American Airlines has filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged, a travel website for cheap flights that shows “hidden-city” ticketing trips.
The lawsuit, which American filed this week in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, accuses Skiplagged of deception, as the website allows travelers to book a connecting flight that is typically cheaper than a non-stop flight and not flying to the route’s final destination.
According to American, Skiplagged “employs unauthorized and deceptive ticketing practices, entices consumers to participate in those deceptive practices by promising savings, and then doesn’t deliver”.
“Instead, Skiplagged often charges consumers more than if they had booked a ticket directly with American or through an authorized agent of American,” the lawsuit said.
It went on to accuse Skiplagged of deceiving the public into believing that “even though it has no authority to form and issue a contract on American’s behalf, somehow it can still issue a completely valid ticket”.
The lawsuit also alleges that Skiplagged deceives customers into believing that the American fares it displays “will give the consumer access to some kind of secret ‘loophole’.” However, many of the fares shown on Skiplagged are actually higher than what customers would pay if they purchased a ticket directly from American’s website or through an official authorized American agent, it said.
American went on to threaten to cancel every ticket sold by Skiplagged, saying: “Every ‘ticket’ used by Skiplagged is at risk of being invalidated.”
In addition to the lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction requiring Skiplagged to comply with the airline restrictions, it seeks an accounting of all sales of American flights made by Skiplagged, an accounting of all sales of American flights made by Skiplagged through any other travel agencies, statutory damages, as well as all actual damages that American has incurred as a result of Skiplagged’s