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October 23, 2008


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Wow, that is weird. Thanks for passing along - that might come in helpful next summer when we go to Boston.

A lot of airlines have caught onto this scheme. If you don't take the last leg of your flight, they can cancel your return ticket.

I've heard about this, never actually tried it myself. Obviously this requres carry on baggage only. And, similar to savvy's comment, I have read that airlines are catching on to this scheme.

I did this once, too. The airline cancelled my return flight. Beware!

Yep. The rule (although I don't know if it is formal) at most airlines is that they will cancel the return trip if you miss a leg. So it works sometimes, but don't be shocked that you have to argue for a re-instatement of your seat (and might not get it)for the return trip.

My travel agent for work did this yesterday for my Christmas-time flight. I'm flying from LAX to GRR and not flying back to LAX. The direct, one-way ticket was $780, while tacking on a return flight from Ohio made the entire round-trip ticket $350. I'll just skip the return flight (since I don't need it) and save more than 50% off the original price!

HUGE cost savings. I couldn't believe it.

Yes, this only works if you buy one-way flights because the airline will cancel your return trip.

A couple of weeks ago I saved ~$700 using Priceline. Published fare was $975ish. Got the fare for $244 including tax. This was a last minute flight to visit a sick grandmother. I bought the flight at 1am Saturday for a 7am flight Saturday. The only issue with priceline is you can't pick your specific times so you almost have to add a day on each end but worked perfectly for me!

My dad works in the airline industry so I ran this by him and this was his response:

"It can be true…it falls into what airlines call yield management. Doesn’t make sense, but to the optimization engines they run it actually generates more revenue for the airline. The second leg on the return is the most at risk...and as indicated, each airline can handle it differently. What you want to do there is get an online boarding pass for the return flights prior to the first flight taking off, so the system knows you’ll be on the second flight as well."

This technique is called "hidden-city" ticketing. You can review this and many other strategies about Here are the downsides:
1. You won't get miles for the itinerary
2. Your return will be canceled on a roundtrip itinerary
3. If your "hidden-city" changes to airline schedule changes, weather/ATC/mechanical/etc. delays you are screwed.
4. It's been suggested that airlines try to track this kind of activity and may give you trouble in the future if caught. They might even give you an SSSS (supplemental security screening selectee) in the future.

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