Orbitz settles Hidden City suit

Orbitz Worldwide reached a statement over its claims that travel website Skiplagged.com helped consumers buy improper “hidden city” plane tickets and undercut its sales.

Skiplagged helps travelers find cheap airfares by allowing them to book flights with multiple stops and then deplane before reaching their final destinations. That can be less expensive than booking the flight to one of the earlier stops.

Orbitz and United Airlines sued Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman last year, claiming his site was “intentionally and maliciously” interfering with airline industry business relationships by promoting a type of travel that they claimed was largely prohibited by the airlines because of public safety concerns. They sought an order banning Zaman and Skiplagged from unfairly competing with them.

Orbitz and a lawyer for Zaman confirmed their settlement on Monday. United hasn’t settled their claims, according to an airline spokesman. Skiplagged has asked a Chicago federal court judge to dismiss them.

Skiplagged agree to remove any Orbitz logos and references from its website and to stop redirecting its users to the online travel service’s site, according to a statement by the Chicago-based company.

“Contractual Risks”


“Orbitz joined in the litigation after Skiplagged declined a request to disable hidden-city booking links to Orbitz, which Orbitz believed posed contratual risks for the company relating to supplier agreements with certain airlines and infringed Orbitz’s trademarks.”

Irwin Schwartz, a lawyer for Zaman, declined to comment on the Orbitz settlement beyond confirming it.

After being sued in November, Skiplagged turned to its uses to defray legal costs, soiliciting cotnributions with a banner across the top of its website’s home page. It claimed donations of almost $75,000 from about 3,500 people.

United, however, isn’t backing down:

“Mr. Zaman continues to openly encourage customers to engage in deceptive behavior. United is not seeking money but rather an injunction against Mr. Zaman and Skiplagged to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Source: Bloomberg


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