The trend of skiplagging has become increasingly popular with travelers looking to save money. Skiplagging is the act of booking a flight with a connection to pay a cheaper overall fare but leaving the airport in the connecting city instead of continuing with the journey. Passengers do this because flights with connections are sometimes less expensive than direct flights to their intended destinations.
Last month, American Airlines banned a teenager who was caught skiplagging on a flight from Gainesville, Florida to New York City with a layover in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was his intended destination all along.
Now, the airline is taking it one step further by suing the website that helps passengers hack the system by providing routes to skiplag effectively, aptly named Skiplagged.com.
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In a lawsuit filed in Texas federal court on Thursday, American claims that the website has been selling flights without the airline’s permission and using its logo to promote flights that violate the airline’s policy against skiplagging.
An American Airlines plane lands in Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S. (Getty Images)
“Many of the fares displayed on Skiplagged’s website are higher than what the consumer would pay if they simply booked a ticket on American’s website or through an actual authorized agent,” the document reads, per Insider. “It is a classic bait-and-switch: Draw consumers in with the promise of secret fares, and instead sell the consumer a ticket at a higher price.”
According to American Airlines’ Conditions of Carriages, “hidden city ticketing” is prohibited for passengers, which is defined as “purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares.”
The airline has been vocal about its disdain for the practice, calling it a direct “violation of American Airlines terms and conditions” in a statement last month.
Skiplagged is brazen about its mission of “exposing loopholes in airfare pricing to save you money” as well as showing customers “inefficiencies in airline pricing, such as hidden-city, to find you deals you can’t get anywhere else.”
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American is not the first airline to take issue with the website.
In 2021, Southwest Airlines sued Skiplagged for trademark infringement and selling flights without the airline’s permission. The case was eventually settled in June 2023.
United Airlines also sued the fare-hacking website in 2014 for its founder Aktarer Zaman’s “deceptive behavior.” However, the case was eventually dismissed because Zaman was living and doing business in New York and the court case was filed in Chicago.
American Airlines did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.