Aktarer Zaman created Skiplagged.com to help travelers find cheap flights by using a strategy called “hidden city” ticketing. But United Airlines and Orbitz want to shut him down.
The two companies filed a civil lawsuit against Aktarer Zaman, the 22-year-old computer whiz from New York City, last month. He created the website last year.
This is how Skiplagged.com works. Let’s say you want to fly from San Francisco to New York. You could actually book a flight from San Francisco to Orlando with a layover in New York and just get off in New York. You wouldn’t need to take that last leg of the flight to Orlando.
Now, this would only work if you booked a one-way ticket and checked no bags. Because… your bags would end up in Orlando.
Why would anyone do this? Well, they aren’t the cheapest 100 percent of the time, but most of the time, they are much cheaper.
Aktarer Zaman knew a lawsuit was most likely coming, but makes sure to point out that there isn’t anything illegal about his website. Adding that he hasn’t made a profit via the website. Aktarer Zaman’s sole goal is to help travelers get the best prices by showing the “inefficiency” of the airline industry, which insiders have known about for YEARS.
“[Hidden city ticketing] have been around for a while, it just hasn’t been very accessible to consumers,” Aktarer Zaman told CNNMoney
“I don’t think it’s illegal what he’s doing,” said Michael Boyd, President of Boyd Group International, an aviation consulting firm in Evergreen, Co.
Typically, airlines offer cheaper prices on those destinations that aren’t regional hubs. Several of those flights are often routed through very popular destinations. Unfortuntately, if many people take advantage of that, it could cost the airlines a lot. Hence why they are suing him.
Zaman said Skiplagged.com is just a “side project.”
About Aktarer Zaman
Born in Bangladesh, Aktarer Zaman grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science at age 20 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He lives in Manhattan and works at a technology start-up.