What is Skiplagging and why it is Controversial?

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4 min read

Skiplagging is a travel strategy where passengers book a flight with the intention of disembarking at a layover destination instead of continuing to the final stop on their ticket. This practice is employed to save money on airfare, as airlines may offer lower prices for flights with layovers in the desired city compared to direct flights.

Why Skiplagging is Controversial?

Loss of Revenue: Skiplagging can lead to revenue loss for airlines because passengers don't complete the entire journey, and the airline cannot sell the seat for the full route. This revenue loss can be significant, particularly when many passengers engage in this practice.

Disruption of Network Planning: Airlines plan their routes and schedules based on anticipated passenger demand. It disrupts these plans, making it challenging for airlines to allocate resources efficiently and potentially leading to service cutbacks on some routes.

Loyalty Program Impact: This can affect airline loyalty programs. Passengers who practice may not be eligible for program benefits, and this can erode customer loyalty and affect the effectiveness of these programs.

Legal and Ethical Concerns: While skiplagging is not illegal, airlines discourage it and often take action against frequent skiplaggers, such as canceling frequent flyer miles. Some airlines have even pursued legal action against individuals or websites facilitating hidden city ticketing.

Operational Challenges: This can create operational challenges for airlines. It may result in difficulties with baggage handling and accurate passenger counts at various points in the journey, leading to operational inefficiencies.

In summary, while Skiplagging can offer cost savings for passengers, it is controversial because it negatively impacts airlines in terms of revenue, network planning, and loyalty programs, while also raising legal and operational challenges. Airlines employ various strategies to discourage and minimize its impact on their business.

What are the Impacts of Skiplagging on Airlines?

While it may be a clever way for passengers to save money, it poses several challenges and consequences for the airline industry. Generally, a question arises: How does Skiplagging cost Airlines money? The impact of Skiplagging on airlines can be significant and multifaceted:

Empty Seats

One of the most immediate and obvious consequences of skip-lagging is the creation of empty seats on connecting flights. When passengers choose not to take their connecting flight, it leaves vacant spaces on the plane, which airlines typically aim to fill to maximize their revenue. Empty seats represent missed opportunities for airlines to make money from those flights.

Revenue Loss

Airlines determine ticket prices based on demand, route popularity, and various other factors. When passengers engage in skiplagging, airlines experience revenue losses. This results in a reduction in their overall income. To offset these losses, airlines may be inclined to increase ticket prices for honest passengers, affecting the broader consumer base.

To mitigate the impact, airlines often employ various strategies, including dynamic pricing, stricter terms and conditions, and improved loyalty program management.

How do passengers get benefit from Skiplagging?

Passengers can benefit from skip-lagging on Airlines in several ways, although it's important to note that this practice may not be suitable for every traveler and can carry some risks. Here are the potential advantages:

Cost Savings: Skiplagging is primarily used as a money-saving strategy. By booking a flight with a layover at their desired destination and disembarking at the layover point, passengers can often secure cheaper airfare. This can be particularly useful for budget-conscious travelers.

Access to Expensive Destinations: Some cities or airports are known for having high airfare prices due to limited competition or high demand. It allows passengers to access these expensive destinations at a fraction of the cost by booking flights that include these cities as layovers.

Flexibility: They offer passengers flexibility in their travel plans. It can be an attractive option for those who are open to exploring different destinations or don't have a strict schedule, as it can provide opportunities for spontaneous travel.

Avoiding Baggage Fees: Passengers who don't need to check their luggage can benefit from this even more. By not completing the final leg of a journey, they can avoid baggage fees associated with checking bags for the entire route.

Reduced Travel Time: In some cases, Skiplagging can result in reduced travel time. If a layover city is closer to the passenger's actual destination, they can save time and avoid longer travel routes or connections.

Avoiding Crowded Airports: Some major airports can be overcrowded, leading to longer lines, security checks, and overall stress. Skiplagging can allow passengers to choose smaller, less congested airports as their final destination, making their travel experience more pleasant.

Conclusion

Skiplagging on Airlines, a cost-saving strategy for passengers, is a practice that can cost airlines a significant amount of money. It's essential for travelers to understand the implications and risks associated with this practice.