I write this as my United flight jets from SFO toward San Diego, without me onboard.
I didn’t miss my flight though.
I skipped the last leg.
For a non-stop flight from Pittsburgh to San Francisco, United wanted almost $500.
But for Pittsburgh to San Diego, with a layover in San Francisco, United was only asking ~$150.
I used Skiplagged to find the flight, and my options looked something like this:
United hates Skiplagged.
They even tried suing it’s creator, unsuccessfully, a few years ago.
Because airlines have retaliated against Skiplaggers by deleting their frequent flyer miles, I opted not to include my United Airlines frequent flyer info on my ticket.
United calls this method of fare shopping theft, but I disagree.
Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty for using Skiplagged:
1. United doesn’t wait up for travelers.
Airlines claim they sometimes hold up flights waiting for ticketed passengers, meaning Skiplaggers unfairly delay other fellow passengers when airlines wait around for passengers who never intended to show up.
I disagree. I say they don’t care if ticketed passengers show up or not, and will quickly and happily give the empty seats to any standby passengers.
My gf once spent the night on the floor of Denver International Airport because her connecting United flight decided to close its doors ten minutes early, stranding at least a dozen connecting travelers.
United should improve its communication so they know when a connecting flight is close by, which would eliminate any needless delays.
2. United isn’t being punished for offering low rates.
An airline might claim: “We’re simply trying to compete with other airlines by offering a cheap fare on that Pittsburgh to San Diego flight,” for example.
“Don’t punish us for offering cheap fares,” they say.
To which I say, “If you care about passengers so much, why are you gouging them on routes where you don’t have competition?”
Because United is a business, it makes sense that United would want to make as much money as they can on any particular flight.
But then they fault travelers for wanting to find the best possible deal on any particular flight?
In our society, the rich can buy time and convenience, by paying top dollar for that non-stop flight, for example.
Any way we peasants can use our brains to legally buy that time and convenience is fair game, in my opinion.
3. So what if Skiplagging goes mainstream?
Airlines argue that if everyone starts Skiplagging, then they won’t know how many seats they should oversell on a flight, and they might have to start bumping mass numbers of people from flights.
But if their algorithms can figure out how many seats on a flight they should oversell now, there’s no reason they couldn’t adjust to an increase in flyers skipping legs of flights.
Worst case scenario: in order to compensate for revenue lost to Skiplaggers, United decides to raise prices on that Pittsburgh to San Diego route.
But then flyers could just buy from the competing airlines with more affordable fares.
With that said, I don’t see Skiplagging going mainstream for three reasons: it’s a “hassle” to use for some people, you can’t check a bag, and you can’t theoretically guarantee that the airline won’t change the routing of your flight, leaving you with a ticket to the wrong city.
Here is an anti-Skiplagged USA Today article written by, surprise, one of Skiplagged’s competitors, airfarewatchdog.com.
Angry thoughts? Happy thoughts? Comments are welcome!