A risk of Skiplagging: getting banished to LA

Booking flights with Skiplagged can save you hundreds of dollars, as discussed here.

Yesterday I experienced for the first time one of the risks of Skiplagging: getting sent to a city you weren’t trying to go to.


I had a ticket from Montreal to New Orleans already purchased on American Airlines.

To get home to SF from New Orleans, I purchased a Skiplagged flight on United Airlines (New Orleans to SF to Los Angeles, but I would skip the SF to LA flight).

Within a week of a flight, airlines throw out your 24-hour cancellation window, so I booked through Expedia instead, which still gives you 24 hours to cancel with a full refund.

Here is the flight I bought (New Orleans to SF to Los Angeles) versus the same flight but without the SF to LA leg of the flight.

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 11.26.08 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-04 at 11.27.06 PM

So I’m saving $500 bucks by Skiplagging on United’s Basic Economy rate, right?

I thought my noon arrival into New Orleans on American would give me enough of a buffer to make sure I caught my separate 3:50 flight home on United.

Well, I was wrong.

When taxiing for departure in Montreal, our plane’s computer froze, so we had to go back to the gate for maintenance.

This caused me to miss my American connecting flight in Charlotte, so American automatically booked me on the next Charlotte-New Orleans flight, arriving at 3:35.

3:35 arrival to New Orleans, 3:50 departure on a different airline? Not gonna happen.


The Superdome in New Orleans from above.

The United Airlines reps in Charlotte were nice enough to change my flight out of New Orleans to a later flight.

But there was one problem: the new flight stopped in Denver on the way to LA, instead of stopping in SF.

As a result, I had to figure out how to get home from LA (or Denver, but with LA I have the option of a bus ride or driving a one-way rental car home).

I ended up purchasing a $175 flight home from LA, also on United.

Long story short, I still theoretically saved ~$300 by Skiplagging, but it took me a full day and five flights to get home from Montreal. It would’ve been much easier and comparably priced to just find a different way home from Montreal.

Lessons learned

  • Don’t book a Skiplagged flight as a connecting flight, especially when you have a connection before that connection, and especially on a separate airline.
  • Airlines have no responsibility if you book a connecting flight on a different airline. Even though American Airlines was at fault for getting me to New Orleans four hours late, they have no legal or policy-based obligation to compensate me for missing my connecting flight on United Airlines.
  • Booking a connecting flight on a separate airline is risky. In addition to the issue above, some airports, like New Orleans’, make you leave and re-enter security to get between the different concourses. That could add an hour+ to your connecting time, so a large time buffer is smart if you do book tickets on separate airlines.

Thoughts or experiences you can share?

4 thoughts on “A risk of Skiplagging: getting banished to LA

  1. You missed your United flight. Airlines have no obligation to put you on another flight in the first place. This has nothing to do with Skiplagging


  2. Pingback: Miles and Points Recap: CSR Referrals, Last Call for 50k on Arrival Plus?, Southwest Award Pricing and More - Miles For Family

  3. Yes, I have heard of this technique but the more flights, and ailines involved the greater the risk. If you are purely trying to save $$ then you still accomplished your goal!


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