Skiplagging is a ‘travel hack’ many influencers suggest, using popular destinations with layovers as a way to get cheaper tickets to a more out-of-the-way destination.
Skiplagging, also called “hidden city” ticketing, involves booking flights with a layover at the actual destination you want to visit, and then skipping the second leg of the journey. If done right, it can be cheaper than just booking direct for the destination you wanted, but circumstances have to be right.
It works because specific destinations have more competition than others, meaning prices get driven down for those traveling there. But because of how airlines schedule flights, those flights might have layovers at destinations with less competition, places that it would cost more to book flights to.
It doesn’t work when the first leg of a flight is canceled or altered, which might move your layover to a different airport or eliminate it altogether. And it doesn’t work for anyone traveling with luggage, as it would be checked through to a final destination. It also often doesn’t work for a round trip, as the airline will cancel the return flight after one leg in a multiple series is missed.
Airlines don’t like it because it may leave an empty, but sold, seat, which presents a problem for them. Therefore, several airlines, like Air France and American Airlines, have expressly banned the practice. Consequences range from additional fees to fly home from an incorrect destination, to a loss of a travel perks for members, to potentially being banned from flying with an airline at all.
Gilbert Ott, the founder of travel site God Save The Points, warned that skiplagging can save money, but depended on your departure point and final destination, he told Insider. “There’s no guarantee that adding complexity or stops to your journey starting in another city will be cheaper.”
Due to the opaque way airlines communicate their fares, it’s hard to even know if you are saving money, without a thorough audit of multiple online flight pricing trackers.