Skiplagged Founder Still Confounding Airlines
Aktarer Zaman was polite during an "Ask Me Anything" chat on Reddit on Monday night, but still insistent that his controversial website, Skiplagged.com, continues to help travelers despite what the airlines have said.
Zaman is the 23-year old founder of Skiplagged, the website that is similar to other sites that serve as airfare search engines, but with one big difference.
Skiplagged provides users with valuable information on how to find "hidden city ticketing," a controversial practice of booking flights with a layover, but using the layover city as your final destination. It is frowned upon by airlines because it saves passengers money.
Zaman happily answered dozens of questions and touched on various topics, including:
• Have airlines responded by changing their pricing algorithms? – “Not that I've noticed. Airlines still make the additional money from uninformed (passengers), so it might be silly to get rid of hidden-city opportunities.”
• On whether he’s concerned that United or any other airline would file another lawsuit, since the first was dismissed over jurisdictional grounds – “By suing Skiplagged, United educated millions about hidden-city and made Skiplagged significantly more popular. It might be better for the airlines to leave Skiplagged alone."
• On what happens if the airline reroutes a flight away from the hidden city, i.e. New York-Dallas-Las Vegas becomes New York-Chicago-Las Vegas. Possible? Or an urban legend? – “(It is) rare indeed. Only 2.5 percent of trips get rerouted, usually in obvious times of issues like bad weather.”
• On whether some carriers have applications that can sniff out passengers using hidden cities and mark their return flights for cancellation. Have any of your passengers had their return flights cancelled for this reason? And if they do, will you compensate them? – “Never had a complaint. We tell you to book a round-trip as two one-ways if it involves missing a flight.”
One Reddit user noted that when booking a roundtrip, if any segment of flight is unused then the entire booking is cancelled, including the return flight. Two one-way flights are considered separate bookings and the return will not be canceled. But another user, identifying himself as a former Continental/United Airlines information technology worker said “Your return one-way ticket could absolutely be canceled if we wanted to, but nobody really cares that much.”
Zaman also hinted at future plans.
“The website and app don't make money right now,” he wrote, “but there are lots of ways Skiplagged as a travel services can in the future (e.g. hotel commissions).”
For more Airlines & Airports News
More by Rich Thomaselli
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship