Finding Cheap Flights Using Skiplagged - Pro's & Con's Of "Hidden City Fares"

Skiplagged is a company that offers a controversial but effective travel hacking method to get cheap flights known as "hidden city fares". We're going to teach you how this airfare travel hack works, and the pro's and con's of "Hidden City Fares".

Finding Cheap Flights Using Skiplagged - Pro's & Con's Of "Hidden City Fares"

What Is Skiplagged Hidden City Fares?

What Are Hidden City Fares?
I Love Cheap Flights
Finding affordable flights is a challenge that many travelers face, and among the myriad of travel tips and tricks available, Skiplagged has emerged as a popular choice for those who love seeking new ways of travel hacking to save money on airfare in any possible way they can, even if that means breaking the rules.

In this article, we're going to teach you what Skiplagged is and what you need to know before ever using their services to find what is known as "Hidden City Fares" and if stumble upon their website. So without wasting anymore time, let's dive into the pro's and con's of "Hidden City Fares", and what you need to know before booking with Skiplagged.

How Does Skiplagged Work?

Skiplagged is an innovative flight search engine that utilizes a technique called "hidden city ticketing" or "hidden city fares" to help travelers find cheaper airfare.

Hidden city ticketing involves booking a flight to anywhere that has a connection that is actually located in your desired final destination. This means that you intentionally miss your connection because when getting off your first flight, you are actually in the city you wanted to have as your final destination.

Confused? Let us give you a real time example so that you can clearly understand what we are saying.

Let's pretend you are in New York City, and your desired destination is Phoenix. So you go online and look for flights from New York to Phoenix and the price is $450. However, there is also a flight from New York to San Diego that has a connection in Phoenix, and that flight just so happens to be $250.

One would book the second flight, and intentionally miss your connection after arriving into Phoenix as it was your desired location to begin with.

Finding Cheap Flights Using Skiplagged
Oops, I lost track of the time and missed by connection - Guess I'll just stay here :)

This approach can result in significant savings because airlines often price multi-leg flights much cheaper than direct flights to the same destination. Let us introduce you to Skiplagged. A website who's algorithm scours flight data to uncover these hidden city routes and presents them to users as viable, cost-saving options.

In short, prior to what they built it would be very hard to find the routes you need to take and connect in to find cheaper flights, and so they built a system that does just this. You can book regular flights on their website, but you can also book from their "Hidden City Fares" tool in order to find cheaper ways to get to your final destination.

Another example would be that you need to get from Oklahoma City to Chicago and the flights are more than you want to pay. However, Skiplagged discovered if you book a flight from Oklahoma City to Milwaukee that has a connection in Chicago, the flights are half the price. Upon arriving at Chicago O'Hare Airport, you simply exit the terminal and miss the final leg of your journey.

There are many important things and problems that arise when doing this, and it's certainly not for every traveler. We will speak more on that in a moment! But if you are wondering, is the savings really worth doing this? It was enough of a savings the airlines got "Big Mad" at Skiplagged and sued them.

Skiplagged Sued By Multiple Airlines

Skiplagged Sued By Airlines For Hidden City Fares
Airlines Determined To Shut Skiplagged Down

Skiplagged's innovative approach has not gone unnoticed by the airlines. In fact, the company's practices have led to legal battles with major carriers. In 2014, United Airlines and Orbitz filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged and its founder, Aktarer Zaman, alleging that the service was promoting "unfair competition" and causing financial harm to the airlines. The lawsuit sought to shut down the website and recover financial damages.

Despite the legal pressure, Skiplagged emerged victorious. A judge dismissed the case against Zaman, and Skiplagged continued to operate, gaining even more popularity due to the publicity surrounding the lawsuit. This legal battle highlighted the tension between innovative travel solutions and traditional airline business models.

However, in 2023 American Airlines filed a new lawsuit against Skiplagged that is currently making it's way through the courts. We don't see the airlines being victorious as teaching someone how to manipulate flight prices to save money is not illegal, and it's ultimately the passenger that is violating the airlines policies and not Skiplagged and only time will tell. We hope Skiplagged is victorious in defending themselves against airlines as it's an important for travel hacking websites like Skiplagged to put pressure on airlines to keep prices low.

What Are The Negatives Of Using Skiplagged?

While Skiplagged offers an enticing way to save on airfare, it is not without its drawbacks. One of the negatives of using Skiplagged is the potential consequences from airlines if they discover you are using hidden city ticketing on purpose. Airlines have strict policies against this practice and may take punitive actions if they catch you.

These actions can include:

  • Canceling your frequent flyer account
  • Forfeiting any accumulated points
  • Banning you from future flights with the airline.

However, this would only be something they would do if you attached your FF number to the booking and made a habit out of this, as people miss flights all the time and they would have no way to know you didn't simply get sick and decide not to get on your next flight and decided to call it a day and get a hotel.

Someone would have to do this more than 1 time with the same airline in a short amount of time before any suspicion would even come up.

However, for those who don't even want to put your miles account at risk, just don't attach it to your booking as they have no other way to tie your name to your account, due to how domestic flights work. And that the airline only knows a name without the account number attached, and it's TSA who makes sure the person checking in has an ID to match the name.

I've personally used Skiplagged 8-9 times in the last 4 years and never have attached my mileage number as I personally would never want to risk my account due to my elite status which entitles me to upgrades. Always better safe then sorry, especially if you have elite status with an airline. That elite status is worth way more than the few points you might earn by adding your account to a hidden city fare flight that you are taking.

Another major issue is related to luggage!

Since you are not completing the final leg of your journey, checking luggage is not an option. Checked bags are tagged to the final destination of the ticket, so if you do check a bag, it will end up at the ticketed endpoint, not your intended layover city. This limitation means that hidden city ticketing is best suited for travelers with only carry-on luggage.

When using Skiplagged, it's crucial to note that you can only book one-way flights and not round trips. This limitation arises because missing your connecting flight on the outbound journey would automatically result in the cancellation of the return leg of your trip.

It's perfect for those who aren't sure when they will need to return, or those who simply know their flight is a 1 way trip.

Understanding the Risks and Rewards

Using Skiplagged can be a great way to save money on flights, but it requires a clear understanding of the risks and rewards involved. If you decide to use this method, it's crucial to travel light and be aware of airline policies to avoid potential penalties. Additionally, keep in mind that hidden city ticketing can disrupt the travel plans of other passengers, as airlines may have overbooked flights based on the assumption that all passengers will complete their journeys.

Skiplagged offers a unique and effective way to find cheaper flights through hidden city ticketing. However, travelers should weigh the benefits against the potential risks, including the possibility of losing frequent flyer points and the inconvenience of traveling without checked luggage. By staying informed and cautious, you can make the most of Skiplagged's services while minimizing any negative repercussions.

Our Opinion On Skiplagged

Skiplagged has revolutionized the way travelers search for affordable flights, leveraging hidden city ticketing to uncover significant savings. Despite facing legal challenges from major airlines, the platform continues to thrive, offering a valuable tool for savvy travelers. However, it's essential to approach this method with caution, understanding the potential drawbacks and risks involved. By doing so, you can navigate the complexities of air travel more effectively and enjoy the benefits of cheaper flights.

Skiplagged represents both the ingenuity and the controversy inherent in the modern travel industry, providing a fascinating case study in the intersection of technology, law, and what consumers are willing to do to get the cheapest possible flights even if it means going against the policy of the airlines.

In our opinion, as with the nature of our business model here at Jetsetter Alerts, of informing members of cheap flight deals for airline's running flash sales or airline mistake fares that we find, Skiplagged is just another way to stick it to the man and help travelers recover some of the the money we've been charged over the years for change or cancellation fees.

We have no affiliation with Skiplagged, and we just love to educate our readers and members of every possible travel hack out there to learn. If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it with your travel hacking friends.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Skiplagged and how does it work?

Why did United Airlines and Orbitz sue Skiplagged?

What are the risks of using Skiplagged?

How can I avoid issues when using Skiplagged?

Can you book round trip flights with Skiplagged's hidden city fares?

Is Skiplagged legit or is it a scam?

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