http://www.addurl.nu/ Maureen Renfro's Blog: Tech Wizard Sued By United Airlines Over Website Helping Customers Exploit Booking System To Get Cheap Flights

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tech Wizard Sued By United Airlines Over Website Helping Customers Exploit Booking System To Get Cheap Flights


A tech wizard who set up a website to help people exploit a booking loophole to get cheap flights has raised $30,000 in donations for his legal battle with United Airlines.

The carrier is suing Aktarer Zaman, 22, for showing thousands of fliers how to employ the 'hidden city' ticketing technique to make substantial savings on their fares.

His website, Skiplagged.com, lets fliers get cheap fares by telling airlines that their final destination is only a stop-over.

This way, some fliers can book a cheap, multi-leg ticket instead of a more expensive direct one - and simply leave the airport part during the stop.


But lawyers for United and travel site Orbitz have said the strategy creates 'unfair competition' and demanded $75,000 from the coder - prompting a flood of online donations from supporters.

A crowdfunding page on the GoFundMe website has so far attracted $27,000 to pay for the legal battle, with donations from 1,360 people.


On the page, Zaman wrote that he is certain his strategy is legal, and that he has attracted United's wrath because they are doing 'too good of a job' saving people money.

He said: 'Skiplagged's sole purpose has always been to help you become savvy travelers.

We have been doing that by exposing pricing inefficiencies for air travel, among other things.

'Unfortunately, we have been doing too good of a job so United Airlines and Orbitz recently teamed up with a lawsuit to get in the way.

'Everything Skiplagged has done and continues to do is legal, but the only way to effectively prove this is with lawyers. Please show your support for Skiplagged by donating towards this campaign to help fund our legal team.'

The 'hidden city' technique has existed for years, though Zaman's tool allows consumers to take advantage of it with less work on their part. The website promises reductions of as much as 45 per cent on some  routes.