- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2014

United Airlines and Orbitz have filed a civil lawsuit against a 22-year-old New Yorker for running a website that searches for the cheapest flights available using a loophole called hidden city ticketing.

Aktarer Zaman, who founded Skiplagged.com last year, says he isn’t doing anything illegal by exposing an “inefficiency” in airline pricing, a local Fox affiliate reported.

The idea of hidden city ticketing is to buy a one-way airline ticket that has a layover at your actual destination and then ditching the last leg of the trip. For instance, if you want to fly from New York to San Francisco, you would book your flight from New York to Lake Tahoe, with a layover in San Francisco, and then get off there, the Fox affiliate reported.

Travelers can save a considerable amount of money by using the strategy, much to the dismay of the airlines.

United and Orbitz are reportedly seeking $75,000 in lost revenue from Mr. Zaman, calling Skiplagged “unfair competition” that’s promoting “strictly prohibited” travel.

Mr. Zaman maintains that he has not made a profit from the website and has only exposed a loophole that has been around for years.

“[Hidden city ticketing] has been around for a while; it just hasn’t been very accessible to consumers,” he told the Fox affiliate.

Michael Boyd, president of the aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International, agreed, saying he was trained 30 years ago by American Airlines to actually help customers find hidden city fares.

“I don’t think it’s illegal what he’s doing,” Mr. Boyd told the station. 

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