Aktarer Zaman was just 22-years-old when he founded a website in 2014. He had no clue it would lead to a lawsuit and angering some well-established companies. His crime? Being clever. Zaman started Skiplagged as a way to help people find cheaper flights through a method he calls “hidden city ticketing”. The premise is simple: you can buy a ticket on a flight that has a layover in your actual destination, and only travel the first leg of the flight you have booked.
For example, if you want to visit Dallas from your home of Boston, you could book a flight from Boston to Los Angeles with a layover in Dallas, then get off in Dallas and never take the last leg of the itinerary. Of course, this only works if you are not checking bags, but it has helped thousands of people find cheaper flight options. United and Orbitz, who have a combined worth of billions, sued Aktarer Zaman, saying that Skiplagged promoted prohibited travel practices and provided unfair competition.
They sued for $75,000, which they said was lost revenue. At the time of the lawsuit, Zaman was making no profit, stating that he was simply trying to help travelers find the best deals. Nowadays, if you visit Skiplagged’s website, you’ll find an interesting tagline. It reads, “We’re better at finding cheap flights than anyone else—so good, United Airlines actually sued us for it.”