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American Airlines has filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged, a low-cost travel website that shows tickets to “hidden cities.”
The lawsuit, filed by American this week in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, accuses Skiplagged of cheating, since the website allows travelers to book a connecting flight that is typically cheaper than a nonstop flight and not to the airport. final destination of the route flies .
According to American, Skiplagged “applies illicit and deceptive ticket sales practices, entices consumers to participate in those deceptive practices by promising savings, and then delivers nothing.”
“Instead, Skiplagged often charges consumers more than if they had booked a ticket directly with American or through an American authorized agent,” the lawsuit said.
It then accused Skiplagged of misleading the public into believing that, “while it is not authorized to create and issue a contract on American’s behalf, it can somehow still issue a fully valid ticket.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Skiplagged misleads customers into believing that the U.S. rates it shows “will give consumers access to some sort of secret ‘loophole’.” However, many of the fares shown on Skiplagged are higher than what customers would pay if they purchased a ticket directly from the American website or through an official, authorized U.S. agent, it said.
American then threatened to cancel any ticket sold by Skiplagged, saying “Any ‘ticket’ used by Skiplagged is at risk of being voided.”
In addition to the lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction requiring Skiplagged to comply with airline restrictions, it wants an accounting of all U.S. flight sales made by Skiplagged, an accounting of all U.S. flight sales made by Skiplagged through other travel agents, legal damages, as well as all actual damages suffered by American as a result of Skiplagged’s actions.
While the practice of “skiplagging” is generally not illegal, multiple airlines have cracked down on the loophole, claiming the practice violates their policies.
In addition, there are certain restrictions that passengers may face if they skip. For example, the process will not work if the traveler chooses to check in baggage, as the baggage is usually tagged to the passenger’s final destination.
In addition, the practice only works for one-way trips, because if part of the flight is skipped, the rest of the flight reservation will be cancelled, as several travel websites warn. For passengers wishing to board return flights, two separate one-way tickets are required.
Last month, American banned a 17-year-old from flying its plane for three years after planning to disembark in Charlotte, North Carolina, after flying from Gainesville, Florida, despite New York City being the final destination of his ticket was stated.
“His ticket was canceled and he was banned from AA for three years, but he never actually did anything wrong. He didn’t even get his boarding pass,” the teen’s father, Hunter Parsons, told Insider last month.
“He was left to fend for himself 500 miles from home. He has never violated any policies or broken any contracts. He just went to a counter to get his boarding pass,” he added.
In January 2021, American travel agencies sent a notice that it will start monitoring “skiplag” bookings.
American’s lawsuit against Skiplagged follows an earlier lawsuit brought against the company by United Airlines and travel agency Orbitz in 2014. prohibited forms of travel”.
In 2015, Zaman settled with Orbitz and a Chicago judge dismissed the United lawsuit against Zaman.