The mother of the teenager whose ticket was canceled by American Airlines says her son didn’t think skiplagging was frowned upon.
Lisa Parsons told Insider it was the 17-year-old boy’s first time flying alone.
“The intention was not to shoplift or take away from the airline’s big profits,” Parsons said.
The teenager whose ticket was canceled after American Airlines realized that he wasn’t planning to board his connecting flight didn’t know that skiplagging was frowned upon.
The 17-year-old boy’s mother, Lisa Parsons, told Insider neither she nor her son were aware that skiplagging broke American’s conditions of carriage, which is a list of rules passengers have to follow when flying with the airline.
Insider previously reported that the teenager was scheduled to fly from Gainesville, Florida, to New York City in July. But his parents planned for him to deplane during his layover in Charlotte, where he lives with his family. Skipping the final leg to New York City is a practice that’s banned by the airline.
“My kid was easily intimidated as it was his first time flying alone,” Parsons said, adding that she booked the ticket for her son. “He didn’t think that it was something that was frowned upon,” she continued.
Parsons said her son was confronted at the check-in area by several American Airlines employees, and that he didn’t receive his boarding pass. According to Parsons, her son’s ticket was canceled immediately by American, and the staff told him his ticket was “flagged” in the system.
“They basically left him to sit at the airport for a while. Several flights left for Charlotte, but they didn’t offer him an opportunity to get on any of these flights,” Parsons added. She said that she had to purchase a new direct ticket, which cost over $400, for her son to fly to Charlotte.
Skiplagging — a cost-saving strategy that’s also known as “hidden city” or “throwaway ticketing” — is where passengers book tickets with a layover and skip the flight to the final destination. It’s a practice prohibited by many airlines.
According to American’s conditions of carriage, purchasing “a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares” is prohibited as it exploits and circumvents ticket fares.
Parsons said she only uses Skiplagged, the controversial website which shows hidden city tickets, to find cheap flights. The Parsons family, she said, have only taken three flights in 10 years and that they have never skipped any of them.
“The intention was not to shoplift or take away from the airline’s big profits. The intention was to get a good flight at the right time for a price,” Parsons continued, adding that American “seemed to be a reputable airline.”
American previously said in a memo that it would start cracking down on skiplagging — and the teenager hasn’t been the only one punished for attempting to skip the final leg.
In 2020, American kicked out a passenger from its frequent-flyer program for skiplagging 95 times and asked him to pay more than $10,000. And in 2021, another passenger was said to have been billed $1,000 for skiplagging.
Read the original article on Insider