More Proof Corporations Hate Freedom

We can see corporations hate freedom when they try to invent a monopoly they can force people into by government action.

United

Just to set this up to see the airline’s point of view, remember that prices aren’t set according to costs. They are set according to demand. Thus, an airline can charge a lot more for a domestic flight to an important business destination than they can for an exotic vacation. The reason is that they have to lure consumers to make the vacation trip while the flight to a domestic business center is considered a necessity to those taking the domestic trip. Consumers will provide an airline with more profit on that shorter trip.

There is nothing wrong with this but it involves consumers not worrying about options. Once consumers become alert to these kinds of discrepancies, they can become aware that better deals are possible in the market.

Here is a simple real-life example. I once flew out of Chicago to Africa. I could have bought different tickets to come back to my hometown of Saint Louis, which was going to be my final destination. But that was not necessary. The returning flight actually stopped and let out passengers in St. Louis! All I had to do was travel light enough to not need to check a bag. I simply left my flight in Saint Louis and let the airline carry my empty seat to Chicago.

Should the airline complain that I “robbed” them by buying a cheaper ticket to Chicago rather than paying the amount they wanted for a direct flight to St. Louis?

I would have once said the airlines don’t care, but now I’m not so sure. According to Fox 2 Now in St. Louis, “United Airlines sues 22-year-old who found method for buying cheaper plane tickets.”

A young computer whiz from New York City has launched a site to help people buy cheap plane tickets. But an airline company and its travel partner want to shut him down.

United Airlines and Orbitz filed a civil lawsuit last month against 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman, who founded the website Skiplagged.com last year.

A civil lawsuit? How can Zaman be guilty of damages for helping passenger buy tickets from United Airlines which the airline is voluntarily selling to those customers? If Zaman was somehow stealing tickets, that would be a crime. So what can possibly be the basis for a civil lawsuit where there is no crime?

The site helps travelers find cheap flights by using a strategy called “hidden city” ticketing.

The idea is that you buy an airline ticket that has a layover at your actual destination. Say you want to fly from New York to San Francisco — you actually book a flight from New York to Lake Tahoe with a layover in San Francisco and get off there, without bothering to take the last leg of the flight.

This travel strategy only works if you book a one-way flight with no checked bags (they would have landed in Lake Tahoe).

It’s not like these tickets are the cheapest all the time, but they often are.

So, you can buy a ticket to a flight that is more expensive or one that is less expensive and both go to the same destination. The information is public so Zamon is not guilty of hacking into any restricted database.

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.

“[Hidden city ticketing] have been around for a while, it just hasn’t been very accessible to consumers,” Zaman told CNNMoney.

Indeed, “hidden city,” ticketing is no secret among frequent fliers, said Michael Boyd, President of Boyd Group International, an aviation consulting firm in Evergreen, Co. Boyd worked as an American Airline ticket agent 30 years ago, and says he was trained at the airline to help customers find “hidden city” fares.

“I don’t think it’s illegal what he’s doing,” Boyd said. But lawsuits are expensive and it could end up costing the young entrepreneur who has irked the two billion dollar corporations.

If you ever wondered why so many CEOs are such Leftist morons, this should give you some idea. Corporations don’t want customers; they merely settle for customers when they have to do so. They want captives rather than customers. They want prisoners. They want people forced by the government to use them exclusively for a service or product. In this case, United Airlines and Orbitz want the courts to hammer someone for nothing more than making public information widely available.  They want the government to destroy our ability to make the best decision based on other peoples’ right of free speech and willingness to share that information.

And they have the audacity to accuse their victim of “unfair competition.” They use free market rhetoric to try to obstruct the free market.

Here is my prediction. Soon we will suddenly hear about how dangerous it is to allow customers without luggage to leave flights during layovers. Congress will be encouraged to pass some kind of stiff penalty that punishes anyone who does so. It will be more security theater covering over corporate aggression against consumers.