This guy’s bailing on his connecting flight. (Photo: Thinkstock)
It’s the airline equivalent of “dine and dash.” More like “fly and dash.”
Suppose you want to go to Dallas, but the direct flights there are too expensive for your taste. Then you see a flight to, say, Phoenix that has a stopover in Dallas, and it’s cheaper than direct flight to Dallas. So you buy the Phoenix flight, get off at the Dallas layover and bail on the next leg of the flight to Phoenix.
The industry calls the practice “hidden city” ticketing. And airlines hate it — a lot, it appears.
United Airlines and Orbitz are actually suing a website, Skiplagged.com, that helps passengers search for and book hidden city plane tickets. According to their federal lawsuit, United and Orbitz claim the site’s owner, Aktarer Zaman, “has used his website to intentionally and maliciously interfere with Plaintiffs’ contracts and business relations in the airline industry.” (Check out the lawsuit here).
Hidden city ticketing isn’t illegal. But as the lawsuit says, it’s “strictly prohibited by most commercial airlines because of logistical and public safety concerns.”