This Money-Saving Travel Hack Is Now the Subject of a Big Lawsuit

American Airlines is suing Skiplagged, the website that popularized a controversial-but-popular hack.

Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

American Airlines seems to have officially had it with skiplagging.

Just weeks after the airline banned a teenage passenger for three years because he had attempted to take advantage of the increasingly popular travel hack, American Airlines is reportedly suing the travel website Skiplagged for its participation in the practice.

For those unfamiliar with the term, skiplagging refers to the practice of booking a flight that has a connection, but not continuing your journey beyond that layover because the connection city was actually your true destination. The practice (which is also sometimes referred to as hidden-city ticketing) can save travelers money because sometimes flights to farther-away, more popular destinations that include a layover are cheaper to book than a direct flight to that less popular destination.

While the hack is not illegal, some airlines have added language to their terms of service and contracts of carriage that specifically prohibit skiplagging, especially as the practice has grown in popularity on social media. American Airlines in particular has made it very clear that it is monitoring for the hack and cracking down on customers who use it.

Now, USA Today reports that American Airlines is accusing Skiplagging of using “deceptive” practices with its customers by claiming that they can take advantage of “some kind of secret ‘loophole.'” The airline says it never authorized the website to resell its tickets and it is threatening to cancel every ticket the website has sold.

“Skiplagged’s conduct is deceptive and abusive,” the airline reportedly stated in the lawsuit. “Skiplagged deceives the public into believing that, even though it has no authority to form and issue a contract on American’s behalf, somehow it can still issue a completely valid ticket. It cannot. Every ‘ticket’ issued by Skiplagged is at risk of being invalidated.”

The lawsuit also accused Skiplagged of providing what the airline called “scripted guidance” that advises its customers on how to avoid getting caught by airlines while trying to pull off the hack. The website’s FAQ section does, indeed, share tips like only traveling with a backpack, not linking a frequent flyer account to their booking, and not overusing hidden-city ticketing.

The new lawsuit is not Skiplagged’s first taste of legal issues. United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Orbitz have previously sued its CEO, Aktarer Zaman, over the site’s business model. Zaman ultimately settled with both Southwest and Orbitz, while the United lawsuit over $75,000 in lost revenue was dismissed in 2015.

The website currently touts one of those lawsuits on its front-page banner image which states: “Ridiculous travel deals you can’t find anywhere else. Our flights are so cheap, United sued us… but we won.”

In addition to that flex, the Skiplagged front page also displays a series of flight options offering discounted “Skiplagged rates” ranging from $10 to $167 off flights around the world.

Looking for travel tips?

Whether you need help sneaking weed onto a plane, finding an airport where you can sign up for PreCheck without an appointment, or making sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to when your flight is canceled, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for up-to-date travel hacks and all the travel news you need to help you plan your next big adventure.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Joe Erbentraut is the Editorial Director of News at Thrillist. Follow Joe on Twitter.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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