oshiro says:

    I will never understand why this bothered the airlines. If they normally overbook crowded flights anyway they should be happy when passengers donโ€™t show up.

  21. Fanima Dekoi says:

    I'm tempted. Round trip from Dulles to Tokyo on United 803 is $1400. But Dulles to Bangkok, via Tokyo, (flying on the same exact plane on the first leg) , is usually half of that. The Tokyo leg is 14 hours and the Bangkok leg is another 7, so it's crazy that you pay half as much for 150% of the air miles. I've been on both legs twice, and they're both nice 777 flights with multiple meal services, but if you would skip the second leg, yeah you can do Tokyo for half the fare. Neither country will stop you from entering unannounced at the airport, (unlike some other countries that require advanced visa approval cough:Vietnam:cough)

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