Guy Sued By Airlines After Finding Genius Way To Get Cheaper Flights
United Airlines is suing a 22-year-old who has created a website offering extremely cheap plane tickets.
Its service is based around what is known as "hidden city" ticketing, or buying a ticket with a layover in one's destination.
The passenger simply doesn't get on the second flight of the trip.
This only works, however, if the flight is one-way and includes no checked bags, since they would arrive in the final destination.
Zaman says there is nothing illegal about Skiplagged, but United Airlines and Orbitz, an affiliated flight-planning company, call the website "unfair competition" and its money-saving schemes "strictly prohibited."
The two corporations filed a civil lawsuit last month seeking $75,000 in lost revenue.
Zaman, a native of Bangladesh who grew up in Brooklyn, knew he'd get sued sooner or later for what he calls a "side project."
He claims to have made no profit from Skiplagged and says hidden city ticketing has been utilized for many years.
Its the airlines' fault, he says, for ignoring such an obvious "inefficiency" in ticket prices.
Michael Boyd, president of aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International, told CNN that Skiplagged isn't illegal since he was taught to use the exact same strategy when he worked as a ticket agent for American Airline 30 years ago.
But if the masses learn of hidden city ticketing, he said, the airlines could suffer serious consequences.
Zaman's finances will most likely take a hard hit regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.
Even if the website is shut down, however, another will soon take its place.
Zaman attained a bachelor's degree from the prestigious Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at just 20 years old. He currently lives in Manhattan and works at an unnamed tech startup.