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.
Is Skiplagging Legal?
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.
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.
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!