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Layover in Rome--don't want to take last portion of flight

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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:02 AM
  #1
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Layover in Rome--don't want to take last portion of flight

We bought a ticket on Alitalia from JFK to Brussels with a layover in Rome this August. We decided we would just stop in Rome for a few days and not take the last Rome - Brussels flight. We called Alitalia and they said that was not possible without an expensive "rerouting" fee. We asked if we could just tell the people at JFK when we check in to stop our luggage in Rome and they said that we would be risking our returning flight from Brussels - JFK, because the system might automatically cancel our return flight if we missed a portion of our first flight. Has this happened to anyone? Does anyone know if you get to collect your luggage in Rome for Customs/Immigration if you have a layover there or is it routed to your final destination? Any advice would be much appreciated!!

Thank you!
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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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It is quite true that if you do not reissue your ticket without that FCO-BRU segment or if you just skip FCO-BRU, the airlines will cancel the remainder of the itinerary with 99% probability.
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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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The simple answer is the information you've gotten from Alitalia is correct - if you don't show up for any intermediate leg of your itineraty all subsequents legs will be automatically cancelled. So in your case, if you don't take the Rome to Brussels leg your Brussels/JFK leg will automatrically be cancelled. The only way to accomplish what you want is to have your itinerary reticketed and pay and fare changes and/or re-ticketing fees.
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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Your bags will be checked to Brussels. They may or may not be willing to short check your bags to Rome but that's a lesser issue than having your return flights canceled.
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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Why do the airlines do this? Do you think we could talk to the person at the check in desk at JFK and get them to do it without the "rerouting fee"? It just seems ridiculous that we have to pay for or get penalized for simply not taking a flight that we have already paid for. It doesn't cost the airlines a thing or complicate anything for them.

Thanks again for your help!
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Jul 19th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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No you cannot "talk to the person at the check in desk at JFK and get them to do it without the rerouting fee". They simply won't do it as it's against their tarrif rules. The thing is, the airline rules are not aimed at you, it is a policy that is industry wide.

I'm assuming, like most travelers, you purchased the lower priced "restricted fare ticket" rather than a higher priced fully refundable ticket. What this means is you contracted with the airlines to get you from point A (JFK) to Point B (Brussels) and back to point A at a price that is lower than a fully refundable ticket to the same destination. The "rules" governing that lower fare (which you accepted when you booked the ticket) clearly say you have to pay for any subsequent changes.

Now, in response to your argument that "it doesn't cost the airlines a thing or complicate anything for them" your logic is faulty. Imagine what would happen if everyone who had an intermediate layover between destinations decided not to take one of the flights. The airlines would never know how many people would actually show up for a particular flight. This would mean they would be forced to significantly "overbook" every flight in order to make up for the expected "no shows". Conversely, if everyone showed up for a specific flight they wouldn't have nearly enough seats. The only way to combat that problem would be for the airlines to have extra planes and crews waitng around. All of this translates into higher fares which I'm sure you don't want otherwise you would not be complaing about the re-ticketing cost or you would have purchased a fully refundable ticket at the outset.

I don't mean to sound blunt but there's no way you can skip one of the intermediate stops on your itinerary without having the rest of your ticket cancelled unless you are willing to go through the re-ticketing process and pay any required change fees. It's all spelled out in the tarrif agreement (fare restrictions) that most people never take the time to read prior to purchasing their tickets.
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