Airline pricing debate descends on GNV

airport jet

A recent incident at Gainesville Regional Airport is making national headlines this week after American Airlines detained a North Carolina teen for using a travel hack intended to save on airfare.  

The event flared on June 30 when, according to Queen City News, the 17-year-old was pulled aside, asked questions and forced to repurchase a ticket without getting refunded for his original passage. 

Logan Parsons had a ticket booked by his father. The ticket showed that Parsons would fly from Gainesville to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then on to New York. In reality, Parsons only wanted to fly to North Carolina, where he lives.  

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Sometimes airline websites offer cheaper flights to an end destination—New York in Parsons’ case—than a direct flight where you want to go—North Carolina. By booking a flight from Gainesville to New York, through Charlotte, the Parsons received a cheaper fare, but Parsons did not intend to continue to New York, throwing airlines off.  

Parsons’ father told Queen City News that the family has used the loophole for five to eight years through, a website designed to take advantage of the pricing.  

But airlines have fought “skip lagging” or “hidden city ticketing” for years, incorporating prohibitions in the fine print of terms and suing companies that aid the practice. 

Gainesville Regional Airport sign
Photo by Seth Johnson

United Airlines sued in 2015, but a judge stopped the lawsuit because the Chicago court was the wrong location for the challenge. The website CEO, Aktarer Zaman, was 22 years old at the time, and Southwest Airlines also sued in 2021.  

The website now proudly displays: “Our flights are so cheap, United sued us… but we won.” 

For international flights, the practice can save hundreds of dollars, but a crackdown by airlines also increases the risk, especially on the return journey. Penalties to passengers could include canceled flights, loss of loyalty reward points and a ban from an airline, according to Business Insider.  

The cancellation left Parsons in Florida without an immediate way home. His family booked him a more expensive direct ticket from Gainesville to Charlotte to bring him back.  

Even though the issue involved a problem with American Airlines, Erin Porter, spokesperson for GNV, said the airport often gets dragged into debates outside its control. 

In addition to going to the media, Parsons’ father left a one-star review for Gainesville Regional Airport, explaining the debacle and how Hunter “was left to fend for himself and figure out how to get home on his own” and added, “Safe to say we will never use this airport or American Airlines ever again.”

Porter said airlines are tenants at the airport—like individual stores renting space at Oaks Mall. She said GNV and its 40 employees take care of cleaning, management, traffic control and ground crew.  

While the airport can’t control how TSA employees treat customers, or how airlines issue tickets or low-flying planes in the area, Porter said the airport does catch a lot of the flak. 

“We get pulled into stuff all the time, and we help out where we can,” Porter said.  

But on issues like skip lagging, the problem is between the airlines and the customers, Porter said, noting she didn’t even know what the practice was until it happened at GNV.  

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Lisa Parsons

Corrections needed as I am the mother of the teen involved. Several errors in this piece because it was taken from a single source that did not accurately give all the information.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lisa Parsons
D.A. Aldridge

Lisa, I’d like to know how the airline knew he was skip lagging. Did they ask him or ask for ID that said he was from Charlotte, or did he tell them? I’m confused about this. Stay on them and make them refund the original ticket! American Airlines is the WORST! I avoid it if at all possible, even taking a more expensive Delta flight at times. The problem we have here in Gainesville is that we don’t have enough airlines servicing this airport.


Aww, poor wittle airwhines! Me cry.

D.A. Aldridge

I don’t see the problem. Skip lagging is NOT illegal, also how did they know he was doing it, unless he told them or told someone else and they overheard him? Airlines regularly overbook, and Charlotte to NY is a very popular flight, so it’s not like they’re going to lose any money.