What is Skiplagging and why is it usually prohibited?

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Hunter Parsons, a 17-year-old boy from Charlotte, is warned at Gainesville Regional Airport in Florida by agents of the airline he is flying on. “Why is he flying to New York if his hometown is Charlotte?” We imagine that good old Hunter would be left white and speechless: they had hunted himI was trying to do skiplagging.

This is a ruse applied in the purchase of flights whose objective is pay less money taking advantage of the twists and turns of airlines’ often convoluted strategies to get the most out of their business. Or, put another way: if you charge me abusive prices to fly to certain destinations, I try to tickle your fancy. Let’s see who wins. But this “contest”, like any other, has its risks. Especially when you face very powerful multinationals. We tell you.

‘Skiplagging’: he who doesn’t run, flies

Source: Unsplash/Lufti Gaos

Perhaps in the not-too-distant future only a select few will be able to travel beyond their neighborhood. But, in the meantime, the Parsons family decided that they wanted to keep trying to get out of Charlotte, North Carolina (United States) from time to time. And they discovered the skiplagging, flights with hidden city.

It consists of looking for flights with a stopover, as many of us have been forced to do out of obligation on numerous occasions. But the trick lies in rule out final destination, leaving only the stopover, the traveler’s true destination. Why so much complication? To pay less money, of course.

And that’s how Hunter searched from Florida for a flight to New York with a stopover in Charlotte. But he had no intention of seeing the Statue of Liberty or walking through Central Park, what he wanted was to return home to his family in Charlotte.

What is surprising for the uninitiated in the arts of skiplagging is that if Hunter books a direct flight from Florida to Charlotte it will be more expensive (about 300 dollars more) than if you book one to New York with a stopover in Charlotte. But how is it possible? If there are two flights instead of one and the carbon footprint is much larger?

Here the unintelligible world of airlines and their commercial strategiesin addition to the official regulations that stipulate the number of flights that can take off from an airport that include the distribution of slots: These are the administrative authorizations for entry or exit within an established schedule and which caused so many problems during the pandemic, which meant that airlines had to launch empty flights to maintain positions at large airports.

Skiplagging
Example of ‘skiplagging’ according to the website skiplagged.com

And all this has a lot to do with the suspicion that these airlines have regarding the skiplagging: they do not want, in any way, empty seats because that’s a waste of money, especially if another customer can pay and take that seat that’s left free because guys like Hunter are giving them the cold shoulder.

So, if, for example, you want to travel to Paris to take the Balenciaga route but it is very expensive, you can always try to find a flight with a stopover in Paris and an undefined destination and maybe you will find something cheaper. When you arrive in Paris, you leave the airport saving a few euros. Now, it can happen to you like Hunter, that someone says to you: “Excuse me, You weren’t going to Helsinki?”, while you try to hide your Paris guide as best you can.

The risks of ‘skiplagging’

Woman in airport
Woman at the airport/Photo: Pixabay

Surely you have never read to the end the set of rules that a plane ticket includes. As you know, companies love each other save your back in the event of any situation that affects both the security and profitability of your business and all of this is stipulated in the fine print of the tickets.

Among its more or less unusual rules is the fact that an airline can permanently veto, like those bars where you could no longer enter at night due to events that you couldn’t remember. But surely in this case you will remember that you tried to deceive the company by flying to Paris by doing skiplagging.

Of course, being hunted like Hunter is a small possibility, but it exists, especially if you do the same thing repeatedly using the same company and the same route. According to the boy himself declaredAmerican Airlines announced a three-year ban.

Likewise, companies can also take legal action against you if you fail to comply with any of the rules that you yourself agree to comply with when you purchase a ticket. And that is important to keep in mind, beyond the more or less justified deceptions: when you purchase a ticket, you sign a kind of “contract” with the company and its rules. If you fail to comply, you must assume the consequences, or assume that perhaps it will be your turn. look for a lawyer.

But beyond these remote possibilities, the skiplagging It also requires a series of precautions from the traveler, especially with the suitcase: you can’t bill it because it will end up in Helsinki instead of Paris. Don’t forget that the suitcases go to the final destination, not getting off on the scale that the passenger does.

Likewise, it is not a valid strategy for a round-trip flight since the return flight would be canceled if you do not make full use of the outbound flight. Therefore, generally, experts in skiplagging They apply it on one-way flights to (try) back home…like Hunter.

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