Isn’t flying wonderful? Through science and some sort of Gandalf wizard magic, we’re able to shoot ourself in a metal cylinder across the planet and touchdown on the other side, avoiding those pesky wooden ships and scurvy of days gone by. You face less risk of crashing in an aeroplane than been fondled by a French abortionist in a Mexican prison, and it’s for the most part very comfortable (unless you plan on flying Tiger, in which case bring your own parachute and an emergency flask of whisky).
The only thing that really takes a battering during this process, is your wallet. The ever growing, exorbitant fees of airlines is making it increasingly difficult for low income earners travelling to the most basic of locations, instead having to wait for discounts and deals to pop up so they can take advantage of the more affordable flights. Getting pinged for overweight luggage to and from can also become an unexpected expense and to quite a number of people, the whole ordeal of paying for this just isn’t something they want to deal with. We know that taxes, airline consolidation and the cost of fuel plays a factor in the rise of prices, but you can place a shiny penny that they’re also making quite a profit on the number of people that pass through their gates. Probably the biggest trick in the box though, is overcharging on direct flights. Most people know that booking a direct flight from one location to another is always going to be more expensive than having a stop or two in the middle, the theory been that you can save money if you’re happy to take a little more time getting to your destination, airlines are also in competiton with each other and this is the best way for both parties to make a profit. What most people don’t know however is that you can book your flights ahead of your destination and simply not get on them and until now, there really wasn’t a way to figure this out without guessing your final location. That is, until Skiplagged came along.
Skiplagged is a website that does this autocalculation for you, allowing the average consumer to save in some cases up to 80% on their flights. How exactly does this work?
Normally, passengers can either pay to go from Destination A – Destination B, or travel from Destination A – Destination C, stopping as a layover at Destination B to save a bit of cash. Skiplagged allows you to book a flight with your destination as the middle stop, meaning you simply just don’t get on your next flight. Example, you book a flight using Skiplagged that takes you from Destination A – B – C, but Destination B is where you actually want to get off. So you simply travel from Destination A – B, and you just don’t get on your connecting flight. Easy. Airfares that can usually cost $900 as a direct flight have now only set you back below $500, because you’re tricking the airline into thinking you’re catching connecting flights, when you’re clearly not.
But where there’s discounts and deals been thrown around like a white girl in a mosh pit, there’s always the companies affected who are going to have some issue. Both United Airlines and Orbitz have recently filed lawsuits to prevent Skiplagged from showing consumers these discounts, on some very flimsy pretences.
“Consumers can actually save lots of money. That’s generally frowned upon by for-profit corporations”, said Skiplagged’s creator in a recent Reddit AMA. “What Skiplagged does is definitely not illegal, which is why this is not a criminal case.”
“This lawsuit can force Skiplagged to remove results only we show, getting in the way of consumers saving money. Challenging it legally can have an effect financially. What Skiplagged has been doing isn’t illegal and has lots of public support so I’m somewhat optimistic, but than again, I’m up against corporations with billions in assets.”
The most interesting thing about this lawsuit, is that it’s definitely caused a Streisand Effect, there’s no way I would have known about this website if it wasn’t for airlines attempting to sue the pants off it. Currently Skiplagged isn’t that useful for Australia, however travelling overseas can prove very handy on your next holiday. Make sure to check it out and donate to Skiplagged’s legal costs if you think it’s a worthy cause.