Air Fare - Round trip no return

Nov 18th, 2006, 03:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 39
Air Fare - Round trip no return

My daughter will be studying abroad in Greece and we're going to meet her in France and then all fly back to the states together. So I'm trying to get creative booking a flight back home for her. Can you book a round trip ticket- for example from Paris to New York and back to Paris but only fly one way? For me to purchase a one way from Paris back to the states it's over $3000.00, but if I purchase a round trip it's only $700. With security the way it is today I'm wondering if at the airport they would question why an American citizen would purchase a round trip ticket from Paris to the states and back with no return flight back to the US. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
chaslor is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 03:33 AM
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Hi C,

If you buy a RT Paris/NY and don't return to Paris there is no problem.

It would be nice to call the airline in advance of the return flight and tell them that your plans have changed.

>why an American citizen would purchase a round trip ticket from Paris to the states and back with no return flight back to the US.<

Because the American citizen has business in Paris.

ira is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 03:39 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Perhaps buy an extra round trip ticket from NY to Paris for your daughter and only use it on the way back?

In America, airlines often overbook flights, relying on people not turning up for whatever reason. It doesn't hurt to confirm your tickets in Paris to make sure the seat going back home is OK.
kaneda is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 03:42 AM
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Hi K,

>Perhaps buy an extra round trip ticket from NY to Paris for your daughter and only use it on the way back?<

I don't think that will work. She will be a no-show on the outgoing flight and the return booking will, most likely, be cancelled.

ira is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Yes, you can do it but the first segment MUST BE the one from Paris to New York. She uses that segment then abandons the remainder of the trip.

If a flier does not show up for the first segment the remaining ones will be cancelled as Ira has pointed out.
Dukey is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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Your daughter is flying from Greece to Paris? Is it possible to buy her a ticket from Greece to the US with a stopover in Paris? Would that cost less or more?
unaS is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 06:54 AM
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Many people just shrug and say no problem but there is something to be aware of....

Technically if you do that you are breaking the terms and conditions of the ticket which in effect is a contract between you and the airline; they agree to transport you for a price and you agree to meet their conditions.

In theory if their computers are sophisticated enough they can come after you and charge you the one way fare....I don't know how often this happens. Back in the long ago era when travel agents book airline tickets (pre internet), travel agents were constantly warned about 3 great money saving devices, the use of a hidden city (for example a cheap fare from New York to Rome and a much more expensive fare New York to Frankfurt so people bought New York to Rome tickets with a stop over in Frankfurt and didn't continue their this case Rome is the hidden city..this is now much harder to do of course with the restrictions on hand luggage)...the use of back to back ticketing to get around the stay over Saturday night restriction and using round trip tickets for one way trips. Travel agents were constantly warned the airlines would be issuing debit notices...that is the airline charged the travel agent for the unrestricted fare and it was up to the travel agent to collect from the customer. Some travel agents did indeed receive debit notices for such transgressions but I don't know what ultimately happened.

So you should be aware that you are breaking the airline's tariff rules and that conceivably, although I would be the first to admit not likely, they could charge your credit card for the difference in fares (when you purchase a ticket you agree to accept the terms and conditions of transport).

Would I do it? Yes I would as the whole fare structure is illogical but I just thought I should point this out.
xyz123 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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I called the airline to inquire about a round trip tik from CDG to RDU (Raleigh, NC) but only use the return portion of the ticket and they indeed told me that it would be canceled if the person did not show for the RDU to Paris portion, I didn't ask them about the reverse idea. I understand your concerns xyc123, but it's so frustrating to me that I would have to pay over 4 times the amount of money to purchase a one way instead of a round trip, you're correct about the logic of it, why do they do that. The consumer almost has no choice but to figure out ways around it. What our real plan is, is to fly our daughter from Athens to Madrid where we will meet her to begin a 3 week trip from Spain through France. I've tried the open jaw from ATH to MAD and then from CDG to RDU and it's approx. $3500! We're already spending $4000. for her trip to Greece with her school, to pay another $3500 on top of that is out of the question. I'm still waiting to hear from her Professor if we can purchase her whole air itinerary separately and then this won't be an issue, but if it turns out that we can't purchase her ticket from the states to Greece then I'll have to get creative with her flight home. Thank you for all the replies so far.
chaslor is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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I do not know your dates nor your arrival, but I can say that searching to different sites gave a $400 differential for April 11 (date picked at random) going from CDG to O'Hare, and the high price was $1000+.

These are the two sites (others are available):

Did you in fact search similar sites before asking if you can fool the airline?
Michael is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Twice I've done RTs within Europe & did not fly the second leg - on two different airlines (AF & British). No problem. Several years ago, I read in Conde Naste that the airline MAY ding you for not flying the second leg (refund the RT cost & charge the one-way cost on your CC - per xyz123's logic), but I've never heard of them actually doing this. To protect yourself against that, you could always pay for the ticket with cash or check (to the airline ticket office - not a TA).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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The "logic" behind this is to see that those willing to pay full fare such as business people will be able to book on short notice and then try to estimate how many tickets will be unsold and sell them to leisure travellers at very low rates as the instant the airline door slams shut, an empty seat is income lost and gone forever...even if they sell the seat for $10 it is $10 more than they would have if the seat remains unsold.

Also, I have no problem with doing it. For example, last summer I wanted to take Eurostar from Paris to London...research showed the best I could come up with is a ticket for well over $150...went to the Eurostar web site and discovered there is a same day return for £40 so I booked a morning train (the one I wanted) and booked whatever was available on the problem whatsoever. Those late trains between Paris and London must have lots of empty seats by lots of people doing this...if they ever tried to come after me I would say I missed the train, sorry, and took a train the next day....but I probably would not have a legal leg to stand on.
xyz123 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Her flight would be ATH to MAD on 5/25/07 and then from CDG to RDU on 6/14/07. I searched the usual suspects - Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, American Airlines, etc. I would prefer not to "fool" the airline, but I would also like my daughter to be able to fly home for under $3500.
chaslor is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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Those two sites you recommended are great, thanks for the info.

chaslor is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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You are not "fooling" the airline because they have decided to make one way fares ridiculously high.

What do you suppose would happen if one had every intention of using that return segment and then got sick, or their plans suddenly changed, or they missed the flight? Is THAT "fooling" the airline?

If you want you could easily apply for a credit on the unused portion which wouldn;t be fooling anyone, either.

And I wouldn't worry about the airline coming after you to try to charge a one-way fare...they will be delighted that they got that money out of you AND sold that unused segment to somebody else.
Dukey is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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She needs to use a student travel company. STA Travel booked for my daughter. She was able to decide her return date after she was overseas and found out when her finals would be with no charge. I think she had to have the ISIC card, but the cost for that was only $26 for a year membership.
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 18th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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Well, not knowing specific dates one can only surmise, but I plugged in several dates in the July-Aug timeframe for one-way tix from central Europe to somewhere driveable from RDU, and came up with all sorts of possibilities under US1000 for one way. For example, Brussels to Washington DC, $657 on July 15 and so on. If you want precise routing to accompany you, then you'll pay whatever the airline asks for; if however your daughter can handle flying alone, and you can arrange transportation from JFK or DCA to home, then you can put at least $2500 of that $3500 into the shopping kitty.

BTW airlines seldom go after round-trip throw-aways, but if they see you doing it repetitively they'll flag your name in the computers. Oh and are the computers able to remember who you are? Oh, yes. And so will Homeland Security if you start flying around on one-way tickets a lot.
Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 18th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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How is your daughter getting to ATH in the first place?

A multi-city ticket RDU-ATH-PAR-RDU looks expensive right now for the dummy dates I tried, but try it at for your dates, it would be the easiest by far.

If that doesn't work: As it happens, there are no budget flights betwen Paris and Athens. So you work around that, keeping everything above board and legal and cheap.

Buy her the cheapest return-trip fare you can find into whichever European hub fulfills both these criteria:

A) Is not too far from France and has budget flights to Paris and B) has budget flights to Athens.

For example, London and Cologne and Milan are each within an hour of Paris and each have budget flights to Paris and to Athens. (I flew Germanwings from Cologne to CDG for 25 bucks all up.)

Take Cologne as an example: Say you get a decent r/t fare RDU to Cologne and, entirely separately, a decent budget airline from there to Athens. She books the return ATH-Cologne with enough days to spare so she can join you in Paris, with a separate cheap flight Cologne-Paris and back to Cologne, and flies home from Cologne.

Ditto will work from London - with probably more choices, or from Milan.

Another way: Book the cheapest flight RDU - ATH (which currenlty goes through Heathrow) then pay extra for the add-on stopover in Heathrow on the way back, and she takes the train or flies over to Paris to join you, then goes back to London to fly home to RDU.

So there are many ways to keep this real.

Then again, if you yourselves are flexible and France is not mandatory, you could all meet up in Italy and fly home from Milan, or in Germany and fly hoe from Cologne, or in the UK and fly homw from Heathrow.

If you go this route, realise two things: The budget airlines will not wait for a delayed plane on some other airline coming in from wherever.

The budget airlines are cheap for reasons like limited luggage allowance, slower service (be early early early), no-frills operation (bring your own snacks, and water if allowed) - you have to earn the incredible savings by lowering your expectations. Think bus.,, and are your friends.
WallyKringen is offline  
Nov 19th, 2006, 01:18 PM
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One problem you are facing is that the deep discount fares we all love have conditions attached to them, and a common one is that the trip be no longer than 30 days (although I think I have seen some allowing up to 60 days).

The way around that is to go through one of the student travel associations (one was posted above) which apparently have arrangements with the airlines for visits that last a quarter, or longer.

In addition to contacting the one posted, I suggest your daughter talk to the office at her school that coordinates overseas study, and see what they recommend.

Also, tacking on some additional time at the start or end of the term can be an economical way to see at least a part of Europe. My son studied spring quarter, and stayed an extra month at the end, as it didn't interfere with his schedule at home, and let him see quite a bit.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Nov 19th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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Hi C,

>I would prefer not to "fool" the airline,..<

Oh, poo.

Buy a RT ticket and then call the airline to say that your plans have changed.

ira is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 08:12 AM
Posts: n/a
I also recommend you contact They specialize in study abroad travel. We used them last semester to purchase round-trip USA to Italy, knowing the return trip would change. It was only a $75 change fee when we needed to change the return flight date, time, AND departure airport. It was even a cheaper airfare, so it only netted about a $25 charge to us. They are very helpful. They understand how students travel, and that plans change often. Good luck! Studying abroad is an amazing gift you're giving your daughter. She'll always remember and appreciate it.

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