United Airlines are trying to shut down a website that offers "hidden city' discount fairs.
United Airlines are trying to shut down a website that offers “hidden city’ discount fairs.

United Airlines and online travel website Orbitz have filed a
lawsuit against a young computer programmer who used a clever trick to
get discounted airfares.
The lawsuit filed in Illinois federal
court in November alleges that Aktarer Zaman, who operates the website
Skiplagged.com, illegally promoted the use of the technique to get
discounts.
Skiplagged, launched in 2013 by the recent university
graduate, enabled travellers to get a fare below the published rate by
skipping the final leg of a flight.
The so-called “hidden city”
fares provides tickets to a city that is not the final arrival city, but
an intermediate or connecting location.
The technique exploits a quirk in airfares – where some long-haul flights are less expensive than a short-haul journey.
For
example, a customer buying a ticket from New York to Los Angeles, where
competition is high, could get a lower rate than a flight to Chicago,
but could simply get off the plane during a stop in Chicago and avoid a
higher fare.

The lawsuit alleges that this technique represents
“federal unfair competition, tortious interference with contract, breach
of contract, and common law misappropriation”.
The complaint
maintains that “hidden city” ticketing “is strictly prohibited by most
commercial airlines because of logistical and public safety concerns”
and violates the terms of service of carriers.
Orbitz and United have asked the court to shut down Skiplagged and to award monetary damages.
Zaman,
who according to media reports is 22, posted a notice on his website
that the lawsuit could “force us to remove results only we find, getting
in the way of saving you lots of money on airfare”.
He asked for contributions to his legal defence.
“I
launched Skiplagged.com last year with the goal of helping consumers
become savvy travellers,” he wrote on the online forum Reddit, adding
that the method “has potential to easily save consumers up to 80 per
cent when compared with the cheapest on Kayak, for example.
Finding
these has always been difficult before Skiplagged because you’d have to
guess the final destination when searching on any other site.”
According
to his LinkedIn page, Zaman graduated last year from Rensselaer
Institute of Technology and has worked as a software engineer for Amazon
and Cisco.