It seems as though Lufthansa is now trying to punish passengers who take advantage of skiplagging. Skipplaggning is when a passenger books a flight from A-B-C, only intending to travel from A-B. The reason for this is because the two leg ticket will be cheaper than the one leg one.
There are questions over the legality of the issue. Many carriers put it in their terms that the practice is illegal. As such, we have seen United threaten debt collection action for excess fares owned. However, in contrast, in November a Spanish court ruled that Iberia passengers could not be punished for skiplagging.
So What Is Skiplagging?
Skiplagging is also known as hidden city ticketing. It is fairly common knowledge that airlines don’t always sell passengers the cheapest ticket possible. Take a flight from Los Angeles to Munich. The daily Lufthansa flight from Los Angeles direct to Munich would set you back £2,376 on February 28th. However, book the exact same flight, with a connection to London Heathrow, and the price drops to £1607.
Of course, in order to take advantage of this fare reduction, you would need to travel with just hand luggage so your baggage doesn’t get through checked. However, this would be against the conditions agreed with Lufthansa when the ticket was purchased.
What Is Lufthansa Doing?
According to Airliners.de, Lufthansa is attempting to sue a passenger who took advantage of hidden city ticketing. The defendant booked a business class ticket from Oslo to Seattle via Frankfurt for 6224NOK (€657). On the return flight, the passenger flew from Frankfurt to Berlin on a separate ticket. Lufthansa says that he should have paid €2769, and demands €2112 plus interest.
The lawsuit was thrown out by the Berlin-Mitte court. Simple Flying found the original German court documents, with the defendant’s name redacted. A translator told Simple Flying that the court said the reason Lufthansa is trying to sue the passenger is valid, but the recalculation of the price lacks transparency. Apparently, this is because the full ticket price was calculated as the price at the time of booking, which the passenger cannot find out on the day when deciding to miss their connection.
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Additionally, the airline calculated the price from Olso to Frankfurt to Seattle to Frankfurt to Berlin. The court could not understand how Lufthansa had arrived at the €2112 figure. While ultimately ruling in favour of the defendant, the court said that it was public knowledge that hidden city ticketing was cheaper, and as such, the defendant cannot claim ignorance. Airliners.de states that Lufthansa is appealing the decision. A Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying “As this is a running court case, we do not comment this case at this stage.”
Do you think skiplagging should be legal? Let us know in the comments down below!
Updated 11th Feb, 12:11 with Lufthansa Statement