Finding travel hacks for cheaper airfare, whether it’s flying at off-peak times or using a budget travel company, can take a lot of work (but are usually worth it).
Some workarounds, however, actually aren’t legal — as one teenager traveling on American Airlines found out the hard way when his ticket was canceled due to “skiplagging.”
Skiplagging is when a passenger books a flight with a connection but instead of getting off at the final destination, they purposely miss the connecting flight — to make that their final destination. Travelers will do this when a flight with a connection (their intended destination) is cheaper than a direct flight.
This is what teenager Logan Parsons did — he was traveling from Gainesville, Florida to New York City and planned to “skip lag” in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was his intended destination all along.
The teen was taken into an interrogation room after the gate agent in Gainesville became suspicious of Parsons after seeing his North Carolina driver’s license. The teen then admitted that he never intended to board the second flight and ultimately had his ticket canceled.
“I think a stern warning, hey this is frowned upon, if you do it again there would be consequences, financial penalties,” the teen’s father Hunter Parsons told local outlet Queen City News, adding that it was the teen’s first time traveling alone on a plane. “But to put a minor in that situation was really the reason we have a concern.”
The teen’s father also told the outlet that his family does this often using Skip Lagged, a website that highlights less expensive flights with layovers.
“We’ve used Skiplagged almost exclusively for the last five to eight years,” Parsons said.
In a statement to the same outlet, American Airlines confirmed the incident and doubled down on the decision to cancel Parsons’s ticket.
“Purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares (hidden city ticketing) is a violation of American Airlines terms and conditions and is outlined in our Conditions of Carriage online,” the airline wrote. “Our Customer Relations team has been in touch with the customer to learn more about their experience.”
Using Skip Lagged has gained mass popularity on TikTok and garnered hundreds of thousands of views, with some creators warning flyers to skip the site.
@chasingcloudswchesney Replying to @pressed4lulu if good flight deals is what you are looking for follow this page #flighthacks #skiplagged #flightdeals #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Chesney
@jareenimam #stitch with @cassiesadventure airlines are actively looking for these passengers @jareenimam #FindYourEdge #travelbudgethacks #moneymoves2022 #airlinetraveltips #travelstories? ♬ original sound – Jareen Imam
@zachary.fox.luke #stitch with @cassiesadventure Thankfully I was not banned, but all airlines are cracking down HARD on Skiplagging now. Don’t use it anymore, y’all. #skiplagged #americanairlines #flights #flighthorrorstories ♬ original sound – Zachary Fox Luke
American’s Conditions of Carriages lists “hidden city ticketing” under its prohibited practices, clarifying the term as “purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares.”
American Airlines did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.