Was Lufthansa Successful In Suing A Passenger For Skiplagging?

Around a month ago Simple Flying broke the news in English that Lufthansa was attempting to sue a passenger for skipping. The carrier was attempting to sue the passenger for damages due to unpaid fares. Was Lufthansa successful? Simple Flying investigates.

Skiplagging, also known as hidden city ticketing, is the process of booking tickets beyond your destination in order to save money. Quite often it can be cheaper to fly from A-B-C than from A-B. As such, passengers will book the two journey itinerary, only intending to fly the first leg.

There’s no simple answer to the question of skiplagging’s legality. While the Spanish courts have ruled that Iberia can’t prosecute skiplaggers, United have threatened debt collection action against those who follow the practice.

Airlines lose money when people book hidden city tickets. These tickets are priced lower to attract more clients. Ie, New York to Frankfurt via London with British Airways might be cheaper than New York to London. This could attract passengers who might otherwise book with Lufthansa. However, Skiplaggers may book this flight, but just fly to London.

Almost every airline’s terms and conditions state that this action is not allowed. As such, but skiplagging, you are breaking the conditions of carriage agreed with the airline.

Skiplagging
Skiplagging is often against airlines’ terms and conditions. Photo: Lufthansa

Can they punish me?

The short answer to this question is YES! Airlines can punish skiplagging customers. The most common way customers are punished is though withdrawal of benefits.

Most passengers travelling on skiplagged tickets hold frequent flier accounts. The. Umber one rule of skiplagging is not to enter your frequent flier number. However, when you book you need to give the name on your ID. This will almost certainly match the name on your frequent flier account.

For the biggest offenders, any airline could put two and two together and get four. That is to say, and status built with airlines could be revoked if they airline thinks you’re cheating the system.

Skiplagging
Lufthansa was unsuccessful in prosecuting this passenger. Photo: Oliver Roesler/Lufthansa

The Lufthansa Case

Simple Flying recently reported on a case where Lufthansa attempted to sue a passenger for skiplagging. In this case the passenger abandoned their final leg, continuing their journey with a different itinerary.

Lufthansa took the passenger to court. The carrier was unsuccessful in their claim, but not for the reason you’d think. The court ruled that Lufthansa had every right to take the passenger in question to court.

Lufthansa failed in their law suit. The reason given by the court was that the figure give for damages was unclear. Essentially, the court could not figure how Lufthansa had calculated the figure owed to them, and erred on the side of caution. At the time a Lufthansa representative 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 allowed? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Karen

Yes it should be allowed if so one one goes this way your airline is out no money . If it were then maybe different advertising should happen

Munir Ahmad

Skiplagging A+B+C should b legal. If a passenger miss out B+C then passenger should be charged extra at time of B to A destination.
It should be clearly notify to a passenger at time of purchasing as a fair go policy.

John

So selling more tickets than available is ok, but not using one of the flight isn’t?

Steve Krawitz

I agree. It seems they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

Daniel Christen

No, skiplagging is unfair. The client entered an agreement with the airline for a certain trip. The airlines honours this agreement or if they can’t, they offer a remedy. Therefore, as a client, you should honour the agreement too. I am a frequent flyer with KLM and in over 20 years, I made 2 times a little mistake. When I contacted them to explain, they were very helpful. Because they know from my history, I stick to the agreements as good as I can. And to be fair, to me, KLM is the most valuable company worldwide, I could fly… Read more »

John

What about if you buy a metro ticket that you don’t use? Or a concert ticket that you don’t use? Airlines don’t hesitate to sell more tickets than available places. So you might not be able to take off because of them. But the other way around, it doesn’t make any difference for the airline. Plus, the way the pricing is made on airline tickets is completely crazy and stupid. Once I was flying from Brussels to Zurich, one way, 700 CHF… But Brussels Zurich, Zurich Basel was 100 CHF… We talk about the same airline, and the very same… Read more »

Chris

Classic double standards. Overbooking, used by all airlines, is one, changing prices of tickets according from where you log in and try to book is another. Increasingly laws and roules are against customers.

Mart

Yes it should be legal. Airlines overbook, now they have extra seats for those overbooked! They still get their money for the usage! Sounds more like greedy airlines.

Xandrios

The case was dismissed because it was unclear how LH calculated the damages. But heron lies the problem. Even if they can prove the flight that the pax actually took was a certain price, and he has to pay the difference, question is if that would satisfy the court. Because at that point the real question of damages comes into play. How much damage did the airline suffer because somebody did not use part of the purchased service? One could argue the airline has won money (ability to put another pax on that now unused seat) and owes the pax… Read more »

Shad

Airlines try to make more money and passengers try to pay less money.. skipping the last flight sector might happen due to different reasons, so airlines can’t charge every passenger for skipping. If they do so, then say good luck to this airlines. As long as the system allows to book, pay and skip, then airlines have no right to charge the passengers for skipping.

Scott

Skiplagging should be allowed. I’m sure with overbooking of tickets, the airlines are not losing out on money. The empty seat would be then sold to someone who is on standby for the same flight from B to C. Given that customers have to pay for absolutely everything from luggage, to food, and even see changes in reservations, I have my doubts that some person skipping on the second leg of their flight is causing the airline to go broke. There’s almost always overbook flights, and people waiting to fly on standby.

Matt

That this is possible in the first place shows how they’re trying to screw you to begin with. For me it’s most applicable on SEA-DTW flights. Just a quick example. If I was to book DL2872 for Wednesday my cost right now is $640. SEA-ORD is $153 on DL2872 and DL622. So paying for an additional flight somehow results in a cost difference to Delta of $-487. Delta really needs to explain that math, and how the additional resources used to operate flight DL622 decreases their cost so much. In a industry where they claim such small profit margins, this… Read more »