- Airlines hate the practice of skiplagging, which lets passengers strategically get cheaper flights.
- But the fact that the practice is even possible makes no sense.
- The airlines also don’t guarantee you’ll make your connecting flight, so why should you be required to take it?
Airlines are displeased with “skiplagging.” One even banned a teenager who engaged in the practice. But the question needs to be asked: What is driving passengers to use skiplagging when booking travel?
Airline passengers have figured out that sometimes it is more expensive to book a flight from point A to point B (where they actually want to go) than to book a flight from point A to point C with a layover in point B. Instead of heading on to point C, they just stop in point B, skipping the last leg of the booked trip.
Most airlines use dynamic pricing models, relying on algorithms to determine their constantly fluctuating fares. But it often results in prices that make no logical sense to the consumer, leading to confusion and frustration — and new efforts to save money, like by skiplagging or “hidden-city booking.”
“I fully understand, as an airline analyst and business person, why airlines extract as much as they can where they have leverage. That is what business is all about,” Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel advisory firm Atmosphere Research, told the BBC. “But when an airline puts out stupid airline pricing and the fare into a hub [airport] is nonsensically high, it is almost like airlines invite hidden-city booking.”
The fact that adding an additional leg to a journey can make it cost less makes no sense. Other times, consumers can book a flight one day only to discover the price for the same ticket inexplicably plummeted two days later, exasperating passengers who are trying to decipher the most optimal time to book. The baffling nature of it all means airlines are practically begging passengers to look for creative alternatives.
A case can also be made that the airlines are being hypocritical. If you engage in skiplagging, or miss one leg of your flight, they can cancel your entire booking — including your return flight. And yet, airlines do not guarantee they will get passengers to a destination in time to make a connecting flight.
It’s also difficult to think of any other product or service that requires you to use it entirely. You paid for it, why can’t you decide how much of it to take or leave?
All things considered, it seems airlines have themselves to thank for skiplagging.