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United Airlines And Orbitz Sue Skiplagged Over “Hidden City” Ticketing

November 22, 2014 - Lets say you wanted to fly from Boston to New York direct and the cost of the airfare was $300. However, but the carrier has a flight from Boston to New Jersey with a stop first in New York and that flight was for $260. So you think to yourself, well I'll take that flight and just get off in New York.

In the airline industry that is referred to as “hidden city” ticketing, its a travel arrangement where the passenger’s intended final destination is not the final arrival city on his or her itinerary, but rather an intermediate or connecting city.

Well Skiplagged, a web based website helps consumers search for and book "hidden city" airline flights, an action that many airlines prohibit and for obvious reasons. United Airlines and Obits are suing the owner of this web based company, Aktarer Zaman to stop him from offering this service.

United Airlines And Orbitz assert Zaman is interfering with the company's contract between the passenger and the carrier, by aiding in the breach of contract between the passenger and carrier. United and Orbit's position are when a customer purchases a ticket, the passenger is required to remain with the flight until its final destination. United Airlines And Orbitz assert hidden city" is a prohibited form of travel.


According to their federal lawsuit filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division (Case: 1:14-cv-09214) filed on Monday, United and Orbitz claim Zaman "Skiplagged" promotes and makes available to consumers an airline booking ploy called “hidden city” ticketing.

"With intent to interfere with and cause breach of Plaintiffs’ contracts and to otherwise interfere with United’s ticketing processes, Skiplagged prompts consumers to book tickets from their departure city to a city to which those consumers do not intend to travel. Upon arrival at an intermediate or connecting city on the itinerary, the passengers leave the airport and “skip” the last leg(s) of their itineraries. In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from City A to City B to City C, but does not travel beyond City B."



United Airlines and Orbitz assert “hidden city” ticketing is strictly prohibited by most commercial airlines because of logistical and public safety concerns. When consumers purchase a flight through United, they agree to be bound by United’s prohibition against “hidden city” ticketing. United Airlines in its efforts to prohibit this form of travel prohibits Orbitz an online travel vendor from offering “hidden city” ticketing. United and Orbitz assert with full knowledge of these prohibitions, Zaman provided search tools on his site that allowed consumers to locate “hidden city” flights on Skiplagged and then purchase tickets for those flights through Orbitz’s website.

"Neither Orbitz nor United has granted Zaman permission to engage in this prohibited form of booking or to otherwise offer their services. To the contrary, Zaman expressly agreed not to engage in this conduct when he entered into an affiliate agreement with Orbitz, LLC in early 2013. Orbitz, LLC has since terminated that agreement. More recently, Zaman agreed to stop engaging in this prohibited form of booking, only to continue the conduct unabated. At the same time, Zaman has taken steps to try to hide from Orbitz and United his continued bad conduct and breach of his promises to stop."

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