Donald Trump’s Team Just Admitted to Going Around Airlines in Popular Travel Hack

 Donald Trump’s Team Just Admitted to Going Around Airlines in Popular Travel Hack

Courtesy: Forbes

The decades-old practice of “skip-lagging” or “hidden-city ticketing,” wherein a passenger books a flight with a layover but disembarks at the layover city instead of the final destination, has been a topic of contention.

Airlines structure their routes to distribute traffic evenly across airports and minimize under-filled flights, which often makes “skip lagged” fares more economical than direct or layover flights to a particular destination. Even though this practice isn’t illegal, it isn’t well received by airlines as it disrupts their planned routes and results in partially occupied flights. Companies like American Airlines, United, and Delta explicitly prohibit it in their policies.

However, the lure of “skip lagged” fares — nearly 60% cheaper for routes like San Francisco to Chicago or Los Angeles to Atlanta compared to regular bookings — proves irresistible for many travelers.

A recent financial disclosure form brought to light by the travel website View From The Wing revealed the campaign team of former President Donald Trump utilized this strategy. They paid $10 to Skiplagged, a website specializing in finding such fares and providing an option to purchase “credits” for future travel.

The expenditure stands out amidst the extensive report detailing the $20 million that Trump’s Save America PAC allocated to legal fees in the first half of 2023 due to several election-related charges against the former President. It attracted the attention of travel insiders who noted the irony of a PAC, funded by millions in donations, using it to save what, at best, amounts to a few hundred dollars.

In recent years, airlines have intensified efforts to curb this practice. A noteworthy incident unfolded in July when American Airlines denied Logan Parsons, a teenager on his first solo flight, from boarding a flight from Gainesville, Florida to New York City because they suspected he planned to get off at the Charlotte layover. Parsons’ ticket was canceled after an interrogation.

Despite the public outcry following the incident, American Airlines maintained its policy, stating that purchasing a ticket without the intention to complete all segments of the journey for lower fares is a violation of their terms and conditions.

After Lufthansa’s unsuccessful lawsuit against the founder of Skiplagged, most leading airlines chose to incorporate a ban on “booking without the intent to fly” in their contracts of carriage. Although Delta, United, and Southwest have such prohibitions, American Airlines is known to be the strictest enforcer. In April 2020, they removed a passenger who had “skiplagged” 95 flights from their AAdvantage frequent flyer program.

The financial forms from Trump’s Save America PAC, however, do not specify which flights his team members “skiplagged.”

Related post