As airline ticket prices continue to outpace inflation, consumers are searching for ways to save on their next flight. A report by CNBC revealed that in the last year, the consumer price index for airline tickets has shot up by 25% — the largest jump since the Federal Reserve of St. Louis began tracking the index in 1989. In April alone, airfares spiked 18.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In order to combat the rising airfare costs, many travelers are now turning to Skiplagged, a leading airline search engine whose unique algorithm shows the cheapest hidden-city flights that airlines don’t necessarily want consumers to see. Skiplagged works for the consumer’s benefit with the goal of empowering people to use their buying power however they please.
“Skiplagged is a company that exists to help travelers save money,” says Skiplagged Founder & CEO Aktarer Zaman. “We work hard to find unique itineraries exclusive to Skiplagged that can enable travelers to maximize their savings. While we have all of the itineraries that the traditional online travel sites show, where we differ from all of the other sites is that we also show travelers the flights that the airlines don’t want anyone to see. We focus on transparency, flexibility and freedom, and then let travelers decide what options are best for them. While we give travelers all of the regular options that a traditional online travel site has, we also have found some great loopholes or hacks over the years and we are proud to bring these to light for travelers.”
Some airlines feel threatened by Skiplagged. In 2015 United Airlines sued the search engine, a case that was eventually dismissed by a Chicago judge. “While we can’t go into many details about the actual lawsuit, we can say that it didn’t get very far and that it was thrown out of court,” explains Zaman. “Airlines have large Revenue Management teams that are focused on profit maximization for the airline at the expense of the US consumer. We are proud to be on the side of the consumer and empower travelers with a platform that can help them save money. Skiplagged gives travelers the power of choice, freedom and flexibility to use their buying power however they please.”
Some of the loopholes Skiplagged uncovered that will save travelers significant sums of money include:
- Hidden-city flights or “skiplagging”: Under this loophole, a user books a flight to a destination city that is actually the airline’s layover city. For example, a user might be trying to fly from Austin to Boston and all of those flights might be $500. However, there could be an Austin to New York flight that has a layover in Boston for $200. In this case, the user books the Austin to New York flight and gets out in Boston, saving themselves $300. You can’t check a bag, but the average hidden-city savings is $128/flight.
- Unique one-way flight combinations: Skiplagged’s powerful and sophisticated flight search engine is always scouring for unique one-way combinations that travelers can book to get a great final price on a round trip flight. Other travel sites either can’t package these one-way flights together, due to restrictions imposed on them from the airlines, or these sites are using decades old technology with limitations. So, these options aren’t shown to users at the prices Skiplagged can offer.
- Virtual interlining fares –Skiplagged’s search engine also shows Virtual Interline (or VI) fares. These are fares that combine flights between airlines that don’t have a direct relationship. In these cases, the traveler has to check back in between legs across the different carriers, but in certain cases, especially international flights, the savings can be thousands of dollars.
Skiplagged’s 2023 Travel Trends
With 2022 coming to a close, it’s time to look at where consumers are heading for the New Year. 2023 is shaping up to be the year where travel officially bounces back. Skiplagged is showing searches in general are up 111% year over year, indicating interest in travel is extremely strong. Last year, Orlando was the most searched destination, followed by Los Angeles and Cancun, Mexico. This year, Los Angeles takes the top spot, followed by New York and Las Vegas.
Top searched destinations in Q12023 – Domestic
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- New York (JFK & EWR)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Orlando (MCO)
- San Francisco (SFO)
Internationally, people are heading to:
- Cancun, Mexico
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- London, England
- Hyderabad, India
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam