A North Carolina teenager was detained at an airport after he was caught skip-lagging – buying an indirect ticket with the intention of leaving the airport at a layover stop.
Hunter Parsons of Charlotte said her son Logan had an American Airlines ticket from Gainesville, Florida to New York JFK with a stop in Charlotte.
Logan was flying to Charlotte, but an indirect ticket at JFK was cheaper than a direct trip to North Carolina, so he booked that fare with the intention of skip-lagging rather than completing the entire trip.
It was the first time Kishore had flown on his own, his father said, as the family had previously taken advantage of the popular method of saving on flights.
At the gate, however, Logan’s North Carolina ID raised a red flag with the agent, and the teenager was later taken to a security room for questioning, Hunter said.
Logan’s ticket was canceled and the family was forced to buy him a direct flight.
Although not illegal, ‘skip lagging’ – also known as hidden city ticketing – is frowned upon in the industry and violates some airlines’ codes of conduct.
It was the first time Logan (pictured) had flown by himself, his father said, as the family had previously taken advantage of the popular method of saving on flights.
Hunter Parsons of Charlotte (pictured) said her son Logan had an American Airlines ticket with a stopover in Charlotte and intended to leave without re-boarding.
Logan’s American Airlines ticket was canceled and he was forced to buy a direct flight
Hunter Parsons said he has no concerns about letting teenager Logan fly alone because the family has tried the popular but risky method so many times.
‘We’ve used skip lagged almost exclusively for the last five to eight years,’ Hunter said, adding that they weren’t worried about his flight.
Although Logan arrived at the gate to check-in, the agent found out about his plans and Hunter said he was taken to a security room and questioned ‘a little bit’.
‘They got out of him that he was planning to disembark at Charlotte (sic) and wasn’t going to make the connecting flight,’ the father said.
According to Hunter, the family did not know that skip-lagging was looked down upon.
He said he wasn’t concerned that an American Airlines representative canceled the ticket, but the way the situation was handled.
‘Our concern is that he is a minor and was released to fend for himself in several states,’ Parsons told Queen City News.
An airline attorney who spoke to the outlet agreed, calling it ‘draconian’.
‘It’s his first time flying and he really doesn’t know what he’s doing,’ said Bruce Brandon. ‘That seems a bit harsh to me.
‘I just don’t understand why they would do it,’ added the lawyer.
The Parsons family in a photo Lisa Parsons posted on Facebook
‘Our concern is that he is a minor and was left to fend for himself in several states,’ Parsons (left) told Queen City News about his son Logan (right) being alone.
Brandon added that despite the airlines’ recent crackdown on hidden city ticketing, the whole situation didn’t add up to him.
‘Was it a security issue or was it a contract issue,’ the attorney added. ‘Was she held against her will in that back room?’
In recent years, many major flight providers have taken action against outlets that connect passengers with cheaper flight options through controversial methods.
United Airlines and Orbitz sued Skipplugged in 2014, claiming the company’s site ‘intentionally and maliciously’ interfered with their business.
Most recently, Lufthansa brought a lawsuit against a passenger who tried to avoid lag on their airline. The company later dropped the case.
In a statement following the incident involving Logan, American Airlines said the popular procedure was against their terms of flight.
“Purchasing tickets without the intent to operate all flights to obtain lower fares (hidden city tickets) is a violation of American Airlines’ terms and conditions and is outlined in our Conditions of Carriage online,” the statement said.
They also said they have contacted Parsons about the incident.
It was still too harsh for the family and the teenager who said they understood the business position but thought there might be a better way to go about it.
‘I think a stern warning, “Hey it’s frowned upon, if you do it again there will be consequences, financial penalties,” says Hunter Parsons.
‘We’ve used skip lagged almost exclusively for the last five to eight years,’ says Hunter (pictured) who isn’t worried about his flight.
In a statement following the incident involving Logan, American Airlines said the popular procedure was against their terms of flight
Speaking to Queen City News, an American Airlines representative said they are speaking with the family about Logan’s detention in Florida.
The spokesperson said they were not aware of the part until reaching out to the outlet.
An investigation is ongoing within the company.