Skiplagging -Smart Travel Move or Risky Practice?

Skiplagging is a term we’re hearing everywhere right now.  It’s popping up in news reports, podcasts, and blogs.  But what does it mean?  And why is it so controversial?  We’ll dig into skiplagging and let you decide if it’s a smart move or a risky practice!

What is Skiplagging?

Skiplagging, also called hidden city ticketing, is the practice of booking a flight with a layover in the city a traveler actually wants to visit.  Then the traveler skips out on the second leg of the trip and stays put.


Why Are Travelers Doing It?

It’s no secret that travel costs are on the rise.  Fuel and labor costs have increased exponentially, and inflation continues to skyrocket.  Combine these challenges with a surge in demand and it’s no wonder travelers are looking for ways to save a buck.

As a result, “skiplagging” has become a popular way to save money on airfare.  The idea is that you can book a cheaper flight with a connection in the middle – and the point of connection is your true destination.


For example, Business Insider recently reported that a KLM flight between New York and Amsterdam in late June is about $2,850. A flight between New York and London City via Amsterdam is $2,150. A passenger could avoid the final segment to London City and get a better deal, but KLM wouldn’t be too pleased with the empty seat.

Many travelers have saved a significant amount of cash with this sneaky tactic, although not without risks.

Is Skiplagging Worth It?

While the financial benefits are undeniable, you still might question whether skiplagging is worth it.

For example, you can’t skiplag if you check a bag.  All luggage is tagged to its final destination.  If you check a bag and don’t check in for flight number two, your bag will be off-loaded, and you’ll be in a heap of trouble.

You can also only book one way.  The airline will likely cancel your return ticket when they realize you did not complete the last legs of your air travel.

And what happens if your flight is canceled or rerouted? You will almost certainly end up with added expenses and a really big headache!

flight delay

What are the Consequences?

Because this practice… let’s just say ‘lacks integrity,’ it doesn’t mean it’s illegal. In fact, several airlines have filed lawsuits against websites that exist exclusively to promote skiplagging.  Skipping out on the end of a journey costs them a paying customer – they can’t fill a seat if someone is supposed to be in it!

While the suits were dismissed, airlines maintain the right to punish those who book flights using these questionable tactics.

To that end, some have developed software that helps detect skiplagging and have established consequences for those who engage in it.  These may include:

  • Hefty fines
  • External debt collection
  • Deleted frequent flyer accounts, status levels, and other loyalty program rewards
  • Airline ban

So… Smart Move or Risky Practice?

That’s up to you!  If you’re willing to travel lightly one-way and face unforeseen challenges that may result in added fees or unexpected consequences, maybe.

But as a traveler who has worked hard to elevate my status and appreciates those coveted upgrades, it’s a no-brainer.  It’s just too risky!

air travel

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