United and Orbitz sue to stop 'hidden city' ticketing website

United Airlines and Orbitz are joining forces to sue a 22-year-old man who launched a website to help people save money on airfares.

Aktarer Zaman founded the website Skiplagged.com last year. The site helps travelers find cheap flights by using a strategy called "hidden city" ticketing, CNN Money reports.

What is "hidden city" ticketing? The idea is to buy a ticket to a city that has a layover at your actual destination. For example, if you were trying to get from Houston to Chicago, you would purchase a cheaper ticket to third city that has a layover in Chicago. Once in Chicago, you would simply never board the second flight.

The idea is nothing new, but United and other major commercial airlines say it "strictly prohibited" travel. In the lawsuit, United and Orbitz claim Zaman's dedicated website to find "hidden city" ticketing deeals creates "unfair competition" that's cost United and Orbitz $75,000 in lost revenue.

American Airlines, which isn't a part of the lawsuit, also claims it's lost money due to "hidden city" ticketing and is considering raising fares.

"It is tantamount to switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores," the airline said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Zaman and United are refusing to discuss the lawsuit. Orbitz released a statement saying it's obligated to uphold airline fare rules.
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