Some of the big names in air travel are getting a little scared of 22-year old kid from New York.
Aktarer Zaman launched a new travel site called Skiplagged.com in 2013, which offers cheaper tickets using a simple strategy that is often overlooked.
His site takes advantage of “hidden city” ticketing, in which you buy a one-way ticket somewhere else with a layover in your destination city.
The prices can occasionally be much cheaper than if you only looked for direct flights, but you can’t check any bags or they will end up in the wrong city.
Before Skiplagged, you would have to guess and check various destinations to see which flights had layovers in the city you intended to travel.
Experts are saying the trick isn’t necessarily illegal, but it could definitely hurt the airline business.
Orbitz and United Airlines are both suing Zaman for “unfair competition” and want $75,000 in lost revenue.
“This has to do with market competition,” Zaman said in a recent AMA on Reddit. “I.e. Airlines want to offer City A to City C, but can only do that with multiple flights. Consumers are less inclined towards multiple flights unless it offers them savings.”
The founder has set up a crowdfunding site to collect money for the legal fees, and he’s almost reached his goal of $15k.
His message on the site reads:
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 Orbitz recently 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.
The site was having trouble loading on Tuesday due to an overload of traffic, according to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.