Blogger Reveals Trick To Getting Cheaper Fares So United And Orbitz Sue Him

220px-United_Airlines_-_N14219_-_Flickr_-_skinnylawyer_(1)aktarer-zaman We have long discussed the shameful treatment of passengers by the airlines, which continue to gouge consumers while reducing seat space and even the most basic accommodations. The complaints against the airlines have increased recently due to the airlines refusing to pass along record low fuels prices to consumers in maintaining high-cost tickets. Now, United Airlines has sued a 22-year-old blogger, Aktarer Zaman, for showing passengers how to find cheap flights on his website Orbitz has joined in the ignoble effort.

Ironically, Zaman’s system is already known to many seasoned passengers. It involves buying a ticket with a layover at your actual destination and just not taking the final leg of the trip. The result can be a substantial reduction in airfare.

United and Orbitz are charging Skiplagged with “unfair competition” and are demanding $75,000 in lost revenue from Zaman. Ironically, the lawsuit is clearly backfiring since United has succeeded in spreading the word even farther on the Internet.

The “hidden city” ticketing tactic is already routinely used by frequent fliers. It is not illegal and thus it is hard to see how discussing the tactic or advising people about it would be illegal. The intent is clearly to grind this young man into a fine dust as a warning to others who may want to inform the public of such methods.

Zaman was born in Bangladesh, but grew up in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science at age 20 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His website is nothing more than a blog. He works at a technology start-up.

Of course, United and other airlines are steadfastly opposed to any effort to address their own practices in the inflation of ticket prices and fees for passengers as they rake in record profits. After all, that is nothing more than fair competition at work.

Source: CNN

41 thoughts on “Blogger Reveals Trick To Getting Cheaper Fares So United And Orbitz Sue Him”

  1. Aridog…. Lists get women in the door. Men….lists keep our focus. Ensures we don’t selectively forget something. Just remember to take the phone for when you discover there is more than one style or box size of Kraft’s Mac and Cheese. Your choice will always be subject to question.

    If a man is alone in the forest and talking to himself…is he still wrong? Welllll…if God is a she…there is no hope, just grace.

    1. Canon – “If a man is alone in the forest and talking to himself…is he still wrong?” The correct answer is, his wife will tell him when he gets home.

  2. Paul … No, no … That is just sooooo unfair…..Fry’s is off limits to this discussion….it’s like going out to hunt and suddenly you are in an overwhelmingly target rich environment unlike any grocery, book or clothing store. It’s “crack,” (*1)and I’m so glad I am in the worst traffic pattern to get to it and back.

    (*1) never used it…metaphor….just to be clear⛄️

    1. Canon for the Veterans Ministry -so, if I have your footnote correct, you have never used a metaphor before?

    1. Aridog – if it makes you feel any better, I cannot be trusted in Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics. 😉

  3. Canon for V.M… just illuminated another of my weaknesses. Grocery stores…unlike women who go with a list and stick to it, I cruise every aisle and take a bit of everything that looks good to me. Judi seldom lets me visit Costco…for very good reason. Even with a list I just must embellish it. Sometimes filing two carts. I am not to be allowed in a grocery store without a handler. Really. When I go my tab is seldom under $400, and I buy no booze, wine, or beer…none-the-less the tab is obscene, but the truth about me. As for other shopping places, in the odd chance you might entice me in to a mall (odds are nearly zero these days), I am a regular in the “man-seats” in the concourses. I am far safer in local small groceries and meat markets…in & out and no boredom. Voilà!

    1. Aridog – if my wife does the grocery shopping it takes 2 hours. If I do it it takes 20 mins. I only get what is on the list.

  4. Paul C….disciplined in bookstores is beyond my capabilities. Our house is filled with books in every room, floor to ceiling. And I keep adding more. One reason I resist house renovation, or rejuvenation, is that invariably those doing it mess up my fairly organized shelving….subsequent to such work, I’m likely to find the complete works of Rudyard Kipling embedded with history of wars or whatever subject categories…they mess up my “order.” Men don’t like that. 🙁

  5. Paul C. Schulte saID …

    … men buy, women shop.

    No joke there, it is true. I go to a store with my mind more or less made up and buy it. What takes me 5 minutes would take my better half an hour, or more.

    As for stores shipping…true enough, but only one I visit, a really good, but quaint bookstore, will ship books to me without a charge for it. If I buy several things elsewhere, the sum of the shipping costs individually is higher than me just packing it up and shipping all in one container.

    PS: I will admit my “female side” surfaces in bookstores, especially if they have books (I tend to favor history non-fiction tomes) not usually found anywhere but maybe on Amazon or other book website….or in a university bookstore … I prefer to determine if an author at least has footnotes and a bibliography…a summary preface helps me decide as well. For books I browse…heck, when someone cites a book here I book mark the title and once I have 3 or more, I go “shopping” …

    1. Aridog – I have a storage locker full of books that my wife keep complaining about, so I have stopped ‘shopping’ for books. We have an event here called the Nurses Book Sale where people donate their used books for sale and some really good collections come available. That is how I started mine and then as the years went on, I need to fill fewer and fewer holes. 🙂

      I find I have to be very disciplined in bookstores. I try to stay in the front of the store and only buy remandered books.

    2. Or how ’bout. “Men hunt, women gather??”

      Men.. Prep, track, kill, gut, bring home.
      Women…prep, take list, still cruise EVERY aisle

      BTW before Libbers come? My wife and daughter approve this message. 😇

      It took years but finally dress shops put out chairs and most grocery stores have coffe bars. Costco has the electronics up front, then clothing then food. Just pick me up at electronics on way to register.

  6. Sandi Hemming…I’ve used UPS for the very same thing…and USPS as well. Normally I just check a bag and pay the fee, but now and then it is cheaper to use the common carriers, I do. Especially if I go with two bags and want to return with the equivalent of three. I tend to shop at my destinations. Usually in the far west where they have stores not available here. Usually western apparel or native American goods,(which can be bulky, depending upon what your buy) ….amazing how I can accumulate so much additional baggage. 🙂

    I do not make fun of women for this “shopping” feature, for obvious reasons. I am likely worse.

    1. Aridog – many places I shop at in the West will ship. And men buy, women shop. For example, my wife and her niece went out shopping for about 12 hours last week and bought a blouse and a paid of slacks. Now, you and I would have been spending that time buying. 😉

  7. I celebrate creativity. As a help for not being able to check your luggage, use UPS. A friend of mine packed a box full and sent it to her final destination via UPS. If you let your hotel know, they hold the suitcase until you check in. It was pretty cheap, a cardboard box full of clothes.

  8. Whoa Groty,

    Airline industry ….cumulative net loss since Kitty Hawk
    Using Buffet as the standard or measure
    Enormous investment in jets….Boeing virtual monopoly

    Such hyperbole!!

    Grand statements…like a balloon….apparent substance.

    In 1964, it cost me $75 (1964 dollars) to fly one way on a four engine turboprop Electra from SF to Reno. Anyone remember all the cracked wing spars and the crashes?

    Today with a two week resv, it will cost $175 (2014 dollars) to fly on a 737-800 (almost brand new) non-stop from Seattle to Baltimore. $660 for first class. One way. no return required. Even tacking on baggage and whatever fees you can imagine, there is no other means to make that trip for close to those prices unless maybe driving straight through..not sure about the bus. None can compare to the 5.5 hr direct flight even if “sardined.”

    No more walking out on the tarmac in the rain or 20 below to climb that staircase to board either. Jetways are usually owned by the carrier.

    Now about the cost of the jet, just who is driving the cost? Oh and are you going by the list price…, no, big mistake. Carriers and lessors get major discounts. Oh and by the way, that seat you’re sitting in? It’s not sold by Boeing. It is made to the specs of the carrier and delivered probably from France. Another cost that is also dictated by the carrier?? The wiring bundles ….. Type, connectors etc. are all specified and vary according to the carriers…..NOT Boeing! Major difference in cost between carriers for the same model. If you notice, new planes will seldom have the full entertainment displays in the back of seats..they will go the way of the inflight phone. Inflight Wifi and your devices are replacing them. Why? The consumer isn’t using the “old” tech and that wiring bundle etc and maintenance are tremendous costs. The market drives all of this. We don’t have to fly but it’s becoming a “right?”

    While I’m at it…..a few years ago I wanted to buy a new small pickup without clearcoat paint. Just plain “enamel.” Nope the market took it away from me. I want a sport car like my former $3,000 brand new 1971 Fiat 124 convertible with 5 on the floor and a tuned exhaust. It was a P-51 in the Long Beach tunnel. Nope the market took it away. In fact Fiat disappeared. Now I drive a Leaf and wondering how to put in a sound like that Fiat because it will beat just about anything out the gate. Aftermarket hasn’t caught up to me yet.

    Boeing as a monopoly? Really want to go down that path? It’s not like the East Coast old time barons. Boeing actually started out as a furniture company and survived. Boeing built the B-17 without a development contract. Tex, Boeing pilot, aileron rolled the Dash 8 (707 for the youngsters here) over Lake Washington. Tex came back over and did it again. Execs almost stroked out but the plane sold and Tex kept his job. Boeing “took a flyer” on that plane. Ever see the “real” test flights of each type? Tail slaps, nose slams? And the in-factory destructive wing break testing? That flaming fireball four engine jet often seen in disaster documentaries?? A constructed test which, despite what we think we see, proved that a new jet fuel would save lives. Remember the crash in the midwest where you can see the liner tumble and burn? There would have been no survivors with the older fuel.

    Who do you think incurs those costs?

    Now go ahead and fly in Russia and China manufactured airplanes not permitted in US Airspace.

    Boeing took a hit over the 787. Would you rather fly in the A-380? Why do you think they are stopping production? It’s the constant repairs of landing gear and fuselage structures after so many landings which made them unprofitable except for (maybe) the few routes. The 87 got fixed.

    Repeat….Boeing a monopoly? Funny, they own a bunch of standard Airbus aircraft taken in trade. Sometimes they give them away to sweeten the pot.

    Now, back to the cumulative net loss since Kitty Hawk. Where’s your data, of what does it consist? In 1967, Boeing stock traded in the $20 and hit $50 then went higher and split. Track the splits. Then a few years ago it took a plunge and I bought at $47 (I finally had a few bucks) and accidently stirred up a nest with my daughter. I didn’t know she had risen to a level in Boeing which is touchy. She had to fill out all kinds of stuff. . It went to $80, thought it was a good run but I had to wait till she had authorization to sell. Got out to keep peace. It’s now in the $120s. Wasn’t much invested to start with.but fulfilled a college vow to buy if I had the money and it hit the $40s

    Go ahead and complain about the machinists …my nephew is one. Worked hard and overcame a lot. Should he be cut to the new minimum wage? The guy has skills I marvel at.

    Who buys the cars, the houses, clothing, electronics etc., etc., etc.? (Thank you Yul). He does.

    Now I’m all for the young man of this discussion. His action? Mere distribution of non-proprietary information. Serves to level the playing field.

    If somebody can come up with a better 737 (btw a Montanan was the first test pilot), have at it. If Boeing has really cornered the US production market in major body commercial aviation, it’s because it’s earned it. If it’s a monopoly in the illegal sense like AT&T and Standard Oil, change it for the public good.

    Today I saw gas for $2.32. $2.32? I never thought I’d see that again. The market.

    If you can build a 737 or 787 even an A-320 etc for equal or better value, provide all the support for the life of the plane’s contract and make a profit, have at it. The market.

    Two asides:
    Rockefeller started out to provide a “standard” kerosene, a quality product people could count on. Funny thing is that after the forced breakup, he was phenomally more wealthy as he owned shares in all the resultant parts.

    AT&T was broken up. BY A JUDGE?? Following that I remember how prices went in all directions. What I also discovered is that the designer phone we bought eons ago? Well, then we only owned the box, the insides belonged to BELL. Now? Don’t know or care where it is. I don’t covet Mannix calling the mobile phone operator anymore. I can call my wife on Skype ….. from our bedroom to the living room because I sleep in later………decadence. But…it’s the market. So if Verizon comes to the top as Boeing did…it’ll be the market.

    So who’s the market?

  9. I hadn’t heard of skiplagging before. Thanks to United and Orbitz, I now learned of a new way to save money. For this I am grateful.

    1. Darren Smith wrote: “I hadn’t heard of skiplagging before.”

      The term I have heard more commonly used among frequent flyers is “Hidden City Ticketing.”

      I remember hearing a traveller relating a story of the airline attempting to reroute him through a different city on the day of travel. He invented a story about how he had to have that two hour layover in Charlotte because he was having an affair with someone in that city and just had to see her.

  10. Did a little research on this site. I now understand how the system works and it would undermine the fares that airlines charge, however, what this 22 year old is doing is not illegal, so let the attorneys, airline, and Orbitz go ahead and sue. They’ll be out of a lot of money and this kid will have reaped the benefit of free advertising.

Comments are closed.