American Airlines has canceled a teenager’s so-called ‘hidden city’ ticket after finding out he was not going to board his connecting flight to New York, the United States (US).
In an interview with North Carolina, US, local daily Queen City News, the father of the teenager revealed that the minor had an American Airlines ticket from Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) to New York John. F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) via Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). The teenager was flying alone.
The teen’s father told the publication that upon arrival at the gate an agent was alarmed by the passenger’s document, a driver’s license issued in North Carolina. Employees at the regional airport reportedly interrogated the teen for a while before he was “ultimately taken to a security room”.
“They kind of got out of him that he was planning to disboard in Charlotte and not going to make the connecting flight,” the teen’s father added, noting that the family was using Skiplagged, a service that searches for cheaper fares on connecting flights. “We’ve used Skiplagged almost exclusively for the last 5 to 8 years.”
The airline issued a statement to Queen City News in which it said that ‘skip lagging’ or purchasing ‘hidden city’ tickets is “a violation of American Airlines terms and conditions and is outlined in our Conditions of Carriage online”.
“Our Customer Relations team has been in touch with the customer to learn more about their experience,” the statement added.
The teen’s parents were forced to buy a direct ticket from GNV to CLT.
In 2015, United Airlines launched a lawsuit against Skiplagged’s founder, alleging that the service promoted “strictly prohibited” travel as well as “unfair competition”. The lawsuit was thrown out by Northern District Court of Illinois Judge John Robert Blakey because the founder lived in a different jurisdiction.
In 2021, Southwest Airlines and Skiplagged also went to court, with the latter alleging that after three cease-and-desist letters the court should rule “that it did not engage in any illegal activity with respect to Southwest’s allegations”. In response, Southwest sued the service to dismiss Skiplagged’s action and for the service to stop “scraping data from Southwest’s website, Southwest.com, and of operating a third-party service using the website’s data in violation of the website’s Terms and Conditions and Texas law”.