Teen's airfare trip goes awry: American Airlines foils 'skiplagging' attempt
Teenager's "skiplagging" plan backfires with American Airlines. Booking a layover flight and skipping the final leg leads to canceled ticket and stranded teen.
A 17-year-old boy's attempt to save on airfare turned into a ticketing nightmare after American Airlines discovered he was planning to "skiplag," a practice that violates the airline's conditions of carriage. Skiplagging, also known as "hidden city" or "throwaway ticketing," involves booking a ticket with a layover and intentionally skipping the final leg of the journey to save money.
The teenager, flying alone from Gainesville, Florida, to New York City, had his parents arrange for him to deplane during the layover in Charlotte, where he resides with his family. Unaware of the airline's policy against skiplagging, the young traveler faced a challenging situation.
Teen did not know skiplagging was banned by American Airlines
His mother, Lisa Parsons, said her kid had no knowledge of the practice being frowned upon by American Airlines. "My kid was easily intimidated as it was his first time flying alone. He didn't think that it was something that was frowned upon," she explained.
Upon reaching the check-in area, the teenager was confronted by several American Airlines employees, and his boarding pass was withheld. His ticket was immediately canceled by the airline, and he was left stranded at the airport with no alternative flight offered.
"They basically left him to sit at the airport for a while. Several flights left for Charlotte, but they didn't offer him an opportunity to get on any of these flights," Parsons shared. Consequently, she had to purchase a new direct ticket, costing over $400, for her son to reach Charlotte.
American Airlines has been explicit about its disapproval of skiplagging, as it exploits and circumvents ticket fares. According to the airline's conditions of carriage, purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to secure lower fares is prohibited.
Parsons admitted to using Skiplagged, a controversial website that reveals hidden city tickets, to find cheaper flights in the past. However, she stressed that their intention was not to cheat the airline but to find affordable and convenient travel options. The Parsons family, she added, had taken only three flights in a decade and had never skipped any of them before.
American Airlines had previously warned passengers about cracking down on skiplagging. In recent years, they have taken action against others attempting to employ the cost-saving strategy, removing frequent-flyer program status and even billing individuals for the practice.