Discount Air Travel Site Sued by Travel Companies

Air TravelSkiplagged, a site dedicated to finding cheap airfares is facing legal action from Orbitz and United Airlines. The two major travel companies say they are suing the site to regain lost revenue.

The site is dedicated to uncovering lower airfares by identifying cheaper flights that include a stopover in your desired destination. For instance, suppose you wanted to fly to New York. It may be cheaper to book a flight to a lower-demand destination which includes a stopover in New York than to simply book onto a New York flight. Then, when you reach the stopover you simply remain in New York rather than travelling on to the final destination. The site in question is dedicated to helping people identify opportunities to save money through using this method.

There are some catches to this approach. For a start, it only works with one-way tickets. Furthermore, those who travel with this method cannot book in any luggage. If they did, they would find they are unable to claim it in their stopover destination as it would be taken onwards to the destination they had booked. However, many travellers have found that this kind of booking is adequate for their needs and have been saving money with help from the website in question.

Orbitz and United Airlines claim that by helping customers to do this, Skiplagged is engaging in “unfair competition.” They are suing Skiplagged in order to reclaim the revenue they have lost as a result of people manipulating the system and paying less for their flights. The claim that the revenue they have lost as a result of people using Skiplagged amounts to at least US$75,000.

The two firms said, in their legal filing, that the site was making them breach contracts by “intentionally and maliciously” interfering in their operations. Furthermore, they claimed that the use of this kind of “hidden city” ticket is restricted on account of “logistical and public safety concerns,” meaning that passengers were breaking the rules when using Skiplagged.

However, the founder of Skiplagged, Aktarer Zaman, denies any wrongdoing. He claims that he has merely helped people to save money and exposed “inefficiencies” in the way airlines handle ticket prices. He also claims not to have made any profit from the site. The 22-year-old developer has launched a fundraising campaign to help raise the money needed to fight the legal battle.

In a blog post, Zaman wrote: “Everything Skiplagged has done and continues to do is legal, but the only way to effectively prove this is with lawyers.”

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