Airline Sues 22-Year-Old for Sharing Great Cheap Travel Trick


Aktarer Zaman, a 22-year-old New Yorker with a knack for computers, created a website to help people find hidden, cheap fares on flights. Now, two behemoths of air travel, United Airlines and Orbitz, have filed a civil suit against the young Internet whiz. But experts say that while he may have cracked the code that could affect their bottom lines, it’s unlikely he broke any actual laws in the process.

Skiplagged, Zaman’s site, capitalized on “hidden city” ticketing, a loophole well-known to frequent air travelers. Passengers who purchase a ticket with a layover, but then end their flight in the connecting city – instead of the final destination on their tickets – can save up to hundreds of dollars.

For example, as a 2011 New York Timesarticle points out, a ticket from Des Moines to Dallas might cost $375. A ticket from Des Moines to Los Angeles – twice the distance – could cost as little as half that. As the latter flight features a layover in Dallas, by ending your travel in your layover city, you can save big.

In their suit, United and Orbitz are seeking $75,000, a figure the two companies claim represents revenue lost. Zaman, who spoke to CNN Money, says he didn’t profit off the site and that he simply made the practice of finding hidden city fares “accessible to consumers.”

What’s more, Michael Boyd, the President of aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International, says, "I don't think it's illegal what he's doing.” But Boyd acknowledged that the lawsuit from United and Orbitz, two companies with more than enough capital to pour into lengthy litigation, could end up costing Zamar a staggering amount. 

Skiplagged is currently shut down, but the Internet has rallied to the site’s defense, contributing more than $35,000 so far to a GoFundMe for Zaman’s legal fees.

Social media has also taken up the cause of spreading the word about other sources for finding hidden city fares.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}
@2023 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by