United, Orbitz Sue Travel Site Over ‘Hidden City’ Tickets – Bloomberg

#airline travel sites
#

United, Orbitz Sue Travel Site Over ‘Hidden City’ Tickets

United Airlines Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide LLC sued to prevent the travel website Skiplagged.com from helping consumers buy what the companies call improper “hidden city” plane tickets that undercut their sales.

Skiplagged helps travelers find cheap airfares by enabling them to book multistop flights and deplane before the flights reach their as-booked final destination. Sometimes a fare that travels through a hub city to another location can be cheaper than a ticket to the hub city alone.

“In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from city A to city B to city C but does not travel beyond city B,” according to the companies’ complaint. “‘Hidden City’ ticketing is strictly prohibited by most commercial airlines because of logistical and public-safety concerns.”

Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman of New York “intentionally and maliciously” interfered with airline industry business relationships “by promoting prohibited forms of travel,” the companies said in their complaint, filed today in Chicago federal court.

Among their stated concerns is United’s resultant inability to count passengers, which can cause departure delays and affect fuel load computations.

No Permission

Orbitz, an online travel booking site, and United said neither of them gave Zaman permission to engage in hidden-city ticketing. Claiming he’s unfairly competing against them and implying he’s connected to United and Orbitz by linking customers to their websites, they’re seeking a court order halting the conduct.

Zaman, reached through his LinkedIn.com e-mail account, had no immediate comment on the suit. United Airlines is a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings. Orbitz is a unit of Orbitz Worldwide Inc.

Randy Petersen, publisher of InsideFlyer magazine, said hundreds of thousands of frequent fliers probably use the hidden-city technique, but the most savvy only do it a few times a year to prevent detection by the airlines. Carriers are likely to freeze the frequent-flier accounts or travelers who use the technique or to strip them of miles, said Petersen, who is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Potato Chips

Airlines and passengers have disagreed over the practice for decades, he said. People who seek out hidden-city tickets often liken forgoing the second half of a trip to not eating the bottom half of a bag of chips. The thinking: They paid for the chips, so why are they required to eat the whole bag?

Carriers say that the practice takes unfair advantage of the hub-and-spoke airline system and that people who use it are defrauding them, Petersen said.

“Use of hidden-city ticketing can save a lot of money, and airlines aren’t in the business of promoting, allowing or turning a blind eye to practices that can break the system down,” Petersen said.

Small corporate travel departments occasionally employ it, too, risking the loss of fare discounts they enjoy. Still, some can’t resist paying $400 for a ticket using the technique if it would cost $1,200 the traditional way, he said.

Airlines have told Orbitz that a traveler caught on a hidden-city routing is subject to having his ticket voided without refund, the Internet travel company said today in a statement.

American Airlines Group Inc. in a letter to travel agents on its website, suggested it will have to raise fares if it keeps losing money from the practice.

“Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical,” according to the letter by American, which isn’t party to the case. “It is tantamount to switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores.”

The case is United Airlines Inc. v. Zaman, 14-cv-9214, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).





09/08/2017

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United, Orbitz Sue Travel Site Over ‘Hidden City’ Tickets – Bloomberg

#airline travel sites
#

United, Orbitz Sue Travel Site Over ‘Hidden City’ Tickets

United Airlines Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide LLC sued to prevent the travel website Skiplagged.com from helping consumers buy what the companies call improper “hidden city” plane tickets that undercut their sales.

Skiplagged helps travelers find cheap airfares by enabling them to book multistop flights and deplane before the flights reach their as-booked final destination. Sometimes a fare that travels through a hub city to another location can be cheaper than a ticket to the hub city alone.

“In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from city A to city B to city C but does not travel beyond city B,” according to the companies’ complaint. “‘Hidden City’ ticketing is strictly prohibited by most commercial airlines because of logistical and public-safety concerns.”

Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman of New York “intentionally and maliciously” interfered with airline industry business relationships “by promoting prohibited forms of travel,” the companies said in their complaint, filed today in Chicago federal court.

Among their stated concerns is United’s resultant inability to count passengers, which can cause departure delays and affect fuel load computations.

No Permission

Orbitz, an online travel booking site, and United said neither of them gave Zaman permission to engage in hidden-city ticketing. Claiming he’s unfairly competing against them and implying he’s connected to United and Orbitz by linking customers to their websites, they’re seeking a court order halting the conduct.

Zaman, reached through his LinkedIn.com e-mail account, had no immediate comment on the suit. United Airlines is a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings. Orbitz is a unit of Orbitz Worldwide Inc.

Randy Petersen, publisher of InsideFlyer magazine, said hundreds of thousands of frequent fliers probably use the hidden-city technique, but the most savvy only do it a few times a year to prevent detection by the airlines. Carriers are likely to freeze the frequent-flier accounts or travelers who use the technique or to strip them of miles, said Petersen, who is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Potato Chips

Airlines and passengers have disagreed over the practice for decades, he said. People who seek out hidden-city tickets often liken forgoing the second half of a trip to not eating the bottom half of a bag of chips. The thinking: They paid for the chips, so why are they required to eat the whole bag?

Carriers say that the practice takes unfair advantage of the hub-and-spoke airline system and that people who use it are defrauding them, Petersen said.

“Use of hidden-city ticketing can save a lot of money, and airlines aren’t in the business of promoting, allowing or turning a blind eye to practices that can break the system down,” Petersen said.

Small corporate travel departments occasionally employ it, too, risking the loss of fare discounts they enjoy. Still, some can’t resist paying $400 for a ticket using the technique if it would cost $1,200 the traditional way, he said.

Airlines have told Orbitz that a traveler caught on a hidden-city routing is subject to having his ticket voided without refund, the Internet travel company said today in a statement.

American Airlines Group Inc. in a letter to travel agents on its website, suggested it will have to raise fares if it keeps losing money from the practice.

“Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical,” according to the letter by American, which isn’t party to the case. “It is tantamount to switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores.”

The case is United Airlines Inc. v. Zaman, 14-cv-9214, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).





05/07/2017

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Hidden Dangers of Independent Contractor Travel Agent Classification #online #travel #agents

#independent travel agents
#

The Dangers of Independent Contractor Travel Agent Misclassification

You may not think of this as important when vetting out your host agencies, but making sure the host agency follows the independent contractor rules of the government is as important of a question as how much it costs to join or what the commission split is. Being an independent contractor travel agent and an employee is important to differentiate.

Why Should Misclassification Concern You?

If the host agency is audited and found to have misclassified their independent contractor travel agents, the fines and back taxes add up to a huge price tag. It s not pretty. A New York Times article has a company that misclassed 18 workers getting a $328,500 penalty bill. Most host agencies have more than 18 home based agents working under them. Catch my drift? A host agency that isn t protecting themselves from misclassification could easily go bankrupt with fines this high.

Increased Audits

The government loses millions of dollars in taxes from misclassified workers. As the government continues to see record deficits, there has been a crackdown on independent contractor classification.

Independent Contractor Classification

I wish I could tell you independent contractor classification is cut and dry, but it s murky waters. Beyond the fact that there is room for interpretation in the existing independent contractor laws, the laws vary by state and there are also the federal government s independent contractor laws. However, your host agency should be well-versed in what they re doing to protect themselves and their agent network so don t be afraid to ask. In this case, knowledge is power. Being aware this is even an issue and properly screening your host agency is the first step. Next step, avoid any pitfalls by looking for major red flags. Be aware that you may not be an independent contractor if the host agency:

    • Requires you work certain hours
    • Requires you to be at a certain location
    • Requires you work in a certain way
    • Gives you benefits

Making sure your host agency has a written contract indicating that you are an independent contractor and your responsibilities is another foundation that is important to lay.

Summary

In the end, I m not an expert in independent contractor travel agent classification. If you have doubts about your classification, ask your host agency for more information or contact a travel industry attorney .

Sources: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1779.pdf http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/business/18workers.html?pagewanted=all





11/05/2017

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United, Orbitz Sue Travel Site Over ‘Hidden City’ Tickets – Bloomberg

#airline travel sites
#

United, Orbitz Sue Travel Site Over ‘Hidden City’ Tickets

United Airlines Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide LLC sued to prevent the travel website Skiplagged.com from helping consumers buy what the companies call improper “hidden city” plane tickets that undercut their sales.

Skiplagged helps travelers find cheap airfares by enabling them to book multistop flights and deplane before the flights reach their as-booked final destination. Sometimes a fare that travels through a hub city to another location can be cheaper than a ticket to the hub city alone.

“In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from city A to city B to city C but does not travel beyond city B,” according to the companies’ complaint. “‘Hidden City’ ticketing is strictly prohibited by most commercial airlines because of logistical and public-safety concerns.”

Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman of New York “intentionally and maliciously” interfered with airline industry business relationships “by promoting prohibited forms of travel,” the companies said in their complaint, filed today in Chicago federal court.

Among their stated concerns is United’s resultant inability to count passengers, which can cause departure delays and affect fuel load computations.

No Permission

Orbitz, an online travel booking site, and United said neither of them gave Zaman permission to engage in hidden-city ticketing. Claiming he’s unfairly competing against them and implying he’s connected to United and Orbitz by linking customers to their websites, they’re seeking a court order halting the conduct.

Zaman, reached through his LinkedIn.com e-mail account, had no immediate comment on the suit. United Airlines is a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings. Orbitz is a unit of Orbitz Worldwide Inc.

Randy Petersen, publisher of InsideFlyer magazine, said hundreds of thousands of frequent fliers probably use the hidden-city technique, but the most savvy only do it a few times a year to prevent detection by the airlines. Carriers are likely to freeze the frequent-flier accounts or travelers who use the technique or to strip them of miles, said Petersen, who is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Potato Chips

Airlines and passengers have disagreed over the practice for decades, he said. People who seek out hidden-city tickets often liken forgoing the second half of a trip to not eating the bottom half of a bag of chips. The thinking: They paid for the chips, so why are they required to eat the whole bag?

Carriers say that the practice takes unfair advantage of the hub-and-spoke airline system and that people who use it are defrauding them, Petersen said.

“Use of hidden-city ticketing can save a lot of money, and airlines aren’t in the business of promoting, allowing or turning a blind eye to practices that can break the system down,” Petersen said.

Small corporate travel departments occasionally employ it, too, risking the loss of fare discounts they enjoy. Still, some can’t resist paying $400 for a ticket using the technique if it would cost $1,200 the traditional way, he said.

Airlines have told Orbitz that a traveler caught on a hidden-city routing is subject to having his ticket voided without refund, the Internet travel company said today in a statement.

American Airlines Group Inc. in a letter to travel agents on its website, suggested it will have to raise fares if it keeps losing money from the practice.

“Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical,” according to the letter by American, which isn’t party to the case. “It is tantamount to switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores.”

The case is United Airlines Inc. v. Zaman, 14-cv-9214, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).





01/04/2017

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