a plane on the runway

For once and for all: no…

Trends are important to watch. As the concepts of skiplagging and saving money on flights by departing from cities which aren’t “home”, or intentionally missing flights make it into pop culture, there’s one question that pops up almost every day. “Can I skip the first flight and just take the rest”. The answer is in the title, but in the interest of final clarity, here’s the answer: no. You cannot skip the first leg of a flight and take the rest.

Plane, air tickets, passport, notebook and phone with headphones on pastel background. The view from the top. The concept of planning and preparing for the travelA Little Work For Big Flight Savings

Everyone wants to save on flights, whatever cabin they’re flying in. It’s natural. One of the best ways to do this, is to find flights from a nearby city which may be offering cheaper prices, and start there – or perhaps find a ticket to a cheaper destination, via the place you actually want to go. If you don’t have bags, you just hop off. The latter is a term called “skiplagging” and here’s everything you need to know about that. When those who are new to this frugal hobby enter the game there’s always one question: can I just skip the first flight and take the rest? AKA – can I buy a ticket from Dublin to Los Angeles via London, and just hop on in London, since I live in London? Before you ask, the rules are the same literally everywhere. You can’t just buy a ticket from Boston to LA via New York and just start in New York either.

The Answer To This Question Is Always No

For once and for all – you cannot skip the first part of a flight reservation. Here’s why: whenever you miss a flight on a reservation, the rest of your flights will automatically cancel. Yes – you too, no matter how special you think you are. If you miss the last leg it doesn’t matter, but as soon as you miss the first, a middle segment or any one but the last, you lose everything. For this reason, many of the clever tricks people employ only work for one way tickets, or only work to avoid the last flight of a reservation. Don’t even try it!


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. Not to add confusion to the hard no but didn’t Iberia just lose a court case in Spain that makes it legal(in Spain) to fly any segment you’ve purchased regardless of whether or not you skipped any flight segments?

      1. Why don’t you go test it for us 😂? You can let people (mainstream travelers) know where to send the court papers when their tickets are cancelled out.

  2. Italy also has rules that the airline cannot cancel the rest of your flights if you miss a leg.

    Statements like “Before you ask, the rules are the same literally everywhere.” and “For once and for all – you cannot skip the first part of a flight reservation.” are just plain wrong, there are exceptions. They are rare and you had better be very sure if your research first, but they do exist.

    1. I helped break the stories of the court rulings in Spain and Italy. I am extremely well versed on said subjects.

      At the same time, I’m yet to know of a single person who has used those rulings without issue or repricing. Telling people to aim for a legal precedent in every day practice is laughably misguided. I stand by what’s here.

  3. Not only spain. KLM and Lufthansa are being brought to court as we speak. Most important argument: If I pay for 4 fligths and only take 3, what right has an airline to cancel those other flights. European law goes over airline policy. So this article shoudl not be “once and for all”. That is yet to be seen in 2019.

    1. Again, this advise is designed for the 99.999 percent of travelers who don’t want to arrive to find that their flight was cancelled and spend 2 years taking the airline to court to reinstate it.

  4. Hello,
    Has anyone heard of Spain’s new law working in practice ?

    I might have to miss the starting leg of an Iberia booked itinerary and am hoping that the ‘new’ Spanish law will mean that the airlines should honour the onward legs.

    All flights booked under same itinerary.
    All flights booked via Iberia (Spanish company).
    All flights with Iberia flight numbers.

    It is the MAD-LHR Iberia flight (and plane) which I might unfortunately miss and need to turn up at Heathrow to check in to the onward flight. The onward flight is on the same itinerary, is booked via Iberia and is booked under the Iberia flight number…..however is actually a BA plane & service. Is this covered by the Spanish law ? Iberia have told me (over the phone) that I should be fine turning up at Heathrow to check in for the onward travel as they would not cancel the onward segments……but has anyone had any experience of this sort of situation since the law change ?

    And yes, I know that if I can make the first segment that is what I should do. That, however, is not my question !

  5. Sorry you are wrong. The answer isn’t always – no. I’ve done this twice, both times skipping the first leg of my flight itineraries without even thinking the remainder of my legs would be axed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *