Trump’s Team Discloses They Violate Airline Rules, Use Throwaway Ticketing Site Skiplagged For Airfare

While most of the media around former President Trump’s Save America PAC centers on their paying $20 million dollars in legal fees, there’s a nugget buried in their travel expenses that shows the political committee also violates airline rules when purchasing tickets.

Save America’s disclosure form shows them covering a fee to Skiplagged, the website that assists in booking throwaway or hidden city tickets.

Throwaway ticketing is a practice that’s gone on for decades. Airlines often charge more money for non-stops than they do for connecting itineraries. So people book a flight with a connection through the city they want to travel to, and just don’t take that second connecting flight. As a result, they can often save money, but there are risks.

It is not illegal to engage in throwaway ticketing. It violates airline rules. And people disagree with the ethics. You ‘agree’ to the airline’s contract, with terms you likely do not know about, when you buy the ticket. Most people think they’re buying seats on two flights, so it’s up to them whether to use those seats or not. To the airlines, though, a trip between Gainesville and New York is different than a trip from Gainesville and Charlotte and comes with different pricing. Flying to Charlotte instead of New York, at a cheaper price, is stealing.

Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia trumpeted his use of throwaway ticketing to highlight that when he’d take a private jet flight he wasn’t getting a financial benefit. So high profile people using the tactic isn’t new, and doesn’t get them banned the way American Airlines recently banned a teen for doing it. If you try it, it’s important to know the risks.

  • If your flight is delayed or cancelled, your airline may want to re-route you through a different hub than the city you actually wanted to fly to (and get off in).
  • You can’t check bags, because those will go to your final ticketed destination rather than where you’re flying. And if you’re forced to gate check a bag when overhead bins are full, you’re in a bind.
  • You can only book these one way because if you throw away anything other than the last flight in your itinerary the rest of the trip gets cancelled.

And of course since you can’t check bags on a ticket like this, you really shouldn’t check in at the airport and involve a live agent in the process. Check in online or using the mobile app. And if you don’t do that, at least use a kiosk.

The Biden administration’s proposed airline fee disclosure rules would require any website displaying airline schedules to show specific fee information prominently. They treat airlines as owning that fee information, and allow airlines to choose which sites to work with and provide fee data to. By not distributing the fee information that websites are required by law to display, airlines can shut down services like Skiplagged that they do not like.

Will airlines ban Trump’s campaign team over violating ticketing rules? Could 2024 be an election over throwaway and hidden city ticketing, with Biden against it and Trump in favor?

Meanwhile, looking through the financial disclosures, with the Trump Hotel in DC gone (it re-opened as the Waldorf Astoria last year) the Save America PAC appears to favor The Jefferson hotel when in Washington, although not exclusively.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Can’t fault anyone that uses this tactic. It’s beating them at their own dumb game. I wouldn’t, however, book using Skiplagged as that will likely raise red flags.

  2. Hidden city ticketing at lower than the price of a direct ticket to there is due to the airlines’ monopoly at certain locations. The monopolization is not in the best interest of the flying public. Maybe the FAA should require that all segments are priced and that no segments can be negatively priced plus the lowest price on a segment is available whether the passenger continues on or stops.

  3. Actually love it. There’s at least someone there with a brain to go ahead and use this tactic to save money.

    And no, the 2024 election won’t be about this LOL. It will be between two bad choices, and the only question is who is going to collapse the US quicker than the other.

  4. I mean, you can’t check luggage. The whole thing is dumb and weird. I get three free checked bags with my status. I don’t have time to comment on the interplay of govenmenr regulation, government subsidies, civil rights laws, freedom of contract theory, and free market forces I don’t have time for this.

  5. I agree Dude that airline tickets are a non-issue. And yes, we have two old men who are lousy choices. But at least one has a vision for a functioning country that can help people who need it, and has done his best to make that work. As for the other he is, as his ghost writer put it, a “Black Hole”, not to mention a pathological liar who stiffed his contractors and made fun of a handicapped reporter. There’s no need to repeat his other alleged crimes, which are legion. Maybe The New Yorker put it best when it said the only way he could feel big was to make others look small. And this is the cult leader that some people want?

  6. The Trump world is one of criminality and nothing more, so none of this surprises. Trump and his base reflect the downward trajectory of the United States and its soulless, crass, money-grubbing ethos.

  7. I always use Skiplagged because I like their layout and how they list all the flights, the filters, etc.

    I never actually buy a Skiplagged flight. And I doubt they bought a flight for 10 bucks

  8. That’s nothing. Joe Biden used to skip lag and got lost in Scranton once. He got on the wrong Amtrak. Once the kids began smelling differently he knew something was wrong.

  9. Gotta save that money for his legal defense. Rules are for other people anyway, not the grifter and his minions.

  10. sells regular tickets too, not just hidden city. Sorry to debunk the great Trump travesty…(although I’m keen on exposing his real issues…).

  11. Of all the rules this guy breaks, this is the one no one cares about. Just a couple months ago he was celebrating a legal “victory” where he was “cleared” of raping because he used his fingers and he got the lesser charge of “sexual abuse”, so the bar for folks to consider him breaking a rule is ridiculously high.

  12. I think it’s actually more ethical to save the money because it increases the chance I will stop flying AA. This causes me no concerns at all. I hope AA bans me.

  13. I loathe Trump and everything he stands for, but this is a non-issue. There is nothing illegal about using Skiplagged. The airlines just hate it because someone has found a work-around to their pricing model.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how prison oranges goes with spray tan orange, but not interested in making things like this that distract from his real crimes an issue. With airlines raking in record revenue and profit it’s hard for them to argue that Skiplagged is harming them or their $450K per year whiny-a@@ pilots.

  14. Trump has his own private plane paid for by the countless idiots that continually send his PAC contributions. Highly doubt he was the one directly involved with this transaction in question. Politics has been way more lucrative for Trump than his many failures as a businessman. PT Barnum had nothing on this clown.

  15. Drama Queens!! Your President Dementia along with his son Crackhead Hunter will soon be in jail. I can’t wait to hear the libs crying crocodile tears when President Trump is sworn in!!!

  16. Looks like the skip lagging is not the biggest problem today! Keep donating folks.

  17. I prefer to focus on really illegal things, like theft for example.

    You libs can be sure we won’t have Sam Brinton in any charge with a Republican administration.

  18. @BBK,

    Okay you focus on the theft of classified records and taxes. And note Sam Briton is in prison. You’re welcome

  19. Someone at my work recently booked EWR -> LAX -> HNL intending to get off at LAX only to have the second leg cancelled so was force rebooked to EWR -> HNL nonstop on nonrefundable United flight! Somehow the flight to Los Angeles was much more expensive at the time

  20. Throwaway ticketing isn’t scummy, but it does come with some risks because of out-of-control airlines lack of integrity and their use of privileged positions to try to selectively lord over individuals and the public at large.

    And there is a huge difference between paying for segments not to be flown and not paying for services/good ordered or using refusal of timely payment as leverage to shake down the supplier/seller for a massive discount after delivery of goods/services.

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