Lufthansa Is Trying To Sue Passengers For Skiplagging

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.

Lufthansa Skiplagging
Lufthansa is trying to sue a passenger for skiplagging. Photo: Oliver Roesler/Lufthansa

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.

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Lufthansa Skiplagging
Skiplagging is in violation of the airline’s terms. Photo: Lufthansa

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.

Lufthansa Skiplagging
The court ultimately ruled in favour of the passenger. Photo: Oliver Roesler/Lufthansa

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

28 comments
      1. As a ticket agent for a major airline in 1955, we used ‘point beyond’ in fare construction all the time. This is definitely the airlines Yield Management Department’s problem. I would be fairly confident that they know exactly what they are doing but don’t want to advertise it!

  1. If a passenger choses to purchase a seat and keep it empty, that is their prerogative. Buyer and seller are equals in the marketplace. The seller cannot tell the buyer what to do with the product once it is sold; the product is now the buyers. If I wish to buy an entire flight to travel alone, as long as the seats are paid for, no one can complain.

  2. If the airline has such ridiculous practices, that it is actually cheaper to fly from Oslo to Frankfurt to Heathrow, than just Oslo to Frankfurt…it shouldn’t be in any way surprised to find that the passengers will do what they can to get the best deal.

    To be fair, the passengers, TOO, would probably prefer to just purchase a reasonably-priced flight from Oslo to Frankfurt, without all the additional trouble of skip-lagging.

    The airlines are in control of this situation. The passengers are simply responding in kind.

  3. By the logic of Lufthansa’s position, with a little legalistic twisting, a passenger that missed the connection due to delay could still be sued.

  4. In my opinion denying the passenger the skiplagging = forcing them to be in that plane is violating their right for movement freedom, maybe they changed their mind last minute and don’t want to be boxed in a flying alluminium crate for those pair of hours, no one should have the power to deny them to take advantage of their human rights, definitely not the airlines.

  5. Those on stand-by usually get the no-show seats.

    Lufthansa would have to show that it did not fill the empty seat with a stand-by to get the full reimbursement. However, if they prove this, then Lufthansa would have to disclose its convoluted pricing system.

    Lufthansa would be better off at keeping its mouth shut.

  6. It’s OK for airlines to overbook – to refuse to refund monies – to charge for peanuts. But if a customer uses the airline’s OWN RULES to save money they get sued.

    Put ’em in my court. Not only will I rule for the passengers but I’ll charge the airlines with instituting a frivolous lawsuit.

  7. The only reason pricing this convoluted exists is because Lufthansa has excessive pricing power in flights to/from Germany. German government anti-trust is not doing its job, and German justice should not be protecting companies like this.

  8. If the flying public finds a way to save money..why not.
    Airlines should be happy passengers practice skiplagging..they save fuel flying a paid for but empty seat..and I also must refer one of the airlines excuses to validate their need to charge for luggage. 🇺🇸

  9. When airlines charge you a lot more for a cramped economy class ticket, they can’t get sued for a person being uncomfortable or bad crew service.
    Just think this is great. Tit for tat.

  10. In the A B C scenario, the airline seems to be claiming stewardship over their customer; as if they see the customer as being under their custody at point B and so require a ransom for the customer to leave the airline’s custody.

    I don’t see how that could be enforced under US law.

  11. The airlines are pricing irrespective of costs. They are simply trying to manipulate the market to maximize profits at consumer expense. It is reasonable for the consumer to respond in kind. The consumer paid for everything they used, and left some part of the meal uneaten. Totally legal in my view.

    1. Even if LH didn’t fill the seat with stand by’s they already collected the full fare and on top of that saved the “fuel cost” since the plane flying was lighter for passenger’s weight and its carry-on 😛

  12. Sprzedane miejsce należy do pasażera i może z nim zrobić co chce. To tak jakby Lufthansa chciała decydować co mam zrobić z moim telewizorem.

  13. This past weekend I cancelled a non refundable flight due to illness. I won’t be waiting at my mailbox looking for a refund! I guarantee there was someone on standby who purchased my seat as it is always a full plane for this route.

    I once bought a round trip ticket because it was actually cheaper than purchasing the one way flight I needed. It is a shame the airline chooses to price the way it does but I should not be punished for only using what I need and trying to save money.

  14. In the summer I bought a ticket from A (RHODES) to B (ATHENS) and the same day a few hours later from B (ATHENS) to C (MADRID). For personal reasons it just happened that I was already in B (ATHENS) the day I was supposed to fly from A (RHODES), so of course I didn’t, just went to B (ATHENS) airport to fly to my C (MADRID) destination, only to find out that my entire ticket had been canceled. I didn’t know I should have notified the company, it had never happened to me before, but the outrageous part of the story is the Aegean Airlines black mailed me by asking for the same seat I had paid for, one way, 365 euros extra, while the whole ticket had already costed me close to 400 euros both ways. Refused to do so and the entire trip with prepaid hotels and museum tickets was entirely canceled. They never replied my emails.

  15. I once booked had to book a flight from Brussels to Zurich.
    It was 7 times cheaper to go from Brussels to Zurich and then to Basel…
    I took the first flight and went out of the airport in Zurich.

  16. So what about passengers that become ill or have to stop at the connecting airport for a medical reason? If they return home to their original departure point from the connection airport would the airlines still go seeking losses?!!? I think this is wrong on the airlines. They make millions in profits year after year. Maybe they need to rethink their pricing and not incentivizing people taking multiple connections to save money…..

  17. Skiplagging is quite annoying and people shouldn’t practice it. It’s like applying for the job, getting the job and ultimately rejecting it. My point is someone who really needed it could’ve taken it.

  18. Why not just pass a law to make “hidden city ticketing” illegal. That way all ticketing would only be point-to-point. Or pass a law to make sure that “hidden city” tickets are always MORE expensive than the point-to-point (nonstop) ticket between cities. After all, doesn’t that just make sense? From the airlines point of view, doesn’t it cost more in fuel and landing fees to fly from Oslo to Frankfurt, and then from Frankfurt to Seattle, instead of just Oslo to Seattle?

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