A North Carolina father believes that American Airlines put his teenage son in an unfair position after trying to take advantage of a travel loophole.
Hunter Parson, from Charlotte, told local news station WJZY that his son Logan – a minor traveling alone for the first time – was interrogated, imprisoned, forced to buy a new ticket, and American Airlines flight ban after the “skip lagging” process.
Skip lagging, or “hidden city ticketing,” occurs when someone purchases an airline ticket with multiple stops and exits the airport during a stopover instead of boarding the next flight to the ticket’s final destination.
It’s a cost-cutting hack that can be cheaper than buying a direct flight to a desired destination. It’s also legal, but frowned upon by many airlines. CBS News reports.
Parson told WJZY that he bought Logan a ticket from Gainesville, Fla. to New York City via Charlotte after using the resource Delayed skipwhich, according to Parson, his family had been using for “five to eight years.”
Logan was scheduled to leave the airport during his hometown layover to meet his family, but Parson said a gate agent in Florida became suspicious after seeing Logan’s North Carolina driver’s license.
According to Parsons, Logan was “interrogated a little” and then “taken to a security room.”
“They sort of got him out that he was planning to get off in Charlotte and not catch the connecting flight,” Parsons told WJZY.
As a result, American Airlines canceled Logan’s ticket and forced his family to book a direct flight.
“Our concern was that he was underage,” Parsons told WJZY. “He was left to his own devices, several states away.”
Parsons also thinks his son should have been given a “stern warning” instead of the airline “putting a minor in this situation”.
In January 2021, American Airlines announced the start in a memo crack down on skiplagging. When contacted by WJZY and People Commenting on Parsons’ allegations, American Airlines said the city’s undercover ticketing was against their terms and conditions and was spelled out in the company’s conditions of carriage.
“Our records indicate that the customer was not asked about their trip until they were at the ticket counter when they attempted to check in for their flight,” an American Airlines representative told People in an email. “A member of our customer relations team has been in touch with them to address their concerns.”
An American Airline representative later told WJZY that they tried to contact the Parson family to find out exactly what happened to Logan at the Florida airport and were initially unaware that the teenager had been arrested. The company added to the news outlet that the second ticket the Parson family had to buy would likely not be refunded and Logan would be banned from flying American Airlines for three years for violating their policy.