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Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: May 28, 2009 01:04PM
I'm looking to book a OW flight next month...I'll be driving out and flying home. A one-way, nonstop flight cost $420, but a r/t nonstop flight between the same airports only costs $120.

Could I just fly the first half of the flight and not the second? Or will the airline charge my credit card the difference between the two flights because I never used the second flight?
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: DavidS
Date: May 28, 2009 01:09PM
You said you are driving out and flying home. That makes me think that you are traveling on the second part of the r/t ticket. The airlines caught onto this scheme several years ago. Typically now, if you don't show up for the first part of the trip, they cancel out the entire ticket, thus preventing you from "flying home."
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: May 28, 2009 01:09PM
I think that if you do not use the first flight, the airlines will cancel your return flight. Now if you flew out and drove back, you would be able to get away with this.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: May 28, 2009 01:10PM
Quote
DavidS
You said you are driving out and flying home. That makes me think that you are traveling on the second part of the r/t ticket. The airlines caught onto this scheme several years ago. Typically now, if you don't show up for the first part of the trip, they cancel out the entire ticket, thus preventing you from "flying home."

No, you have it backwards. I will be flying on the first leg of the ticket and not showing up at the airport for the second leg of the trip.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: May 28, 2009 01:11PM
Quote
the_poochies
Quote
DavidS
You said you are driving out and flying home. That makes me think that you are traveling on the second part of the r/t ticket. The airlines caught onto this scheme several years ago. Typically now, if you don't show up for the first part of the trip, they cancel out the entire ticket, thus preventing you from "flying home."

No, you have it backwards. I will be flying on the first leg of the ticket and not showing up at the airport for the second leg of the trip.

Go for it then.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: rz
Date: May 28, 2009 01:13PM
yeah, just because he's driving out on a particular day doesn't mean he's going to book the "first leg" that day. Just book the first leg for the day you're fllying back.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: vicrock
Date: May 28, 2009 01:17PM
Should work just fine.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: GGD
Date: May 28, 2009 01:24PM
You should read all of the terms and conditions on the ticket. Who knows, it might be that if you actually call and cancel that second leg after you've flown the first leg that you may get a credit for half the r/t ticket cost that you could apply to another ticket in the future.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: Michael
Date: May 28, 2009 01:47PM
You might get away with it, but the airlines can charge you the difference between the one-way and round-trip costs if you don't complete the travel as contracted. The airline and/or your travel agent have your credit card number and you agree that they can charge you the difference when you buy the ticket. The question is whether they will bother to do it...

Here's Delta's Contract of Carriage. Read middle of page 17 ("Throwaway Ticketing) to top of page 18.

[images.delta.com.edgesuite.net]
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: TLB
Date: May 28, 2009 02:25PM
Department of Transportation's opinion:

The airlines believe that they have a right to insist that passengers pay the appropriate fare for the passenger's actual itinerary. Consequently, when a passenger does not use one of the flights on his or her ticket, the carrier generally re-calculates the fare for this trip to charge the rates for the transportation actually used.

Another issue: airlines offer discount fares in an attempt to generate "discretionary" passengers. These are people who would not fly in the absence of the discount. In the view of the air carriers, discount fares designed to attract discretionary passengers are not serving this purpose when customers who would fly in any event are able to "divert" to the discount fare. To address this, airlines place restrictions on discount fares which the discretionary traveler can usually meet but which non-discretionary passengers generally cannot. One such restriction is a requirement to fly round trip, i.e. for the passenger to begin and end his or her trip at the same city. This restriction is designed to prevent non-discretionary personal (i.e., non-vacation) and business travelers, who are going to fly in any event, from using the lower fares that are designed to attract discretionary customers. These business and personal travelers are often interested in point-to-point itineraries rather than round trips. If they were able to buy a round trip ticket and then cancel the segments that they had no intention of flying, the round-trip restriction would be meaningless.

It has long been airline policy that passengers can change a restricted discount ticket upon paying a penalty of $100 plus any difference between the old and new fares. When a passenger's new itinerary still complies with all of the restrictions on the original fare (e.g., if the passenger changes the date of one of the flights but the new date is still midweek, still involves a stay over a Saturday night, and the change is being made prior to the applicable 7, 14 or 21-day advance-purchase deadline), then he or she will only pay the $100 penalty. However, if the passenger's new itinerary violates one of the restrictions on the passenger's fare (e.g., if the itinerary is no longer round trip, if the passenger's journey will now begin in a different city, or if the change is made after that fare's advance-purchase deadline), the carrier will recalculate the fare to charge the rate that applies to the passenger's new situation.


I also heard that all incomplete itineraries are reported to Homeland Security, but I don't know if that is fact or fiction.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: May 28, 2009 02:34PM
Michael, you may be correct. Continental's Contract of Carriage states:
Quote

J) Prohibited Practices: 1) Fares apply for travel only between the points for which they are published. Tickets may not be purchased and used at fare(s) from an initial departure point on the Ticket which is before the Passenger’s actual point of origin of travel, or to a more distant point(s) than the Passenger’s actual destination being traveled even when the purchase and use of such Tickets would produce a lower fare. This practice is known as “Hidden Cities Ticketing” or “Point Beyond Ticketing” and is prohibited by CO. 2) The purchase and use of round-trip Tickets for the purpose of one-way travel only, known as “Throwaway Ticketing” is prohibited by CO. 3) The use of Flight Coupons from two or more different Tickets issued at round trip fares for the purpose of circumventing applicable tariff rules (such as advance purchase/minimum stay requirements) commonly referred to as “Back-to-Back Ticketing” is prohibited by CO. K) CO’s Remedies for Violation(s) of Rules - Where a Ticket is purchased and used in violation of the Contract of Carriage or any fare Rule (including Hidden Cities Ticketing, Point Beyond Ticketing, Throwaway Ticketing, or Back-to-Back Ticketing), CO has the right in its sole discretion to take all actions permitted by law, including but not limited to, the following: 1) Invalidate the Ticket(s);2) Cancel any remaining portion of the Passenger’s itinerary; 3) Confiscate any unused Flight Coupons; 4) Refuse to board the Passenger and to carry the Passenger’s baggage, unless the difference between the fare paid and the fare for transportation used is collected prior to boarding; 5) Assess the Passenger for the actual value of the Ticket which shall be the difference between the lowest fare applicable to the Passenger’s actual itinerary and the fare actually paid; 6) Delete miles in the Passenger’s frequent flyer account (CO’s “OnePass®” program), revoke the Passenger’s Elite status, if any, in the OnePass program, terminate the Passenger’s participation in the OnePass program, or take any other action permitted by the OnePass Terms and Conditions in CO’s “OnePass Member’s Guide;” and 7) Take legal action with respect to the Passenger
Perhaps it would be best if I called the airline after flying the first leg and told them I couldn't use the return ticket and to issue me a credit towards future travel?
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: May 28, 2009 02:59PM
How about paying cash for the ticket without giving them your credit card information?
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: Michael
Date: May 28, 2009 03:07PM
I would bet that calling them would make it more likely that you'd have a problem since you'd be calling attention to yourself. The fact that they specifically address throwaway ticketing suggests that the airlines are very familiar with folks doing this and they've likely heard all the reasons.

If it was me, I'd just decide whether it's worth the $300 gamble and, if so, take the flight one way and hope for the best. Given the numbers of people flying and the various cutbacks that the airlines have had, perhaps they don't have anybody chasing down people who do this--of course, there should be an electronic way of doing this very easily, but who knows...

I suppose if you really wanted to get exotic, you could go to an airport now and buy the roundtrip ticket for cash from the Continental counter (Continental accepts cash) and then use the ticket one way. They wouldn't have an easy way to charge you the extra---they'd have to send some strong-armed guy to your house to collect!

I presume you've considered the other options--a one-way car rental if that would be appropriate for your needs or a flight from Southwest since they price tickets as one-way or nearby airports that might have a cheap one-way ticket available...

Edit--freeradical's suggestion was posted as I was composing this. Good idea! Continental's website says they accept cash at counters.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2009 03:13PM by Michael.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: May 28, 2009 03:08PM
Quote
freeradical
How about paying cash for the ticket without giving them your credit card information?

They would most likely turn down that transaction... as do most car rental places, hotels, etc. They prefer the security of being able to charge for damage, changes, etc.

And the issue with Homeland Security, as I understand it, was more with people getting off flights and letting their baggage go through to the original destination. The TSA will delay a flight to get "unaccompanied baggage" off a plane - the obvious fear being that most normal folks don't actually WANT to be on the plane when a bomb in their baggage goes off.
I don't know if this is still standing policy or not, but it was for at least a few years.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 28, 2009 03:09PM
cash... what's that?

can I get rewards by using cash? can I get cash back by using cash?

link?




:fawkdance:



“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: May 28, 2009 03:11PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
can I get rewards by using cash? can I get cash back by using cash?

Your reward is no interest payment grinning smiley



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: clay
Date: May 28, 2009 03:25PM
what's the worst that could happen? they charge you the balance of the round-trip fare?

So...it's either paying the full fare up front, or possibly being hit with it after not using it? I see no downside to just not using the second leg of the flight and hoping for the best smiling smiley
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: dk62
Date: May 28, 2009 06:21PM
It is not a big deal. There may be many legitimate reasons why you could not fly back - got stuck in traffic and missed the flight, got sick, changed your mind, etc. As long as there is no pattern (and I was told that some airlines do keep databases of passengers missing return flights, second legs, etc), you should be fine. There is no way they can charge you for missing your flight as long as there is no clear indication that you intended to that from the beginning.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: May 28, 2009 06:25PM
Quote
dk62
There is no way they can charge you for missing your flight as long as there is no clear indication that you intended to that from the beginning.

Unless we tell on him. smiling smiley
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: May 28, 2009 06:42PM
I wonder what happens if it is book on Travelocity or one of the other non airline sites?
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 29, 2009 07:05AM
But when you cancel be sure you don't have anything resembling a middle eastern accent.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: dk62
Date: May 29, 2009 12:24PM
I am doing this today. Had a RT ticket, had to change time of return, and it was cheaper to buy a one-way ticket back ($100) than to change the original round-trip ($150 change fee). So in theory, I am booked on two flights for return, same company, but will be only on the earlier one. The airline actually suggested I do this, to save money.
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Re: Can I book a r/t flight and only travel on one leg of the flight?
Posted by: testcase
Date: May 29, 2009 03:41PM
Get a one time use account number on one of your credit cards.
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