Skiplagged vs United Airlines
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 a big travel partner 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.
Q & A
Posted by Aktarer Zaman
Posted by Aktarer Zaman
If I purchase a product, I am not obligated to use it in its entirety. No one can force me to eat my entire sandwich because of the waste. Furthermore, if I don't use the return portion of a round trip flight, the airlines will not refund me the money. So why couldn't I just use the portion of the flight I need?
: Dear Aktarer Zaman -I did even know about your website and service that you have been providing until I came to know about it via The economic Times. Indeed its a wonderful service catering to the mass. Remember even Facebook founder experienced a lawsuit but just see where it stands today. _ All The Best !!!!
I understand the airlines argument very well...and I know hidden city ticketing causes them problems, but my take on this is that the airlines have done this to THEMSELVES. They have all migrated to a very inefficient model (hub and spoke) which has its benefits (makes them more competitive on more routes), but which it terribly inefficient and wasteful. (Should I REALLY have to go from Florida to Seattle via Washington DC??? REALLY?) If they don't want these problems, they need to develop more routes that take people efficiently from one place to another without wasteful stops in places they don't want to go. Another huge factor is that now that the airlines have cast all pretense of service to the wind and now gouge customers regularly with abusive fees and cram us like cattle into smaller and smaller spaces we (passengers) have NO FREAKING SYMPATHY for them. NONE! As a former 1K frequent flier on United, I now fly as little as possible and utilize Amtrak whenever possible...yes it's that bad up in the sky.
People working in the travel industry have known about the "hidden city" for a long time. I've been working in it for 30 years and I knew about this in the 1980s. I could certainly have sold many more airline tickets and vacation packages by using hidden city ticketing, but I didn't. It's a violation of the airline's C of C, and the conditions of the ticket. Because of the "hub-and-spoke" system used by most airlines, and the way that the airports are set up... Yes... it is a loophole... a flaw in the system. Until now, no one has exploited it on such a large and publicly visible scale. The reason for that is that the airlines, travel agents, and others in the travel industry understand that it upsets the paradigm of airline ticket pricing. Just as a hypothetical example... Perhaps many more people fly from JFK to ATL than fly from JFK to BHM through ATL, and they are willing to pay more for the non-stop from JFK to ATL. The non-stop from JFK to ATL has more value than than the connecting flight JFK to ATL to BHM. That's just market economics. A retailer might have 2 products on his shelf, side-by-side... One costs $100 and sells for $500... the other costs $250 and sells for $280. If you knew that, would you say that was fair, or unfair? The connection is not part of the ticket contract. A flight from A to C does not include a flight from A to B and a flight from B to C, as separate products. Walking out of the terminal at B undermines the value of the non-stop flight from A to B, and will eventually result in a change in ticket-pricing policy, effectively making service between B and C unsupportable, with the result that C is cut off (except perhaps for rich people) from the airline network. What I see is that all of a sudden, a lot of people who don't understand how airline ticket pricing works are all of a sudden ecstatic that they have discovered a "secret" and are patting themselves on the back for using it to save money. The fact that it never was a secret and has been around for decades should tell you something. The guy who created Skiplagged didn't "discover" anything. He is advertising a practice that promotes a breach of contract, and a misuse of a product as it is intended to be used. This practice is "sneaking out the side door" or perhaps "taking advantage of a discount to which you are not entitled." I do understand that many people have received poor treatment from the airlines. I have been none too happy with the airlines myself, on many occasions. But... If the justification for this practice is "Two Wrongs Make a Right" -- I am not quite sure how to answer that argument.
I just purchased tickets using skiplagged which then directed me to priceline to find me the best price. I live on the far east coast traveling to vegas and the outcome was 292.00 , I'm in love with skiplagged thanks for your help! Purchased these tickets 30 days in advance.
I work in the travel industry and can see both pros and cons to this. I'm all for free enterprise in America and saving the little guy a few bucks. And I can't afford to travel often so when I do I'm on a budget and this concept is very appealing to me. We certainly know we can't simply Go-Go-Gadget transport ourselves across the country when we want to, and the airlines know they have a hold over business and leisure travelers so they will still be making money hand over fist, even if Skiplagged carries on. The cons of this, however, become the understanding of and forecasting for travel patterns. This, in turn, affects rate. Year-over-year patterns are extremely important to the travel industry, and rates are only ever intended to increase. If there ends up being several empty seats during the head-count on the second lag of a trip on what was previously considered to be a high demand date then airlines have to reconsider pricing and the true need in that city. This will likely inflate those rates and potentially change the number of flights to the second city, and also the way they price those flights out by quarter/season/etc, and also cost of doing business. As the consumer, you're entitled to use all, half or none of your purchase if you choose. And also, as individuals, unfortunately most people don't care about what happens to those folks holding out for Airplane 2 on Standby when you get off from Airplane 1. But ultimately, this becomes a bigger picture thing, not just my wallet or your wallet.
I think this is a great website which puts the airlines' corporate greed in full display. Recently some people have been calling this website 'unethical'. I find that bizarre because fuel prices have gone down nearly 100% while the cost of flights have not reduced a cent!
Robin Turner you are correct in your comment in that there is a counter-intuitive but strong case to be made that the hidden city fare structure allows for a better air transportation system for all of us. Most people don't understand the dynamics of this system, and as far as I can tell Skiplagged hasn't presented a fair and balanced outline of the pros and cons of this system. Of course, the airlines haven't done so either, as they have included a slew of inventive and harassing red herrings in their largely frivolous and vexatious litigation against Skiplagged. However, the pros and cons of hidden city ticketing are, on several levels, moot in this legal case. This fundraiser is not a "scam" as you put it. People are donating to this fundraiser because they 1) hate the airlines, and 2) don't like to see a big business abusing the legal system to unfairly bully a small guy. This lawsuit is in large part abuse of the legal system. Common sense says that in the United States you can't enjoin a person from communicating simple information about what tickets are available for sale and at what price. And even if by some miracle the airlines were able to get their way in the United States legal system, that would simply open up the door for another person to do exactly what Skiplagged is doing in some other country where the legal system can't be bought out by the airlines. The only way the US airlines could shut down a foreign Skiplagged would be if the US Government required all Internet Service Providers in the US to block all their US customers from accessing the web site of the foreign-operated version of Skiplagged, and last time I checked the US doesn't selectively block access to foreign web sites the way that China does, so that's not going to happen. Yes, when a customer uses a hidden city fare to get a cheaper ticket, they are breaching the terms of their agreement with the airline, but that's a dispute between the customer and the airline. To use an analogy, let's say that your friend is on a business trip in Las Vegas, and you tell him about a strip club that is across the street from his hotel, and he visits the strip club and takes some selfies on his cell phone with himself and the strippers. When your friend gets home, his wife borrows his cell phone to make a call and is unhappy to find the pictures of her husband with the strippers... Then instead of taking up the matter with her husband, his wife blames YOU for telling him about the strip club in the first place, and she sues you for damages, for emotional distress, for encouraging her husband to breach his marriage contract with her, and she even claims in her lawsuit that you caused a public safety hazard because she was so distraught that she FORGOT to check the tire pressure and fuel tank level in her car when she drove to her lawyers office to start the lawsuit against you. Only a crazy and insane person would do that. Well, Corporate America can be a little bit crazy and a little bit insane and sometimes when a crazy and insane person pushes people hard enough, that crazy and insane person gets their ass handed back to them on a platter, and that's what's happening here. For an average of about $20 each, some 3,000 people have donated to help kick the airline's ass, and this is just round one. If Skiplagged needs more money as this litigation continues, myself and many others will be ready to double and triple our donations to stand up for this guy's right to be free from frivolous and vexatious litigation. If the airlines are successful in this lawsuit, they could in theory sue anyone for telling anyone else about a good airfare deal. How would you like to get a lawsuit from the airlines because you had a hobby of posting on your Facebook account some good airfare deals that you found? If the airlines want to find a way to stop people from using hidden city ticketing to get cheaper flights, that's fine, I don't have a problem with that, they just need to find a different way to deal with the situation than to sue this guy for exercising his free speech rights. What the airlines are doing with this lawsuit is unconstitutional and just plain wrong.
OMG I would have never know about your site had it not been for the news of United suit.....can't beat free advertising...I loved how United claim the "want to "protect their customers" BULLSHIT...it is the silliest argument.... a customers BOUGHT and PAID for the damn ticket, why do they care where you miss your connecting flight from....LOL. Glad to see your fundraiser was a success... the people have spoken and they don't NEED United's 'protection'.
Thankyou for not screwing us consumers! ♡
Hey Robin Turner, Hey lady, no one is concerned, interested or vaguely give a fu*k what the Fox Leftists have to say! Aww ... the pain big business feels when the citizenry exert their rights to LEGALLY keep money in our pockets, instead of lining up for the air lines kool-aid specials. They can give it, but can't take it ! BOO HOO
Hi Aktarer, I do not think you need to have anything to be afraid of when it comes to lawsuit. I have flown quite a lot since the 80´s, I hold a Gold membership for life with SAS (Scandinavian), had silver at the BA for long time. At most, I had 250 travel days a year! What is described is exactly what our travel agents made manually to us who travelled a lot. That is, they had this information in their heads, or found their way manually to be able to give us as cheap tickets as possible. There were many tickets you just threw away, when you only needed them when ordering and not during the actual flights, That is what Aktarer Zamanm has done is nothing new, only what he made was to assure that it can be done mechanically and not manually. Therefore, the airlines will not able to prove any faults, since it is not a new method, but rather long known facts about how the airlines work. It was a very common way to work. Our travel agent in Sweden, Nyman & Schultz who later were acquired by American were phenomenal to find such tickets and sometimes it was very tricky roads and only some tickets were used. For example, I remember that tickets from Stockholm to London were very cheap if the ticket would include other cities like Stockholm-London-Zurich. Then you got another ticket to go home like London-Stockholm and Frankfurt. It was quite often cheaper to buy single tickets than return. I.e. we used the first ticket and threw away the rest. Just had to throw the right ticket. So they airlines have nothing against Aktarer! I will be happy to work on Aktarer´s side with his lawyers against the airlines. He only made the search simplier. Ulf Kullenius email@example.com Mjölnarvägen 34 SE-131 31 Nacka Sweden +46-702-467 715
As a Brit who married an American, I travel back and forth a lot and have been bled dry by the cost of flying internationally. As a result, I usually can't bring my wife with me when I visit family in the UK. Using your site and its brilliantly crafty yet logical method, I've found flights that are two or three hundred dollars cheaper, and I may be able to budget bringing 'the missus' with me to England this year. Thank you so much and best of luck in continuing this fantastic operation! If the big airlines are worried about this (perfectly legal) loophole you've 'exploited', then it is up to THEM to overhaul the system and make air travel accessible and affordable. In the meanwhile, keep doing what you're doing - you're fantastic.
Good luck with the suit. Skiplagged's method of helping people find the cheapest fares is a refreshingly efficient change. If you have any leftover funds, I would suggest donating to Operation Turn Around (OTA). They would happily use the money to expand programs such as their Play with Culture series, which seeks to educate, enlighten and discuss different views through the promotion of cultural appreciation, food, language and the arts. Funds could go toward sponsoring trips outside the US for those who have never traveled abroad. Thank you for considering OTA, and best wishes.
Please donate any remaining funds to Electronic Frontier Front. They are leading the way in engaging people around the country to protect internet freedom!
I find it funny when people scream "Free Market" until someone discovers a way to use the free market to cost them a few bucks.