The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked on my YouTube Community tab whether any of you have ever “
What is skiplagging?
Skiplagging is booking a connecting flight with the intention of missing the final leg of the flight plan. It’s possible to find flights that connect to your destination that are cheaper than non-stop flights to that location. It’s confusing that a longer and more complex flight itinerary would be cheaper. However, this has prompted some savvy travelers to use skiplagging to find cheap flights.
For example, suppose you want to fly business class from Los Angeles to New York. If I look up direct flights on Delta, the cheapest flight is around $1,600. However, if I were to create a flight plan that stops in New York en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, the cost is $610 for the same flight. You can see why someone might purchase this flight with the intention of skipping the final leg to San Juan in order to get the lower price.
The airlines hate it!
The airlines hate it when people
The ethical implications
In addition to logistical issues, there are ethical implications. It disturbs me to think that I’m causing a plane to leave late because the gate is being kept open for my arrival. The thought of the agents calling my name over and over again in the airport makes me cringe. Maybe I’m overthinking it! I hate it when people waste my time, so I can only imagine how the gate agents must feel when people skip flights. And I don’t even want to think about the passengers sitting in
On the flip side, it’s frustrating that the pricing for non-stop flights can be so expensive. Also, the fact that many flights are overbooked makes a lot of people feel unsympathetic toward the airlines.
Skiplagging has been in the news
Regardless of how you feel about the airlines, there are many articles reporting that airlines are cracking down on passengers that
Our recent experience with Delta
I was a bit nervous when I read these article. We booked a Delta flight from Burbank, California to Glacier Park International Airport, Montana, that stopped in Salt Lake City. A few weeks later, we decided to change the starting location of our upcoming road trip to Salt Lake City. We knew we had to either change our flights, cancel, or skiplag.
To avoid confusion, we called Delta to discuss the situation. We told them 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 it was $150 per ticket to make the change (i.e., $300 total). We asked if they would waive the fee, especially since we were giving them the opportunity to earn more revenue by selling the seats to other passengers. After some negotiation, the representative advised us to skip the last flight. Yes, we were told to skiplag!
Is it worth the risk?
I don’t recommend
Though it’s not a good long term strategy for travelers. Since the airlines track your flight history, it makes sense that they are cracking down on repeat offenders that intentionally abuse the system and process.
Wait … there are tools for skiplagging?
Now that I’ve explained the risks and recommended that you avoid
The company has been sued by United and Orbitz. From what I’ve read, the case was dropped based on a technicality since the company is based in New York and the lawsuit was filed in Chicago. I’m guessing it won’t be the last legal challenge that they’ll face, so be careful if you use this site to book a connecting flight with the intention of
Additional tips and considerations
If you decide that you need or want to skiplag a flight, here are a couple of things that you should keep in mind.
1. Avoid multi-city roundtrip flights:
If you don’t complete your flight plan, then the rest of your reservation is usually canceled. This is important if you booked your return flight on the same reservation. Just know that the default action for airlines is to cancel your reservation if you don’t complete your trip. If you need to book a flight home, you’ll want to do it on a separate one-way reservation.
2. Don’t expect award miles:
Like tip #1, canceling your flight plan can cause you to lose earned miles on the entire itinerary. Folks online have reported mixed experiences when it comes to getting loyalty miles for their skiplagged flights.
3. Avoid check-in baggage:
This is probably obvious, but you do NOT want to check-in a bag if you’re planning to
I recommend keeping your carry-on bag small. You’ll want it small enough to fit underneath your seat. Since the overhead bins quickly fill up, the airlines will often force passengers to gate check their carry-on bag. Keeping your carry-on bag small reduces the risk of a gate check since you can fit it underneath the front seat if necessary.
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 your plan to skip a flight. From my experience, the airlines will NOT accommodate your situation. It’s better to do it without telling them.
5. Monitor any flight changes:
I’ve had situations where my connection changed, especially when I booked the ticket far in advance. The flight was still going to the final destination, but the connection point was different due to a flight cancellation or change in route.
If this happens on a
6. Schedule flights with a long stopover:
Similar to the previous tip, having a long stopover reduces the risk that your entire flight plan will change. The airline will try to get you to your stopover location since it means one less flight that they have to adjust in the event of a flight cancellation and rebooking.
skiplagging international flights:
Airlines are usually required to verify whether a passenger has a valid visa before checking in or boarding an international flight. This can cause all kinds of issues if you intend to skip a flight. I suppose you could get visas for both your planned and actual destination if necessary. Though it does seem risky. I personally wouldn’t do it, especially since I wouldn’t want to have to answer questions from customs and immigration officials. It would be especially awkward if they noticed that I skipped an earlier flight.
Some countries are also sensitive about onward travel plans. You’ll want to be careful about proving your intention to leave the country. If an official finds out that you broke your arrival flight plan, they’ll likely suspect that you’ll do the same with your departure.
8. Don’t overdo it:
As I mentioned earlier, those that have gotten in trouble with the airlines had 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 also came up during a Global Entry interview as a potential red flag during a background check.
I believe that
There’s also the 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, and especially for those of you with a lot of airline miles and status, that could be
Ultimately, I wish the airlines would make more effort to price their routes reasonably and competitively. This would discourage people to use this method to save money. The source of the issue has always been the pricing of the tickets. Addressing it seems like a better solution
What do you think of skiplagging? Have you ever done it? Please let us know in the comment section below.