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Raymond Reddington
Legendary Vendor
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[TuT] Discounted Flight Deals - Intro to Price Scanners, Price Errors and Skiplagging

Posted 09-13-2022, 06:13 PM
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Cheap Flights Tutorial
An introduction to skiplagging, price errors and price scanners.

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I.) Prelude
The primary objective of this tutorial is to provide you with some insight into a special method of booking flights. Depending upon your travel schedule, frequency and preferences, this should be able be an effective cost-cutting method. Now, this doesn't involve any sort of "hacking" but its just a life hack to getting cheaper flights. You may have heard of the concept/idea behind this before but if you haven't, I'd like to introduce you to it. We shall be discussing price scanners, price errors, and skiplagging through this tutorial.

I've personally been able to save friends & family thousands by introducing them to these concepts. The concept of skiplagging (explained below) is very ideal for light/frequent travel.

II.) Introduction

We shall begin with the concept of price scanners. Price scanners are platforms/engines that allow you to mass search all available flight option for your preferred destinations. You shall have an entire list of airlines, travel agencies and providers that are able to fulfill your requirements.

I shall mention a few price scanner platforms below that can be used to scan for cheaper flights.
If you're booking from a singular provider and you're not after anything specific such as loyalty points, miles, etc. I recommend using price-scanners to find the best deal you can, as you might not be getting the best deal. While using scanners, make sure to follow these precautions:
  • Look up the baggage allowance on flights before you book and match it against your own requirements
  • Check airline & agency reviews before you book - you can use mainstream travel agencies like Expedia, AirAsia however I recommend staying against agencies like GoToGate or fairly less known agencies. Always DYOR because a few savings is never worth having to rebook your flight on short notice at a high price
  • Always double-check key details such as departure airport, arrival airport, timings and cancellation policy constraints while booking.

Price errors are when airlines or agencies accidentally list a wrong price for a flight, effectively selling the tickets on discount. Mistake airfares are also known as error fares or airline price glitches. It means that either an airline or an online travel agency accidentally lists the wrong price for a flight, selling the ticket for much less than it is worth.

Usually, you can snag hundreds of dollars of savings on these tickets. The key is to act quickly, since they are corrected quickly. So if you see one, jump on it as soon as possible. A mistake fare can provide as much as a 90% discount. Once the airline or online travel agency notices, the ticket price will be discontinued. Time is of the essence. Price scanners always pick up on error fares, and have price history options (Google Flights) to show whether the prices for your flight are comparatively lower/higher than it used to be. If you see a flight 50%+ cheaper and it's not an off-season, it's likely a price error. I've listed a few providers below:

Generally, price errors are honored by airlines because they cannot get away by just providing a full refund to you, without facing a massive PR blowback and public outlash. For example, when several thousand passengers purchased flights from London to Tel Aviv & Dubai for the price of $220, British Airways had to rectify the price error and issued everyone refunds with $150+ in flight coupons.

You're never left empty-handed if you get stranded by a price error. Cancellations for these are less likely to happen closer to the trip date, and are more likely to happen a few days after booking, if they do happen.

III.) Skiplagging

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Here I introduce you to one of the primary concepts I'd like to cover within this tutorial - Skiplagging. Skiplagging is the practice of booking a flight where your intended destination is one of the layover airports, and not the destination airport. So if you're travelling from city A to city B, you book a flight going from city A to city C, with city B as a layover. SkipLagged.com is an online travel agency that operates off tactic of skiplagging.

Skiplagging is also known as hidden-city ticketing or throwaway ticketing. There are certain rules & guidelines that come with skip-lagging that you can't break. If you do so, you might end up ruining your trip and perhaps your whole vacation/week. It's a secret hack followed by people who love to travel and save money while doing so. The unspoken rules of skiplagging are:

  1. Never tell anyone that you intend to skip a flight, especially not the airlines or your travel agent.
  2. It will only work if you're only going with carry-on luggage, because check-in luggage is tagged to go through till the ticketed final destination.
  3. If you're low on carry-on luggage space, you can try the pillow hack. It'll help you to carry an extra 1-2kg of clothes along with you.
  4. NEVER use this with round-trip flights. The airline will likely cancel your entire reservation including your return ticket. If you intend on doing it on the way back, use a different airline/agency instead. As opposed to the case of price errors, they're less likely to offer your coupons or compensations when they do so here.
  5. NEVER use your frequent flyer number, airline credit/rewards card or miles points while trying to book a hidden-city flight. Airlines will hold your perks as leverage over your head while penalizing you for skipping your flgiht.
  6. Personally I would recommend you to just do it once in a while, and only when the cost savings are over $300+ as airlines might end up banning/blacklisting you if you keep skiplagging flights very frequent. It's a good one-time solution that can be used occasionally without any repercussions

The main topic comes whether skip-lagging is legal or not. While it has not been outrightly called out or banned, airlines generally frown upon such practices since it reduces their profitability margins. While courts have sided with the skiplaggers in the past, it isn't really worth the effort if you abuse it too frequently and get banned from certain airlines. Some countries like Spain have ruled outright that skip-lagging is a perfectly legal procedure however it is my recommendation that it should not be blatantly abused.

A fun fact worth mentioning is that - In November 2014, SkipLagged.com was sued by by United Airlines and Orbitz, claiming that the website violated of terms and fare rules. The lawsuit was thrown out by the courts. Ever since then, SkipLagged carries the tagline/title of "Our flights are so cheap, United sued us... but we won".

IV.) Implementation Examples

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09-13-2022, 06:30 PM
Good share man.