German carrier Lufthansa sues no-show flier over ‘skiplagging’ fare dodge

Roman Schwartz
February 14, 2019

Leading airlines are fighting back against passengers who use a simple loophole to secure cheaper tickets. On the return flight, the passenger did not catch the Frankfurt to Oslo leg of the journey and instead flew from Frankfurt to Berlin on a separate Lufthansa reservation.

Lufthansa Airlines is suing a passenger, alleging he missed his flight on goal.

If a passenger does not show up for the first leg of a flight (say, on a trip from Amsterdam-London-Dubai, which is listed at a cheaper price than London-Dubai) the airline may automatically cancel the booking, which can not later be reinstated.

In the German case, an unnamed male passenger booked a round-trip Lufthansa Airlines flight from Oslo to Seattle with a layover in Frankfurt in April 2016, CNN reported, citing court documents.

CNN outlines the scheme using the following example: If a person's intended destination is San Francisco, instead of booking an expensive direct flight from NY, they would choose to book a cheaper flight from NY to Lake Tahoe, with a planned layover in San Francisco. It is now seeking $2,385 in compensation.

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Lufthansa contests this was a violation of their terms and conditions, and took the man to court seeking €2112 (Around AUD$3357) in compensation.

A German district court gave a thumbs-down to the airline's lawsuit in December, 2018, but a Lufthansa representative confirmed to CNN that the airline has "already filed the appeal against the decision".

However, that suit was thrown out by an IL judge, who said the district didn't have jurisdiction over the issue.

"Hidden city" ticketing was popularized by the airfare site Skiplagged - which promises to help people find tickets that are up to 80 percent less expensive than the prices elsewhere.

The principle that airlines charge less for more flights, lies behind pricing strategies by "network carriers" such as Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways.

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