Picture this: you save up enough money for a vacation, you turn to the Internet to find the best deals on airfares and you find a fabulous deal. But you don't know where you're going.
That's the concept behind Skiplagged.com
, which seeks out gangbuster airfares to "hidden cities." It's the brainchild of 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman, and here's how it works: It zeroes in on flights that have a stopover. For example, a flight from the East Coast to the West Coast might have a stopover in Lake Tahoe. Assuming a traveler wanted to go to Lake Tahoe, Zaman says they could save significant amounts—up to 40 percent—by booking the full flight rather than a direct flight to the stopover city. The problem is that your ticket says you're heading to a West Coast destination and you can't check any luggage.
Among this mornings deals
: promises to fly from Spokane, Wash. to Salt Lake City for 28 percent less and San Diego to Seattle for 23 percent less.
That's reason enough for United Airlines and Orbitz.com to sue Aman, calling his website "unfair competition." According to CNN
, United and Orbitz want $75,000 from Aman in what they call lost revenue.
"If [Skiplagged is] shut down, undoubtedly there will be other people to come along to scrape fares and make them available," Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, an airline consulting firm told CNN.
Meanwhile, Aman said he's not making any money on Skiplagged. It's not even his main interest. He works at a technology startup firm in New York.