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No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Indianapolis...
posts: 1,093
reviews: 39
No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

I booked a roundtrip flight on United, going to South America. My work schedule changed slightly and I can actually spend more time on the trip, which I'd like to do.

United would charge a $300 change fee for this flight, plus the difference between the original ticket and the (now) new ticket price, I'd end up paying something close to $400 to make the change.

Interestingly, I can book a one-way return ticket for $150 plus use some miles (only 20,000) on the day I'd prefer to return.

If I did this, I simply wouldn't show up for my initial return flight on the roundtrip itinerary, and would instead use the one way ticket to return a few days later. This would save me quite a bit of money. I don't expect a refund for the unused portion of the initial roundtrip fare.

I can't figure out if there's a downside this or if I'm going to cause some sort of problem?

Toronto, Canada
posts: 4,946
reviews: 31
1. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Yes there is a huge downside. If you are saying you will not show up for the first flight of your return ticket, they will cancel the entire ticket.

Miss any segment of your flights and the remainder get cancelled. This is standard industry practice.

You should just pay the change fee and get it over with.

Edited: 8:09 pm, December 20, 2013
Indianapolis...
posts: 1,093
reviews: 39
2. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Perhaps I wasn't clear. I'd be booking a one way flight several days later, wouldn't be on the same itinerary at all. I'd be skipping all segments of the initial return flight and simply showing up at the airport three days later with a one way ticket.

Madrid
posts: 2,695
reviews: 7
3. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

United reserves the right to charge your credit card for the difference between the original round trip fare you booked,and the 1 way at the time.If that was less,you will be ok.

If the original 1 way was more,as happens in Europe,you may get an extra charge..

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 10,715
reviews: 182
4. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

In addition to what's been mentioned, I'd also be cautious if I were a frequent flier with United. You may put your account (miles) and status in jeopardy, too.

Indianapolis...
posts: 1,093
reviews: 39
5. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Yeah, I dug into the contract of carriage and there's some pretty threatening stuff in there (and I fly United a lot). Losing mileage and status.... think it's not worth the risk, it's a shame though. The ticket was only $679, so paying over $400 to change it certainly isn't worth it.

I wasn't really aware people do "throwaway" flights so much that it made it into the contract of carriage...some really interesting threads on it here on TA.

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 20,183
6. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

I think, given the specific circumstances of your question, that the chance of the airline "coming after you" for buying a ticket MORE expensive than the replacement ticket, and not showing up for the last leg but instead buying an additional ticket for a few days later are slim to none. I wouldn't hesitate to do what you're considering. The airlines want to ensure that people don't buy cheaper tickets routed through more expensive cities and then get off the plane early; people who buy additional tickets rather than paying the change fee for the exact same city pair, just a few days later, isn't what they're worried about.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 6,129
reviews: 75
7. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Have you asked if they'll charge anything to change the round trip to a one way? Then you could book your own return flight with no worry.

I agree the odds of anything bad happening if you skip the return flight are pretty minimal but you might as well ask if there's a cancellation fee to simply cancel the return leg.

Nashville, TN
posts: 4,492
reviews: 8
8. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Actually, the chances are pretty good, not nominal. If you read the OP, he's planning on using FF miles to pay for part of the return. Just about a sure guarantee it'll be noticed as both tickets will both be linked to his FF account..

Haarlem, The...
posts: 1,229
reviews: 167
9. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

I've done this and for similar reasons as you. I was supposed to fly back to Shanghai but due to work it was better to fly back a week earlier and to Guangzhou instead. Just booked a new ticket as my Shanghai flight was not changeable. Never heard from KLM about the missed flight.

Madrid
posts: 2,695
reviews: 7
10. Re: No show the return leg of a round trip, take a one-way later

Never heard from KLM about the missed flight.

KLM is not United.