Reader Paradocs asked,
If I book a trip as two one ways and skip the final destination on the outbound is my return affected? Thanks for your help Gary!
As long as you’re only skipping the final segment of the ticket you’re not going to cause problems for your return.
What Paradocs is asking about is throwaway ticketing (not using the last flight coupon of a ticket). If you skip any other segment, you risk having the rest of the unflown segments on your ticket cancelled.
This is useful, most of the time, with paid tickets (although I’ve also explained how to use this to get lower award prices and also to save on fuel surcharges on award tickets). With paid tickets you’re using ‘point beyond ticketing’ where you’ll fly from your start city through a hub to a third destination.. and generally get off at the hub.. because it’s a less expensive ticket than just flying to the hub.
There’s a fundamental difference in perspectives between what most airlines think they are selling from what most passengers think they are buying.
- Airlines seem themselves as selling transportation between A and C at a certain price. That the itinerary stops at B is immaterial.
- A passenger believes they are buying a seat on a flight from A to B and then on to C. So it’s ok to use only the seat from A to B.
- But the airline thinks travel between A to B is a totally different product with a different price.
Fundamentally the issue is what you are buying when you buy an airline ticket, whether it’s what the contract of carriage says or whether it’s what a common understanding reflects.
To learn more you may want to check out my guide to Using Hidden City and Throwaway Ticketing to Save Big Money on Airfare.
Here are the risks:
- Do this only as the last segment of a reservation. As I say, only throw away the final leg of a roundtrip or book two one-ways if you want to do a throwaway in each direction. When you miss a flight, the airline is likely to cancel the rest of your itinerary.
- Don’t check luggage. Most airlines used to let you ‘short check’ baggage, or check it to an intermediate stop and not your final destination. Your bags will go to the final city on your ticket, you will not. So this only works with carry-ons (except for international flights arriving in the U.S. and a few other countries where you have to pick up your bags on arrival and walk them through customs and then drop them back off).
- Don’t gate check luggage. If you do, make sure they only tag it to your next stop and not your final destination. Best to board early enough to get overhead space though.
- There’s still a risk of irregular operations. If your flight cancels, the airline might offer to send you to your ‘final destination’ via some other connecting city. You’ll need to negotiate not just to get to your ‘destination’ but also for your original routing.