Airlines Dirty Little Secret Exposed by SkipLagged and they aren’t happy!
It is a secret that a lot of avid travelers have known about for years. Hidden City Flights. So, for those of you who don’t know what that is, let me explain.
Say you want to fly one way from Pittsburgh to New York. Most travelers look for that direct flight and pay the high price for the airline ticket. However, what about a flight from Pittsburgh to Nashville – with a stop-over in New York? That 3-city flight is often quite a bit less expensive. So why not book that ticket, and then just hop off in New York and forget about the second leg of the trip?
Well, first of all, although not illegal, the airlines prohibit it and will often freeze your frequent flyer points or cancel them all together. They could also cancel the rest of your itinerary. Of course, you also cannot check any bags, or they are going to end up in Nashville.
Even with all of the threats from the airline, it does seem rather tempting to spend a considerable amount less for the flight and take the risk.
United Airlines and Orbitz launches Lawsuit against SkipLagged.
There are a few flight search engines that have popped up that actually cater to finding hidden city flights such as flyshortcut.com and skiplagged.com. Now that the lawsuit has come about flyshortcut.com is “taking a break”, but it seems that skiplagged is continuing operations despite the threat of the lawsuit.
United Airlines and Orbitz filed a federal lawsuit last month against Skiplagged to try and force the site to remove the results. Orbitz who by the way, made almost $700 million in profits last year says: “Zaman has intentionally and maliciously used Skiplagged to damage [their] businesses.”
Skiplagged is a one-man operation
Aktarer Zaman of New York operates his website from his tiny apartment with his own funding. He only offers the information on the flights, you cannot book the flights through skiplagged. However, he does link to other sites where you can book the flights. Now he is asking for donations on his web-site to help him with his legal fees. CBS news interviewed Zaman and you can view the segment on their website by clicking on the link: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/finding-cheap-airfare-made-easier-with-skiplagged-startup/
Is Cheaper Airfare worth the risk?
I ask myself if I would book a hidden city flight to get the cheaper airfare. I guess it would depend on the circumstances. If I was flying one-way and not using my frequent flyer account, I might consider it. But my real question is – How can airlines offer a 3 city flight cheaper than a direct flight between two cities? It makes absolutely no sense to me. And as more and more travelers become aware of this little loophole – I believe the instances of these bookings happening are going to increase tremendously, potentially costing the airlines millions. Perhaps they might re-think their fee structure?
Would you or have you booked a hidden city flight??
Let us know in the comments below.