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Thursday, January 1, 2015

United Airlines and Orbitz Sue Over "Hacked" Airfares

Above, a United Boeing 787 at Los Angeles International Airport before its flight to Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

United Airlines and the travel website Orbitz have filed suit against a computer programmer who found a way for people to obtain discount airfares.

According to Japan Today:
NEW YORK —United Airlines and online travel website Orbitz have filed suit against a young computer programmer who used a clever trick to get discounted airfares. 
The lawsuit filed last month in Illinois federal court alleges that Aktarer Zaman, who operates the website Skiplagged.com, illegally promoted use of the technique to get discounts. 
Skiplagged, launched in 2013 by the recent university graduate, enabled travelers to get a fare below published rate by skipping the final leg of a flight. 
The so-called “hidden city” fares provides tickets to a city that is not the final arrival city, but an intermediate or connecting location. 
The technique exploits a quirk in airfares—where some long-haul flights are less expensive than a short-haul journey.
The readers' comments below the article are also interesting.

Since the airlines have been gouging people with excessive fees during the past few years, my sympathy level is way down. Zaman was only pointing out the "quirk" in the ticketing system. It would seem to me the problem rests with United and Orbitz, after all, it is their system.

I flew with United last year to Japan and was very disappointed in their overall service (especially the food). They were once my favorite U.S. carrier.

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