United Airlines Suing 22-Year-Old Who Figured Out Genius Way to Buy Cheaper Tickets

Let’s say you’re looking for a one-way flight from Houston to Atlanta. The cheapest one you can find is $300.

However, you happen to stumble upon another flight, from Houston to Baltimore, that has a layover in Atlanta. The cost of this trip is only $250.

Since you’re not planning to check any luggage, you book the Baltimore ticket and simply skip the second leg of the trip, getting off at your real destination in Atlanta with an extra $50 in your pocket.

The strategy is referred to as “hidden city” ticketing, and it is the basic concept behind Skiplagged.com, a website founded last year by tech-savvy 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman.

A screenshot from Skiplagged.com

But while travelers are certainly excited about the opportunity to save money on flights, Zaman’s creative service has been ruffling some feathers in the airline industry.

Recently, United Airlines and its ticket-selling partner Orbitz.com filed a lawsuit aimed at shutting Skiplagged down.

In the lawsuit, United and Orbitz argue that Skiplagged.com is “unfair competition”, and accuse the the site of promoting a “strictly prohibited” method of travel. They are seeking $75,000 in lost revenue from Zaman’s site.

Zaman says he knew a lawsuit would come sooner or later, and points out that there is nothing illegal about his website or the service it provides. He told CNN Money that he makes no money off of the site and is simply helping travelers get the best deals on flights by exposing “inefficiencies” in airlines’ ticketing practices.