using 1/2 a RT ticket

Mar 17th, 2003, 11:06 PM
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using 1/2 a RT ticket

A friend of mine wants to fly one-way from Vancouver to Frankfurt and then take a ship back to Canada, but the flights are exorbitantly expense (around $2,000 +). Round trip tickets, on the other hand, are selling for about $700.

So, my question is, what are the penalties for buying a round-trip ticket and only using 1/2 of it?

LT068 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2003, 03:25 AM
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They will track you down and pillage your neighborhood......seriously, if you don't tell them ahead of time none.They will have no idea way you're a no show and miss your flight.You will clear German immigration coming and going and they will be the only interested party.
Charlie is offline  
Mar 18th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Suggest that your friend buy ticket with return portin in the distant future. Who knows, he may take a ship back to Germany a year from now and want to fly back to Cananda. Otherwise, there is no penalty. I would, however, as a courtesy to other passengers who might be on stand-by cancel rather than be a no-show.
wpcx2 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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Technically the throw-away scheme you propose is a violation and the airline could theoretically try to collect the difference in fare to the full one-way amount. If the ticket is issued by a travel agent, they may also be at risk, as some airlines have notified TAs that they will charge the amount back to the agency if they belive the TA advised the passenger to do this. Many of the airlines also declare that they may cancel any FF credit and/or end your FF account. Having said that, people do it all the time.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 01:51 PM
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Although using 1/2 of a r/t ticket is technically against airline rules, it is not illegal,i.e., not a criminal offense. It makes no logical sense to pay $2000 for a ticket that you can get for $700, which is why many people do exactly what your friend is proposing.

I must respectfully disagree with the recommendation to call the airline and cancel the return flight. Since airlines technically do not allow a passenger to purchase a r/t ticket as a way of circumventing the one-way fare, your friend shouldn't call attention to the fact that he/she is planning to do so. A stand-by passenger will still be able to get the seat once your friend does not check in at the airport.

Please also keep in mind that using 1/2 of a r/t ticket only works if you FLY on the outbound portion and throw away the return. It does not work the other way around,i.e, throwing away the first segment and flying home. If you don't check in for the first segment of your ticket, the airline reserves the right to cancel all remaining segments.

If, for example, your friend wanted to take a ship to Frankfurt and fly home, then he/she should purchase a r/t ticket from Frankfurt to Canada and throw away the Canada-to-Frankfurt portion.

walkabout is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2003, 01:53 PM
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Your friend's scheme is not a new one. They can "throw away" the return portion of their ticket after getting there, that's true. However, travel agents do run the real risk of being dinged for it - that is also true.

Here's probably the best scenario in this situation: have your friend buy the return ticket online through Expedia or Travelocity. The airline could not suggest that these websites would have advised the client to do this. Your local TA would not get in trouble.
dianeg is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2003, 03:02 PM
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Your friend could also take a look at a couple of sites that seem to be better at one-way international fares: (formerly tiss) and
JP is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2003, 03:17 PM
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What is the problem with using the outbound part of the ticket as written and then calling a day or two before the supposed return flight and saying you can't make that flight, ask what your options are to use it in the future (e.g., is there a penalty fee, etc.), and ask how long the return half is good for? You might indeed, in some wild eventuality, actually need it, as wpcx2 suggests. This is not the same as saying you PLAN not to use the return half but it does free up a seat.

I don't recommend t'city or expedia, however, because they have no customer service to speak of and you are up a creek if something goes wrong with your flight out. Go ahead, book directly with the airline, and who knows (they don't, that's for sure) what the future will bring?
soccr is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2003, 04:58 PM
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You don't have to formally cancel your flight in order for your seat to be released. Airlines have minimum check-in times, generally 10-30 minutes prior to departure. If you haven't checked in by then, they can release your seat whether you formally cancel or not. Yes, you can call and formally cancel your flight, but it isn't necessary. Airlines don't confirm stand-by pasengers until the day of flight anyway, so failing to cancel is no harm, no foul. I would skip it under these circumstances.

If I were your friend, I would go ahead and buy the round trip ticket, either directly through the airline or through one of the many online companies like Travelocity, Orbitz,Expedia, etc. Whether your friend literally "throws away" the return portion of the ticket or just simply sticks it in a drawer for possible future use is up to him.
beachcomber is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 11:02 PM
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Thank you, everyone, for your help! Will refer my friend to this thread to take in all your useful advice!
LT068 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2003, 05:51 PM
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As a previous poster said - Use the first portion of the ticket! Air Canada has a policy that if you miss any leg of an E-ticket, the whole rest of the ticket is flushed down the toilet with no credit. So if you miss a leg of your flight - don't spend big bucks to get back on schedule - you don't have a ticket any more anyway.
It's concern customer service like this that has put AC in the finacial position it is today.
MD is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 09:35 AM
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I would not waste your time or money calling the airline to cancel. The way they price their tickets is ridiculous so you shoud treat them in the same way. I agree with the above poster who said keep abrest of whether you can use the ticket in the future as I have found to my amazement that I have used the return portion on later trips.
Punani is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 08:13 PM
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Topping for sister2
walkabout is offline  
Oct 11th, 2003, 05:40 PM
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my sister, a travel agent, bought a round trip ticket for a if who used it one way only. The airline charged back like 1400 dollars to her....for violating their policy...if they don't catch you...ok., but if you purchase with a credit card...?
nancyteac is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 12:59 PM
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Nancy what you're saying makes no sense. If a client comes in and asks you to write a round trip ticket, how can they charge you for the actions of the client? And since the ticket remains valid for a year anyway, perhaps the client intended at sme point to use the return portion of the ticket paying the penalty for re-issuance of the ticket.

There is no way anybody should allow this blatant heavy handedness on the part of the airline go unchallenged.

Let me ask a question...I go into a restaurant and see it costs $12 for a shrimp cocktail and $25 for prime ribs but if you order a dinner consisting of any appetizer and any entree, it costs $20. So you order the dinner, don't eat the shrimp cocktail but eat the prime ribs. The waiter brings the bill and tell you that you are being charged full price for the prime ribs because you did not eat the shrimp cocktail. Any normal person would laugh at this. That is exactly what the airlines are trying to pull.
xyz123 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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I think you're missing a point here.

First - When you or I buy a ticket it falls under one of the many fare rules. We may not like it, but the fact is there are as many fares as there are letters in the alphabet. Every fare is different. One may call for minimum and maximum stay, another for a Saturday night stayover, etc...etc..., the fact is the rules are there. When you or I buy a ticket, we enter into a contract. We agree to the stipulation of a fare, and the airline agrees to get us from point A to point B as long as we follow the stipulations. If we need to have unrestricated ticket, we have that choice, unfortunately that choice is usually expensive. So when we decide to go with the less expensive option, we agree to the rules the seller laid in front of us. Whether we like it or not, it becomes reality, regardless of what our excuse may be later. Again, we always have to remember that we had a choice at the start of the game.
Basically what I'm trying to say is this, if the airlines were forced to be wide open on their ticketing, the average ticket price would double. The only reason we get some cheap tickets because of the fare game.

Second - Travel agents have no choice but to work with airlines, hotels, tour groups, etc.. only because they have to depend on these companies to survive. I don't believe that if Joe Blow bought a ticket one time from XYZ Travel and did not use the return, the airline would go after XYZ Travel, but if Bob Sop, a regular with XYZ Travel did this on a regular basis, and after few warnings from the airline XYZ did nothing to stop Bob Sop, and kept on selling him the restricted ticket, then yes the airline will go after the travel agency, not only because XYZ should know better, but also they have certain contractual agreements with the airline.

I'm not defending the pratice, I'm just trying to explain it. Legally the airline could punish me, you or the travel agent for not following the rules of the small print. In most cases you and I will not be bothered, but the poor travel agent can't run, hide, etc...etc... and since they have to get their commission check next month as well, it's easy for the airlines to withold the money from them. I know, most airlines don't even pay commission on the regular tickets anymore, but if the TA is still in business these days, they probably have some corporate accounts that still get commission.

Allow me to say this: I don't know the fine points of the relationship between TAs and airlines, and I don't want to get into a debate on some minor points that I'm possibly wrong on, but overall I believe the system works this way.
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