What Does Skiplagging Mean When Traveling?

With the rising cost of fuel prices around the world, chances are you've noticed that the price of airline tickets has increased dramatically as well. According to The New York Times, travelers are ready to pay for the higher airfare, despite the influx in pricing. With so many travel hacks out there, getting a cheap deal on traveling to your holiday destination is not so far out of reach. However, are these booking hack techniques ethical, and can they get you into trouble?

Let's take a look at one very popular booking trick called skiplagging, and why airlines hate this method so much that they're cracking down on passengers who attempt to skiplag their way to their actual destination, as reported by the BBC.

First, we should note that this method has a couple of different terms that may seem a bit more familiar: Throwaway or hidden-city ticketing as told by Business Insider, has now been rebranded to skiplagging, thanks to the very popular website Skiplagged, and their desire to save you money on expensive airline tickets.

The pros and cons of skiplagging

If you've never heard of the term skiplagging before, what it is may come as a surprise to you. Travelers wanting to fly from one destination to another notice that the airfare for their desired flight is extremely expensive. They will then opt for purchasing a much more affordable airline ticket that has a layover in the actual city they want to end up in, then forego arriving in the actual, final destination city designated on their ticket, by getting off the plane during the layover.

As an example: You want to fly from New York City to Atlanta, but your airline ticket will cost you roughly $700. You then see a flight option departing The Big Apple, with a layover in Atlanta, and the final destination being Miami, Florida. The cost of that ticket is just under $500. Instead of flying into Miami, you get off the plane in Atlanta, and you've saved yourself approximately $200 doing it. But does that hack come at a cost?

According to NerdWallet, there are downsides and consequences to skiplagging, such as not being able to check any bags or buy round-trip airline tickets. And, forget using your frequent flyer number to book the flight. In fact, using your frequent flyer number can cause the airline company to revoke and shut down your mileage account if you're caught.

In the end, it's still legal

While skiplagging is not an illegal act, it comes with a risk that one may want to consider before hopping on the travel hacking train. Airline companies such as American Airlines, are cracking down on passengers and even warning travel agents to step up and discourage this booking hack. Some airlines, such as Lufthansa, will go so far as threatening to sue their passengers caught in the act, per CNN.

Currently, there is no legislative law in place for skiplagging offenders. If anything, it's an ethical and personal decision travelers have to make for themselves, by outweighing both the positive and negative sides to this ever-growing strategy to book cheaper flights. Should one find themselves caught in the act, the airline company can make it very difficult for that person to fly again. The choice is ultimately yours to make until at such time this legal hack of purchasing airline tickets at a cheaper price becomes officially illegal.