Finding cheap flights via portals is a well-known thing. But there is a hack for pros, which can give you even better prices than those from the search engine: Skiplagging. The boss among Flight-Hacking methods.
Here I’ll show you what Skiplagging exactly is, how it works and how you can get the incredible fairs (check my favorite page below!) with Skiplagging even if you are just “a normal guy”.
How does Skiplagging aka ‘Hidden-City Ticketing’ work?
Skiplagging aka the “Hidden City Loophole” works as follows:
The goal is to get from A to B, but you do not search for flights that end at your desired destination (B), but at another destination (C), which the flight connection ends AFTER your desired destination.
So the desired destination is only a stopover. What you do is getting off in B an skip the connection from B to C (“Skip the last lag”).
The amazing thing: The flight booking from A to C is often cheaper than from A to B.
It is important that you have at least one day in between the flights so that you get your luggage after landing in B.
How can this be cheaper, even though an additional flight is being booked?
If you add another flight to a connection, how can it be cheaper? I mean: you are flying even “more”. That doesn’t make any sense at all!?
Well, it’s something the airlines constructed , yield management and supply and demand. The airlines want to offer both connections (A-B and A-C). However, there is a higher demand for A-B than A-C and therefore they can sell A-B with a higher price. It may also be necessary to just get the aircraft to C, if more lucrative flights can be made from there.
How do I get the cheapest flight (easily)?
The service I can recommend in almost any Situation: Flighfox. Flightfox.com is a service that is finding those connections for you.
You will pay 50 bucks for this service, but only if you save at least $50 compared to the connection you have specified. Otherwise you won’t have to pay anything. So you will never pay more than you would spend anyway.
To let Flightfox search for you, you have to specify a reference price. Flightfox will use this price as a target and tries to undercut it by at least $50, so that they get their commission and you get a cheaper flight. Of course, this usually only works with more expensive international and intercontinental connections.
Besides the reference flight you can also specify the time frame in which you want to start the flight or flights (other dates), how many stopovers, etc… After you have entered the information on the page, a “Flight Expert” will contact you and start the search.
The Flight Expert is looking for your connection, but you have to book it yourself. You will get exact instructions where and how to do this.
How do I find a a good reference price?
You can go to the “usual suspects”. Most of the time I use:
My Flightfox Eperience
My experience with Flightfox is very good. I’ve used the service a few times now and the guys from Flightfox really know what they are doing.
On my last request Lauren and Matt from Flightfox have sent many further (cheaper) connections, although they had already undercut my price with the first attempt by $100.
I recommend that you should write as much information as possible in the first request (alternative departures, stops, maximum stopover time…) so that you can save time by having less check backs.
How can I find Skiplagging connections by myself?
There is a platform called Skiplagged.com. It became famous because the portal was sued by United Airlines – and United lost.
But I have to admit that I haven’t really had much experience with Skiplagged yet – and the connections I looked up weren’t really Skiplagged (with added flights that you skip).
Skiplagging on the airlines’ websites
Otherwise, it works like this: Find the hub of the respective airline and try to add flights from or to the hubs connecting over your desired connection and watch the prices. This of course requires some insider knowledge or a lot of experience.
Is it legal?
It’s a gray area. Most of the airlines’ terms and conditions prohibit booking flights and not taking part in partial flight connections. But if the last flight is from a different date, it is possible that you can’t take this flight for health reasons, etc. For giving you trouble, the airline would have to prove your intention. And that is not so easy.
You can’t skip the first flights, because then you have a no-show and you can’t start the following flights. If you leave out the last lag – that works. However, this is something airlines don’t want you to know. This is why (as mentioned above) they have filed lawsuits against Skiplagged.com or – like Lufthansa – directly against their customers. But most of the time with little success and a following Shitstorm.