Lufthansa Is Suing a Passenger Who Skipped Their Flight

Daniel Fowler
February 14, 2019

A Lufthansa customer was supposed to fly from Seattle to Frankfurt and then to Oslo - but he failed to show for his Frankfurt to Oslo flight.

It is known as skiplagging, whereby a passenger books a flight from A-B-C but only intends to fly A-B.

Skiplagging can cause delays for airlines as they wait for unaccounted-for passengers, with carriers that have flights routed through hub airports - such as Lufthansa in Frankfurt and Munich - particularly affected.

Lufthansa is cracking down on a way for airline passengers to get cheaper fares-with a lawsuit that brings fresh attention to the practice.

According to court documents filed late past year, the German airline believes the passenger purposely missed the last leg of his connecting flight from Seattle to Oslo. However, the airline alleges the passenger instead took a separately booked flight from Frankfurt to Berlin.

Lufthansa didn't like that. The company claims the move is a violation of their terms and conditions, according to the court papers. The suit was initially dismissed by a Berlin court in December, but a spokesperson for Lufthansa confirmed to CNN that the airline had appealed the decision.

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How does the "hidden city" hack work?

"I would simply have someone drive me 80 miles to Dayton, then fly back through Cincinnati to some destination". Some say it's unethical because a flyer is taking a seat they're not going to actually use - one that another passenger might need to get somewhere at the last minute.

"Hidden city" ticketing ploys are a well documented and fairly common airline hack, recommended by travel experts as a savvy way to game the system.

Lufthansa said it believes the passenger bought a multi-stop ticket but never meant to complete the full trip.

The root of the case is that some airlines, including Lufthansa and British Airways, have pricing strategies that put a premium price tag on non-stop flights. "This is true whether it's a plane ticket or an extra-large pizza".

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