If you have a connecting flight and you want to skip the first leg of it, then all other flights (or “legs”) on your ticket will automatically be canceled. So in reality, you cannot skip the first leg of the flight if you want to board the second leg of the flight.
Similarly, if you have two connections, it also doesn’t make sense to skip the second leg since the third one would be canceled as well.
When Skipping the First Leg of the Flight Is Allowed
The good news is that if you have a valid reason, canceling the first leg of the flight is allowed most of the time. But it depends on each airline and your persuasion skills. You need to call the airline and explain why you won’t be able to make it to the first flight. If they think that your reason is good enough, they won’t cancel the rest of your flights.
Good reasons include family member death, emergencies, expected delays, and other force Majeure events. For example, if the first leg of your flight is expected to be delayed due to bad weather and it can cause you to miss the rest of your flights, you can try getting to the connection via other means (car, train, etc.) and boarding the second connection. This would be a good enough reason for most airlines.
Even if you want to skip the first leg of the flight without a valid reason, it’s worth it to call the airline, explain why you want to do that, and hear their response. Sometimes, they allow skipping the first leg of the flight if you’ve decided to do a road trip or some other spontaneous changes in your itinerary, but not always. But they will automatically cancel the rest of your flights if you don’t notify them at all.
Can You Skip the Last Leg of the Flight?
Airlines automatically cancel the rest of your flights if you skip one to combat “hidden city ticketing” (intentionally skipping a leg of your flight to get cheaper tickets). Often, you can save a lot of money this way, but it’s against airline policies.
If you skip the last leg of the flight, there aren’t any other flights left for the airline to cancel. You shouldn’t get into trouble by doing this because it isn’t against any laws.
But if you have a lot of points saved up with the airline, they might cancel them because you did something that was against their rules. But they do this rarely, and only to passengers who do it very frequently.
For example, American Airlines gave one passenger an ultimatum for 52 hidden city tickets. He could pay up 2500$ or all his points would be canceled and his AAdvantage membership would be terminated.
Lufthansa once tried to sue a passenger for doing hidden city ticketing, but the case was dismissed by the judge because the passenger wasn’t doing anything illegal. Airlines legally going against passengers is very rare, and they’ve never won in court.
How to Find Cheaper Tickets by Skipping the Last Leg of the Flight
Disclaimer: Skipping parts of connecting flights is against airline policies. It isn’t breaking any laws, but you’re breaching the airline Terms of Carrige. We don’t encourage doing this, so do it at your own risk.
Most people use Skyscanner to find cheap flights. And while it’s a good tactic by itself, you can combine it with research from Skiplagged. If you need to get anywhere, do your research on Skyscanner first and then on Skiplagged, to see if there are any hidden city ticketing deals available.
Simply look up if, on the date that you’re looking to fly in, there are any flights marked as “skiplegged”. I’ve been able to find incredible deals doing this, saving upwards of 1000$ per flight and sometimes even more.
But remember that skipping the last leg of your flight might not work with checked baggage. That’s because checked bags are usually checked-in to the final destination, so you won’t be able to access them during your connection. If you’re doing hidden city ticketing, you need to fly only with a carry-on and a personal item.
Summing Up – Skipping Legs on Connecting Flights
Unfortunately, skipping the first leg of the flight isn’t a good idea if you intend to do it on purpose to save some money. But if you have a valid reason why you can’t make it to the first flight, the airline might not cancel the rest of the flights if you explain it to them.
It only makes sense to skip the last leg of your flight if you can find cheaper tickets this way. But you shouldn’t overdo it because airlines crack down on passengers who do it very often. They often demand reimbursements and cancel all saved points and memberships. Doing it every now and then probably won’t get you in trouble though.