As everyone and their mother has emailed me, posted comments, tweeted me, started countless new DDF threads, and posted to the DansDeals Facebook group more times than I can count, United and Orbitz are suing Skiplagged.com for bringing hidden city ticketing to the masses.
It was reported on DDF well over a month ago, but for whatever reason the mainstream media decided to run with the story today. Bizarre.
Hidden-city ticketing is no secret to people in the know. Some tickets can be 90% cheaper by just adding on an extra leg to the end of the itinerary. I think of it like not eating the dessert course of a prix-fixe, but most airlines say that its against their terms.
I first wrote about it over 8 years ago. Some 6 years ago I wrote about using Southwest sales to get to Florida on the cheap via hidden-city and about using JetBlue to get from LA to NYC via hidden-city.
I spend a chunk of each DansDeals seminar talking about the dangers of hidden-city ticketing as well how to search for it, work around the issues, etc.
Last year I typed up a tutorial on finding hidden-city fares and on hacking ZFV fares. And USAirways had $460 tickets to Israel via hidden-city.
There are even hidden city award tickets. In this post was an international example but in my seminars I even talk about domestic ones. Even on first class awards you can manufacture greater availability on airlines like Cathay Pacific first class via hidden city award tickets.
And I’ve written lots of times about hacking nonstop fares to Tel Aviv via hidden city ticketing.
Point of the matter is that we’re in the minority. Most people have no clue that they can travel the world for free in first class by opening some credit cards.
And the real irony here is that ticketing tricks like hidden-city, nested tickets, and throwaway tickets aren’t known to the masses. At least until now that United brought it to everyone’s attention. Ironic how when you try to sue to keep something silent it gets more exposure than it ever had before. Nicely done United.
So is United going to sue me next?
I’d hope not. After all I’m just using free speech telling people that these methods are out there, I didn’t design a site to search for the tickets.
Personally I’ve never used Skiplagged. The solution that I wrote about simply works better. But it will be crazy if the courts shut it down. It could only happen because United and Orbitz have deeper pockets than the 22 year old owner of Skiplagged. Hopefully a free speech champion picks up his tab.