Skiplagged finds cheap one-way fares by surfacing weird airline pricing strategies, like pricing a NY-SFO-Lake Tahoe flight cheaper than an NY-SFO flight, so you book all the way through to Tahoe, debark at SFO, and walk away from the final leg.
Of course, it only works if you fly without luggage. But given that the airlines' entire business strategy is to hoard information about their pricing and operations from their customers, in the hopes of tricking them into paying more for the same flight than the person in the next seat, it's hard to work up any sympathy for the industry when the tables are turned on them.
Skiplagged doesn't sell plane tickets, they don't even sell information. All they do is document the pricing strategies of the airlines. In the view of United and Orbitz, this is illegal — they're suing the service (run by a 22 year old New Yorker named Aktarer Zaman), calling it "unfair competition."
In the lawsuit, United and Orbitz call Skiplagged "unfair competition" and allege that it is promoting "strictly prohibited" travel. They want to recoup $75,000 in lost revenue from Zaman.
Zaman said he knew a lawsuit was inevitable but he points out that there's nothing illegal about his web site.
He also said he has made no profit via the website and that all he's done is help travelers get the best prices by exposing an "inefficiency," in airline prices that insiders have known about for decades.