An airport sign directing travellers with connecting flights to where their gates are.

There are all sorts of ways to get the best flight prices thanks to online platforms. There's also an abundance of tricks to try and game the complex system that airlines use to determine their fares.

Some of these tricks have been around long enough for airlines to catch on. One of them is to only use one leg of a connecting flight to get a cheaper fare.

It works like this: Let's say you want to fly from Montreal to Halifax. A direct flight from the two destinations costs $300. After looking online, you find that there's a flight from Toronto to Halifax, and it has a connection in Montreal. The flight from Toronto only costs $200 so you decide to book the flight that originates from Toronto, yet only use the connecting flight from Montreal.

Believe it or not, this kind of oddity in pricing schemes happens from time to time. In the past, savvy fliers have taken advantage of this to save money on expensive flights. But airlines are catching up to this trend and are starting to implement policies against it.

Why you should be careful about this trick

Many airlines now have a policy that prevent people from taking advantage of their pricing schemes. One of the most common policies say that if you skip one leg of a flight, it'll invalidate all other legs of your itinerary.

So let's use the example of the flight from Toronto to Halifax, which has a stopover in Montreal. If you plan on skipping the flight from Toronto and trying to get on the connecting flight from Montreal, the airline might have the right to refuse you. Even worse, if you booked a return flight, your return flights may be invalidated as well.

These days, you're taking on a big risk if you try to skip connections to play the pricing system.

Airlines frown on the practice no matter which leg of the trip you attempt to skip. Say you want to fly from Edmonton to Toronto but find a ticket from Edmonton to Montreal that stops in Toronto for a lower price. You could skip the last leg of your flight, but if it's a return flight, you'll risk invalidating the return portion.

And this year, Lufthansa even tried to sue a customer who used this tactic to get a cheaper fare. While consumers have benefitted from this practice in the past, it's clear that the golden days are over and there is much more risk involved.

Protecting yourself from travel disruptions

Sometimes travellers miss connections and it's not on purpose. What happens in that case depends on many factors: was it the airline's fault? Was the connecting flight with the same airline? What are the particular airline's policies about missed connections?

Travel disruptions happen, and that's why it's important to cover your trip with a travel insurance plan. can help you compare travel insurance plans to find the best prices and the best coverage for your journey.

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