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Formula for cheaper flights causes lawsuit

Finding cheap one-way flight prices is a challenge when traveling, especially during holidays. Zaman Aktarer, 22, is now being sued for discovering a path to cheaper flights.

Zaman “launched a site to help people buy cheap plane tickets,” and United Airlines is suing for $75,000, according to CNN.

His site, Skiplagged.com, takes advantage of an idea called ‘hidden city ticketing,’ CNN said.

When a traveler wants to go from New York to San Francisco, they purchase a flight that goes to Lake Tahoe and has a layover in San Francisco.

Instead of staying on for the second leg of the flight, the passenger simply gets off the plane, CNN explained.

Although it is not always the cheapest option, Zaman found a way to cheat the system.

If a passengar does not check their luggage, the system works. Otherwise their checked luggage would end up in the final flight destination, but not the flyer’s final stop.

Zaman is being sued due to his creation of the site.

“United and Orbitz call Skiplagged ‘unfair competition’ and allege that it is promoting ‘strictly prohibited’ travel. They want to recoup $75,000 in lost revenue from Zaman,” said CNN.

A United Airlines spokesperson said to CNN, “This practice violates our fare rules and we are taking action to stop it to help protect the vast majority of customers who buy legitimate tickets.”

Zaman defended his actions to CNN and said this has always been around, it just has not always been public knowledge.

He also communicated to CNN that he is making no money off of the website.

Michael Boyd, President of Boyd Group International, an aviation consulting firm in Evergreen, Co. defended Zaman’s position by telling CNN that frequent fliers know quite a bit about this way to get cheaper fares.

John Brown University students have diverse opinions on what should be done about Zaman.

Heather Brewer, a freshman, thinks Zaman should be sued.

She said that what he is doing is cheating. Brewer communicated that it is bad for the airlines and bad for the pilots.

She also said that other people who need the flight might not be able to get on the flight bcause the seats have all been claimed, but in reality there is still space.

Rachel Musiime, an international student from Uganda, agreed with Brewer.

Musiime said, “I think what he is doing is illegal.”

She said she does not think that he is actually getting anything out of the site and finds it hard to believe that Zaman would put in all of this work with no benefit for himself.

However, not all students side with the airlines.

Rolando Serrano Martinez, a freshmen digital cinema major, said he does not think Zaman should be sued over this.

“I find it ridiculous,” Martinez said.

Lindy Martin, a junior graphic design major, said she travels by plane about six or seven times a year.

“I might consider this method because traveling by plane can be really expensive and airlines seem to raise prices during the times of year that I want to fly home to California or travel abroad,” Martin said.

“The issue with this method is that it technically is against the rules that the airline has constructed for flying with them,” she added.

However, Martin said, “this man should not be punished. While it may be against company policy, it is not against the law and an airline cannot argue that their rules are to be used as law against a customer.”