If you visited Skiplagged.com, you learned that the optimum and cheapest fare is a one-way ticket for travel from Miami to New York with a layover in Chicago. You could just deplane in Chicago and not take the second leg of the flight from Chicago to New York. Great deal, huh? Maybe, but don’t do it. Airlines and travel brokers strictly prohibit passengers from taking advantage of so-called “hidden city” plane tickets, e.g., purchasing a ticket from City A to City B to City C but not traveling beyond City B. To show they mean business, United Airlines and Orbitz Worldwide LLC recently sued Aktarer Zaman, the 22-year-old founder of Skiplagged.com in Federal Court for “unfair competition.” Zaman, the lawsuit stated, “intentionally and maliciously” interfered in the relationship airlines have with their customers “by promoting prohibited forms of travel.” The Skiplagged.com lawsuit brings to light the unique — and not infrequently, adversarial — relationship between airlines and passengers, particularly after 9/11. Consider this: In what other industry do you see the store suing the customer for learning about a better price?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
› Timothy M. Ravich is a Board Certified Specialist in Aviation Law. He’s also authored a course book, Aviation Law After September 11th, and has written extensively on issues such as airline deregulation, passenger rights, aviation security and unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs” or “drones”); RavichLawFirm.com.
Wise travelers know their rights. The U.S. Department Of Transportation and its Aviation Consumer Protection Division serve up answers to common travel questions.
Text by Timothy M. Ravich
Most airlines set aside only a limited number of seats on many desirable flights at the lower rates, so the best deals may be available only on certain days of the week or particular hours of the day.
DOT requires airlines to either hold a reservation for 24 hours without payment or refund a paid ticket — even a non-refundable one — if you cancel within 24 hours of purchase and you bought your ticket more than 7 days before your flight.
Domestic and foreign airlines are generally prohibited from keeping passengers aboard aircraft at U.S. airports for more than 3 hours (4 hours for international flights) without an opportunity to deplane.