The giant US airline, United, has launched a civil lawsuit against a man who shows how to save money on airfares!
Can you believe this? From a country that has always shown the world that the customer is right and that it is good to look for the cheapest deals.
From an airline that has for decades operated under the slogan of ‘The Friendly Skies’. A true slogan in my opinion.
Well, United Airlines and Orbitz have filed a civil lawsuit against Aktarer Zaman, 22-year-old founder of Skiplagged.com. The young man created the website in question to help people find cheap flights using a strategy known as “hidden city” ticketing.
The idea is that you buy an airline ticket that has a layover at your actual destination. Say you want to fly from New York to San Francisco — you actually book a flight from New York to Lake Tahoe with a layover in San Francisco and get off there, without bothering to take the last leg of the flight.
This travel strategy only works if you book a one-way flight with no checked bags (they would have landed in Lake Tahoe).
It’s not like these tickets are the cheapest all the time, but they often are.
United and Orbitz called Skiplagged “unfair competition” in the lawsuit, alleging that the website is promoting “strictly prohibited” travel. So obviously, they want $75,000 from the 22-year-old for lost revenue.
Zaman said he knew a lawsuit was inevitable but he points out that there’s nothing illegal about his web site.
He also said he has made no profit via the website and that all he’s done is help travelers get the best prices by exposing an “inefficiency,” in airline prices that insiders have known about for decades.
The airline industry has always had a bizarre approach to fares. Passengers have had to seek out other ways like those highlighted to cut costs.
For example, airlines used to charge astronomical fares for a single ticket, so passengers used to buy a return at a much cheaper fare and not use the return leg.
Low cost airlines have helped passengers by charging each flight separately and legacy carriers have had to introduce these fares (sort of).
I guess we’ve all been hit by those when the oil price increases, but what about refunds or reductions when the oil price drops like now?
This is the site that is being sued.
I’ve tried the site and it is interesting, but I didn’t see anything exciting on LHR – TFS. So I would probably not use the site again.
Perhaps most other people would have the same opinion had not had the fabulous free publicity from United.