What Happens When You Skip A Flight On An Itinerary?

Filed Under: Advice

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what happens when you skip a segment on a flight itinerary. There are a variety of reasons people may do this, so in this post I wanted to look at that from a few perspectives:

  • Why people intentionally skip segments on an itinerary
  • What happens to your ticket if you skip a flight on an itinerary
  • How to minimize the risk of skipping a flight on an itinerary
  • The potential consequences of skipping a flight on an itinerary

Note that this is not an endorsement of this practice, but rather is intended to answer questions that I get all the time.

Why people intentionally skip segments on an itinerary

There are a variety of reasons people may want to skip segments on a flight itinerary, the most basic of which is known as throwaway ticketing.

As we all know, airline pricing can be completely irrational, and this is largely because of the pricing power that airlines have in various markets.

Airlines know that they can charge more if they operate a flight nonstop than with a connection (since people value a nonstop), they know that certain cities can sustain higher prices than others (for example, there’s more finance money in New York than Colombo, and airfare reflects that).

So how does this play out? Take for example this Los Angeles to New York to San Juan flight on Delta, which is ~$450 one-way in business class.

Meanwhile if you booked just that same Los Angeles to New York flight, you’d pay $200+ more.

If you were to book the San Juan itinerary with the intent of getting off in New York, you’d directly be violating Delta’s rules, and I think anyone who booked that knows exactly what they’re doing.

But let me get to an area where people are more genuinely confused. For example, we recently saw mistake fares from Vietnam to North America in Cathay Pacific first & business class, routing via Hong Kong.

A lot of readers asked “so could I fly from Vietnam to the US, and on the return get off in Hong Kong rather than going all the way back to Vietnam?”

What happens to your ticket if you skip a flight on an itinerary

As soon as you skip a segment on a flight itinerary the remainder of your ticket will be invalid. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work across the board.

If your entire itinerary is on one airline then that’s almost certainly how it’s going to be.

However, I’ve heard of instances where people have had a ticket on interline partners where a segment was skipped and they could still board a flight down the line. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, and it doesn’t happen consistently, but I have heard of some instances of it happening, and I imagine that comes down to some airline systems just not communicating well.

But assume that if you skip a segment on an itinerary, your itinerary will be canceled. This isn’t an issue if you’re booking a one-way and skip the last segment, but for example, you couldn’t book a roundtrip, skip the last segment of the outbound, and still expect to take the return portion of the trip.

How to minimize the risk of skipping a flight on an itinerary

If you know you’re planning on skipping a segment on an itinerary, make sure you don’t check bags, or at least make sure you are able to check your bags through to the destination you intend to fly to.

Most airlines have a policy against short checking bags, meaning if you were flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Hanoi, you’re typically not allowed to pick up your bags in Hong Kong. The exception is if you have a long layover, in which case you may be able to do so.

Also make sure you don’t have to gate check your bag, because it would be rough to discover that bag will be sent to your final destination if you have no intent of actually flying there.

Furthermore, keep in mind that you’ll still need to meet the travel requirements for the destination you’re booked to travel to.

In other words, if you have a ticket from the US to Vietnam via Hong Kong booked, expect that you’ll need a Vietnamese visa in order to board your Hong Kong bound flight in the US. Saying “oh, I don’t intend to fly there” isn’t an acceptable answer.

Lastly, if you’re going to do this, make sure you don’t end up making duplicate bookings on one airline that are scheduled to depart around the same time.

Using the same US to Vietnam via Hong Kong example, you’re not going to want to be booked on a flight from Hong Kong to Hanoi that leaves around the same time as a flight you booked on that same airline to somewhere else, as those might be marked as duplicate bookings.

My one other tip involves using your frequent flyer number for your itinerary, so stay tuned for that.

The potential consequences of skipping a flight on an itinerary

Let me start by saying that I’m not a lawyer, so I’m only sharing my take as someone who (usually) has some common sense and is pretty familiar with airline rules. Also keep in mind that different countries have different laws.

So, what are the potential consequences of skipping a segment on an itinerary?

It’s not illegal

Skipping a segment on an itinerary isn’t illegal in any country that I know of. I think this is worth clarifying because in the airline industry “illegal” is often used in a way that has nothing to do with laws.

For example, an “illegal connection” is one where there isn’t enough time to connect, per the airline rules. If you find yourself having an illegal connection, you don’t need to expect the police to meet the flight. 😉

Using any throwaway ticketing techniques would at most be a contract dispute, so there’s nothing inherently illegal here one way or another, as far as I know. And as I’ll explain below, in some countries it’s actually completely legal and supported by court cases.

It (typically) violates the airline contract of carriage

While not illegal, intentionally skipping segments on an itinerary does almost always violates airlines’ contracts of carriage.

For example, here’s what American’s contract of carriage says regarding this:

Reservations made to exploit or circumvent fare and ticket rules are strictly prohibited.

Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Purchase a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares (hidden cities)
  • Buy a ticket without intent to travel, including to gain access to our airport lounges or other facilities
  • Combine 2 or more roundtrip excursion fares end-to-end to circumvent minimum stay requirements (back-to-back ticketing)
  • Book a ticket in someone’s name without the person’s consent (which is illegal)
  • Hold reservations for reasons including securing upgrades, blocking seats or obtaining lower fares

If we find evidence that you or your agent are using an exploitive practice, we reserve the right to:

  • Cancel any unused part of the ticket
  • Refuse to let the passenger fly and check bags
  • Not refund an otherwise refundable ticket
  • Charge you for what the ticket would have cost if you hadn’t booked it fraudulently.

How an airline could try to punish you

So if you do decide to skip a segment, how could an airline punish you?

  • They could punish you in regards to your frequent flyer account, since that’s something that’s 100% within their control, as they own the program and the miles
  • An airline could try to sue you, but the effort required would be extreme, and it’s questionable if they’d win; this all depends on the country as well, because in Spain a court actually ruled that airlines couldn’t punish passengers for throwaway ticketing

One important thing to keep in mind is that the airline would have to prove intent here. In other words, they’d have to prove that you were trying to “exploit or circumvent fare and ticket rules.”

There are plenty of other situations where someone may be skipping a segment. Maybe they accidentally fell asleep in the terminal and missed their flight, maybe they became ill and couldn’t fly, maybe they had a genuine change in plans, etc.

So it’s all about intent, and that’s not something that’s necessarily easy to prove in court, unless someone makes a habit of it.

My take on all of this

This post isn’t at all an endorsement of any throwaway ticketing techniques, but rather is intended to address the countless number of questions I’ve received about this, in particular following the recent Cathay Pacific fare.

If you are going to engage in some sort of throwaway ticketing (which most airlines prohibit, but several courts have ruled is permissible), my general advice is:

  • Make sure you’re not checking bags, and make sure your carry-ons are within the size limits and that you board early, so that you’re not forced to gate check them to your final destination
  • Like everything in life, moderation is key; if you do this once with an airline, chances are they won’t care, while if you do this constantly, they will likely take note
  • If you are going to do this, I’d recommend doing it with a different airline than the one you’re crediting the miles to, since the most likely punishment from the airline would involve your frequent flyer account; that risk isn’t there if you’re crediting miles to another frequent flyer program, for example

Anyway, that’s my general take, and hopefully that answers some of the most common questions I get on the topic.

If you have any other questions or firsthand experiences to share, I’d love to hear them!

  1. I would add that you also want to make sure your carry on is not only size compliant, but weight compliant. I had the Singapore Airlines check-in desk at LAX make me check my carry on because it was overweight, even though it was within their size limits. I was flying in first class as well, so do not get too comfortable with the class you are flying in.

  2. Another thing to add:

    Be prepared for your plans to fall apart.

    I was scheduled for PER-HKG-LHR-CPH on a return flight on Cathay.

    I was not really planning on going to CPH and was going to get off in LHR as that was where my flight was leaving to go back to the US a few days later.

    When I got to the check in desk in Perth, the Cathay agent told me that since the plane was leaving late out of PER, I might miss the connection in HKG to LHR, so they proactively booked me on a Finnair flight to HEL and then on to CPH instead!

    Which was really nice of them, but now I had to go to CPH. So I did, for 3 days, and had a great time and then hopped a one way to LHR for my flight home. So, flexibility is key. Have a backup plan in case you end up in your final ticketed destination another way.

  3. @ Dennisonwee — You get miles for the flights you actually took. Of course this assumes the airline doesn’t try to go after you for throwaway ticketing.

  4. On the Cathay Pacific mistake fare that I booked, it says I can cancel my booking after departure for $300. Is this a fee I can pay after I fly the JFK-HKG leg, so that I can skip the HKG-HAN leg without further repercussion?

  5. What about no show fee? Will Cathay charge a no show fee on my credit card if I skip the last segment?

  6. @ Mandy — Nope, that’s only if you try to later cancel the ticket (which you wouldn’t do if throwing away a segment, since there would be no refund).

  7. @ AJ — Nope. They would have to reprice the ticket, so it would be way more expensive. The fee would be if you wanted to cancel the entire return portion, or something.

  8. I’ve only done one throwaway ticket. I needed to fly from Cincinnati to Chicago, which was selling for an atrocious $476 one way in economy on AA. I found a $131 ticket to Denver connecting in ORD on the flight I wanted. For a $345 savings, I did it.

    I credited the miles to my United MileagePlus number instead of AA Advantage on that ticket also.

  9. While not illegal based on actual laws, American Airlines is infamous for tracking down flyers who regularly skip segments.

  10. Would Cathay be more inclined to go after passengers who skip segments and charge them the full price of the F/J tickets given that these were original mistake fares? The airline has already cleared F/J inventory to/from Vietnam to USA for the rest of the year. It seems they will be watching whether or not passengers will fly to their intended destinations.

  11. Wait, sorry I have to ask, was that lax-SJU the same low fare from 2017? Or is this new. Because $450 for LAX-JFK-SJU is a damn good fare for J class

  12. Global Traveller

    I’ve skipped a few AA flights and they haven’t hassled me. That said I am not in the AA mileage program and I guess they might try and punish me there if I was.

    There really isn’t much they can do, and it’s their own damn stupid fault for having such irrational fares

  13. Major airlines checkin systems have software to verify previous sectors flown So if you arrive and the previous sector is open, you will most likely be refused
    In Europe
    If you have a combination of different carriers on the same ticket that use different systems the following carrier may not pick this up
    It’s pretty clear in most airlines’ conditions and we most people who do this claim naivety and know the regulations very well as they are always on forums

  14. @ Perzeus — My take is that there’s virtually no chance they’d do that. To think that they’d basically try to sue people for the cost of full fare first class seems unthinkable. I doubt they’d win in court, and beyond that, it would completely undo the positive PR they’ve gotten from all of this, and their incredible handling of the fare.

  15. Would this advice apply as well to award tix? Looking at Air France one way biz awards SFO-CDG, price drops a lot adding an onward connection to say Florence


  16. Timely for me. Need to get home to SFO from CUN. All flights are really expensive (except those leaving at 7am, which won’t work because I’m going to a wedding the night before). Afternoon direct on United is $500+. Going CUN-SFO-MFR is $395. Saving $100 and getting on that afternoon direct sounds nice.

  17. Dont throwaway your throwaway so quickly. One time my throwaway segment was cancelled and I scored a free hotel room, plus a partial refund as I “took” an alternate flight with another airline with an earlier morning departure 🙂

  18. checking in bags is possible if you force an overnight AAA-BBB-CCC where your intent is to stay at BBB. If you land @ BBB after all connecting flights to CCC have left for the day.When checking in just tell them since youre overnighting at BBB you need your bags for the night, have yet to be denied.

    Even with flights still available after arriving @ BBB I found a way to get them to short check it every time as long as the 2nd carrier isnt the same as the 1st. Every time I tell them my line they complement me for being so clever, not realizing what is ‘Clever’ is how they were just duped into working with me (sorry no hints, since once it gets out thats the end of it working)

    But as its already been said, make sure to be flex and have a backup plan should all efforts fail, recently I had alot of fast thinking and talking to do when Irrops hit and they wanted to FIM me onto a non-stop on another carrier, got lucky and they agreed to my reasoning and my understanding that EU261 cant be invoked since they can get me to my tkted destination before EU261 lateness will take place. was too happy to say no problem

  19. I don’t know in other parts of the world but in many (most) civilised Carriers in Europe you will be blacklisted on the Carrier if you do that a lot. Unless you know the right guy at the right place. I know this for sure! Even in EU they are working about a process to avoid No-Show questions, which in my opinion will not work. There is something like “Demand & Offer.” So in my opinion a No-Show penalty is valid!
    And to be clear, I travel for business about 500K miles a year.

  20. But let me get to an area where people are more genuinely confused. For example, we recently saw mistake fares from Vietnam to North America in Cathay Pacific first & business class, routing via Hong Kong.

    A lot of readers asked “so could I fly from Vietnam to the US, and on the return get off in Hong Kong rather than going all the way back to Vietnam?”

    I’m sorry, but how is that any different than the Delta example you shared? Same intent to not fly all the legs, same intent to take advantage of a great product paired with a lesser product. There’s only one reason to not fly all the legs of a trip, barring a missed connection or legitimate travel plans. Both of which involve contacting the airline to keep your ticket intact…

  21. I have never skipped a leg before but I have a ticket as part of the Air New Zealand “special fare” that I want to skip. My itinerary is SYD-LAX operated by United then LAX-ORD on Alaska. Since I have to pick up my bag in LAX anyway, I want to skip the LAX-ORD leg. My first thought was id have to pick another carrier to fly LAX-ATL. Do you think if I called Alaska they could modify the one leg or would they tell me I have to contact ANZ since they sold me the ticket? Any insight would be appreciated!

  22. @ Megan — If Air New Zealand issued the ticket they’d tell you that you need to contact them to change the ticket.

  23. @ Mark — It certainly depends on the person, but there are lots of people who booked the Vietnam to US ticket without first putting thought into their plans for getting to & from Vietnam. A lot of people genuinely don’t know you can’t drop segments, and may have only thought about this after purchasing the ticket.

    Meanwhile anyone who books a Los Angeles to San Juan ticket via New York and knows they only want to go to New York is engaging in intentional throwaway ticketing.

    So I guess my point is that anyone who books the DL ticket has the intent to do so and know they’re breaking the rules, while I think many people booked the Cathay fares and may not be as familiar with the rules.

  24. @Criced – that decision is confined to Spain. Decisions of the Spanish Supreme Court do not bind other EU member countries.

  25. I think a lot of people are going to have trouble figuring out positioning, especially to a country like Vietnam. Not particularly difficult to get to, but not the easiest or cheapest country to get to from the US either. I think many of these booked legs are going to go unused when they realize this itinerary is not worth the trouble it will require in positioning flights and extra time. These kind of mistake fares used to be the purvey of frequent-flyers, but this one had a lot of mainstream participants.

    Which is probably fine, <$1000 is a great deal even for a CX one-way in a premium class.

  26. Hi all,

    not sure if this is considered skipping legs or not. But I would be grateful if anyone can help answer.

    I bought tickets from IST-ASR-IST with Turkish. But really tired me made a mistake and only gave myself 20 minutes to go from international flight to domestic (I’m flying in from BEG on the same day). I contacted Turkish hoping to change my flight (I know it wasn’t possible for my fare, but never hurt to try). Turkish said they couldn’t change and I bought another 1 way flight from IST to ASR at a later time.

    My question: Will my ticket from ASR – IST will be automatically cancelled if I miss IST-ASR? Is it possible to avoid it being cancelled?

    I asked the Turkish Customer Service and she said it won’t be cancelled, but I’m not convinced since we both had hard time understanding each other’s questions at that time.

    Thank you!

  27. Highly recommend purchasing priority boarding or extra leg room seats (which often get to board earlier) for peace of mind to avoid having to gate check your bag

  28. I booked a roundtrip from Hanoi>JFK and am planning on positioning there beforehand and skipping the return flights (from the US) altogether. I’ve seen some mixed messaging on whether to notify the airline a day in advance of missing the return flight or whether to simply not show up. In a few cases it seems like notifying Cathay might prevent their charging you a no-show fee, and in other cases people seem wary of reaching out for fear of getting on their radar.

    Do folks have any suggestions or experience with no-shows and whether to let the airline know or not?

  29. I could use a little advice. I am considering buying a saver ticket from koa- to DFw to NYC- my intended destination, but with a 10 hour lay over in DFW. and then just buying a ticket on the dfw to nyc flight which leaves at a reasonable time -and which the rest of my family is already booked in with miles. Is it a bad idea to throw away a segment and fly on the same airline a 7-8 hours before? If I use a partner airline ff#, would this make this ok?
    Thanks for your advice.

  30. I don’t agree that airline fares are “irrational,” as stated in the post and some comments. Indeed, after saying the pricing is “irrational,” the post goes on in the next two paragraphs to explain in brief the very rational purposes for why fares are structured as they are. Only if you think airfares should be like turnpike tolls, based strictly on the distance you go, would you see it as “irrational” that airlines price itineraries based on maximizing revenue. The whole issue of throwaway ticketing is complex, and the cautions expressed here are well explained.

  31. Omg my mom and brother have done this in the past and i didnt know it was a thing haha. They skipped flights both intentionally and unintentionally before. How funny.

  32. I have done this for years. Especially on one way flights to Europe where places like Budapest, Oslo, and Copenhagen come in far cheaper in Business. I book through the city I need to be in (Paris, London, Frankfurt) and abandon the remainder. Carry on only is essential of course but I have never in 20 years of doing this had an issue. Nor have I ever had the miles not credited for the flown portion. In reality I believe this to be a “don’t ask, don’t tell” scenario with airlines.

    My other trick is to speculate on booking a round tip FROM Europe (where business fares are usually far cheaper) with a set date months in advance when I think I might need to go back. Risky but have only lost a few returns.

  33. I can actually say I’ve done this with no nefarious intent. Was living in Boston when I booked a flight to PDX months in advance with a connection through Philadelphia. In the time between booking and the flight, we moved to Philadelphia having not known about the job opportunity when the flight was originally booked. Got off the return connecting flight in PHL and even told the GA for the connecting flight up to BOS we wouldn’t be taking it and the reason why. They were quite confused! No issues with US Airways although we did have to buy a PHL-BOS ticket at the beginning of the trip to position for the initial departure.

  34. Everything is possible. I’ve rebooked an award flight that I missed and that had already taken off…

  35. @Bart – it would be automatically cancelled unless you arrange for it to be changed to one-way, keeping only the return ASR-IST sector on the ticket. I had a similar situation with Lufthansa once. They were willing to keep the return sector of my booking if I could prove I booked a different one-way with them to get to the destination. No guarantee Turkish win do the same but in any case you better arrange for it before departure of the outbound.

  36. Is it possible to travel with just one person traveling – when there are 2 persons on the ticket? meaning can just one person take the flight if the other is no longer able to take the trip.

  37. @CJ The idea behind no-show penalties is that when you buy a plane ticket, a certain amount of value is assigned to each flights segment. If you cancel the rest of a ticket after flying part of the trip, you’d get a voucher for the remaining value less the cancelation fee. If there is a no-show fee, and you fail to cancel the flights in time, this would be an additional subtraction from the residual value of the ticket. You wouldn’t have to pay more than you already paid for the ticket, this merely is a tool to reduce any leftover value (this policy is primarily aimed at refundable tickets). On a mistake fare, the value of any unflown segments is so low, there’d be no value left. As such, it really doesn’t matter whether you cancel or no-show.

    To be clear, if you call to cancel, it should only be AFTER you’ve flown whatever flights you wish to fly. Otherwise, the airline will reprice the ticket. If it were me, I’d call because there may be someone else who needs/ wants that seat.

  38. @cahbf

    There were some cheap LAX-SJU return on DL One and First a few weeks ago for $750. They had long layovers (3-4hours) but schedule changes got my changing them to 1hr for free.

  39. Nelson

    I’ve never known that happen in Europe or elsewhere. Maybe what you have been doing wrong is not cancelling the final leg by phone. You can even do that from the lounge that that leg of the flight got you into, which is a buzz.


    No, it is irrational to charge more for flying less. For example I recently priced SFO-CLT at $600 in AA First, but only $400 to SNA via CLT. You can bet I got off at CLT, went to the lounge, cancelled the SNA flight and saved myself $200. If airlines are going to encourage weird behavior then call me weird

  40. Ben,

    I appreciate your taking the time to reply. I suppose you get a lot of questions that aren’t visible on the blog, so will take you at your word that there are lots of folks who booked this ticket with no thought as to how they were going to position to Vietnam and decided to not fly the return all the way.

    Seems like quite a bit of risk for so many uninformed people to gamble on an international itinerary to throw away the last leg. I hope those folks are planning to leave HK by some other airline as I am sure CX will be keeping an eye on their routes to Vietnam. Just because they ate one mistake doesn’t mean they will give folks carte blanche to abuse the “rules”. They are likely keeping an eye for any and all loopholes…

  41. I’m unclear as to why there has not been a successful legal challenge to these terms. It’s like going to a restaurant buying a prefix 3 course menu, and then being sued if you dont eat the dessert.
    Doesnt it make more sense for the airlines to just price each segment honestly?

  42. I’ve had success with hidden city tickets in Europe on partner airlines and still earn miles on US legacy carriers for the segment I flew.

  43. Cancellation of itineraries is not a universal rule. AirAsia for example does not care about skipped segments and they do not cancel your return journey if you skip the outbound.

  44. @Bart

    I’ve tried that with Turkish Airlines, it was on a return flight from Ankara to Cyprus. I missed the first flight because I arrived too late at the airport, they said I can still take the return flight. I haven’t flown to Cyprus after that, so I am not sure if the ticket would indeed still be valid. The thing with Cyprus is kind of special though, it is considered as international yet it is sort of domestic for TK.

    However, Turkish Airlines always prices their tickets as a one-way for domestic flights. With TK it seems if you always book 2 oneway’s (as part of a return) for domestic flights. A oneway from Istanbul to Ankara costs for instance 30 euro’s, a return flight would cost exactly 60 euro’s. Taking a return flight won’t make the price of the ticket cheaper, you can also book 2 oneway’s and still pay the same price instead of booking a return ticket.

    So I believe Turkish Airlines will keep your ticket intact even if you won’t fly the first flight (assuming its domestic). Since they told me that at their counter. But you can call again just to make sure.

  45. You forgot to mention that sometimes A to B to C flights are cheaper than B to C flights because the airlines want to offer discounts and promotions to a specific market.

    i.e Barcelona to Tokyo with a stop in Paris for 600EUR with Air France but Paris to Tokyo non stop for 800EUR with Air France.
    If you are buying the Barcelona to Tokyo via Paris flight but intend to depart from Paris (because you are living there), you are sabotaging the advertising campaign of the airlines targeting the spanish market.

  46. For example in Finland the consumer disputes board made decision in 2007 that airline was allowed to charge a fee from a consumer who had skipped the last leg of the trip. Though in this case there was checked bags and the consumer attracted way too much attention to himself which made it easy for airline to add extra charges.

  47. if you want to skip a segment, try to make it a tight connection, on a busy flight, go to the gste , with hand luggage, unles you have been on international flight, as you pick bags up at airport to clear customs, (bit long winded, as you have to clear security again) then anyway go ro gate agent, ask if they are full and give ticket up, for say a fee, and then get it re issued, for a day or so, then call airline, saying you went on another ailine, and they should cancel segment?

  48. I travel to the States frequently and due to our exorbitant APD taxes it’s far cheaper to book a return from Dublin via LHR (getting an Aer Lingus cheap single from LGW to DUB) On my return from the States on check in I always say I have Business in London and will they please only check my bags through to LHR and I will reschedule the return to DUB. It has always worked, I’ve done it for years mainly with same airline and never had any comebacks.

  49. If you want to search for these throwaway legs, you should use Skiplagged.com. Their search engine is designed for this. They were actually sued by United a few years ago because it was so effective haha.

  50. I always skip flights on Cathay Pacific, beause they sell PEK-HKG-ORD J RT for 2300USD but HKG-ORD RT for 6600USD. I always position to Beijing one way but not fly back to Beijing on my last leg. I get off my return to Hong Kong, I will simply cancel my checkin for my last flight on my phone or their website then cancel the rest of the ticket without charge. Simple as that

  51. I picked up on something else in those Ts&Cs:
    “Combine 2 or more roundtrip excursion fares end-to-end to circumvent minimum stay requirements (back-to-back ticketing)”
    i.e. if going to work somewhere for two weeks, book out this Monday with return next Friday, and book the other way round for the weekend in the middle (and fly all 4 segments as ticketed)

    That explains the comments a few months ago (I think on this website, but it might have been elsewhere) saying that such bookings were in breach, which I thought were overkill.
    Those commenters were in fact correct about what AA (and I now see United and Delta) say.

    In the Ts&Cs for British Airways, Lufthansa, or Singapore Airlines I see no such attempt at restriction by the airline.
    So this seems to be a US-only issue.

    And I struggle to see any potential court siding with the airline here – the passenger has two individual contracts for carriage, and is not breaching the conditions of either, nor asking for any special treatment to join them together.
    It is the airline trying to join together two separate contracts and imply that the existence of the second changes the terms of the first, which seems legally tenuous.
    Is there any record of an airline trying to enforce this?
    And what was the result?

  52. This is my take on some questions
    -No, a airline can’t charge the difference for a full fare in your credit card if they’re not authorized to. This would be a crime.
    -If you don’t use the return trip from your ticket, you can call the airline and cancel the remaining segments to avoid no-show. Most of airline fares have a maximum stay of a year, and you can try to reissue the same segment if you want to (of course, paying the penalty fee and fare difference). But some airlines will honor the same fare.
    -There’s a lot of rules when you try to change a ticket, is always nice to read all of them.
    -Also, if you try to refund the return trip, you’ll get only the refundable taxes back. When you use a part of ticket, they’ll compare the fare paid with a one-way ticket, plus the cancellation fee.

  53. In Brazil, according to civil aviation laws, you can skip the inbound flight and still use the outbound flight, but in order to do that you must inform the airliner prior to inbound flight departure, otherwise they will cancel the entire ticket

  54. I once had a situation where I had to travel return on MNL-SIN-SYD on SQ and I had to go home to Sydney earlier, only there was no earlier connection. I phoned SQ, moved heaven & earth and had them remove the MNL-SIN segment (for which I took a red eye LCC instead) to connect to the SQ SIN – SYD… It took me about 45min on the phone with SQ to get them to accept my request

  55. On the Skiplagged site I can’t find fares in biz or first. Can someone point out where it is on the displays? Thank you. Dumb old guy.

  56. @Lucky Thanks for the post. Been thinking a lot about this lately. What happens if only one person on the reservation skips the ‘last’ flight, does this cancel everyone else’s reservation as well?
    For example, I booked Etihad to Japan via Cairo for 3 people since prices are generally much lower. On our return, one of my friends would need to fly from Abu Dhabi straight back to the UK. Me and the other friend would go to Cairo before heading back. Will we still be able to fly without every person being present. All 3 of us are under one reservation

  57. Good practical advise. I’ve been in the travel industry 33 years, and agree with all the facts in this article.

  58. Mike, the best thing to do is to call the airline and ask them to “split the PNR”. They can do this so each person is residing in their own record, unless you are on a fare that requires multiple people to travel together (like some of the Canada-Euro deals)

  59. Sometimes, being truthful works well. I ticketed DFW-EWR-ALB and saved quite a bit from ticketing the DFW-EWR non-stop. I called the CO Plat Elite line from EWR and explained that my brother had to drive from NY to Albany so I was going to drive the last stretch to keep him company. The answer: “No problem!!!! Drive safe. I’ll cancel your last segment”.

    This goes to intent as well as ask nicely. (now this was CO and not today’s AA)

  60. Planning an overnight stopover just before the last leg solves a lot of problems. You can short check your bags and no need to show visa or onward ticket from final destination because you won’t be checking in for that leg. Useful for HK based pax taking ex china or Manila NA flights on CX. Just have to remember to add that stop when booking.

  61. All useful info. Keep in mind that if you enter a Country as other than a transit passenger, you will be claiming your bags at the first point of entry. No one will be making sure you re-check them after Customs if you are throwing away the next coupon. As stated, once you are a no show, the rest of your itinerary is likely toast. Also, if you do this more than once or twice on the same carrier, make sure it’s not on that you have miles or elite status on to defend.

    Last, I suggest you do not do this to save twenty buck on a hidden city/throw away ticket. Save the technique for a thousand dollar gain.

  62. Hello, I am very tempted by a hidden ticketing option with a European airline. I would fly A -> B -> C but get-off at B. Would I get any no-show or cancellation fee/penalty from the airline if I would cancel the online check-in for the B -> C segment a couple of hours before flying it/when I would reach B? Is it feasible? Does anyone have any practical experience on this? Thanks

  63. I booked the Cathay glitch and I’m planing to skip the las lag to HAN does anyone know if I’d still be credited for the Rest of the trip I did fly ? Planing to credit to Alaska.

  64. Lucky, what happens on a final leg itinerary (phl-Dublin-Naples and back) from Dublin to Philadelphia, on a four person itinerary, if the fourth person is a no show? Can they turn the other three passengers away for the final leg of the trip?

  65. @ Beth: If there is a good reason (fourth pax was in an accident, stuck in traffic, etc.) it is unlikely the rest of the group would be denied boarding. If this is a planned event, you can divide the PNR to split out the no-show and thus avoid the conversation.

  66. What if you intentionally miss your first flight and try and leave from the city you are connecting from? I have a ticket home that Quito-Bogota-LAX and I don’t want to go back to Quito, but instead stay in Columbia and leave from Bogota. Is that possible?

  67. My question is what if I have an already paid for a round-trip flight to London but now I want to go five days earlier and found a cheaper one-way flight will my return flight on my original round-trip flight still be available

  68. I’m planning on booking a trip to Tokyo , currently the rate from LAS-HND with a layover in LAX or SFO is half the price of LAX to HND straight through , this is for round trip , however coming home the return flight has a layover in LAX, I’m tempted to just scoot home and skip the leg from LAX to LAS since I live in CA , since I’m thinking of ditching the last leg of my return flight what are my risks ? I believe I’d have to go through customs for any checked bags in LAX before boarding for LAS correct ?

  69. @esh23: You would get your bagsin SFO or LAX when you enter the USA so you could simply not re-check them.

    Your only issue would be that you are violating the airline’s contract of carriage and thus its FF program. If you do not accrue status and points with the carrier, there is nothing to worry about.
    If, say, it is on UA and you are a 1-K, I’d give the airline a call and give a believable excuse, such as a family issue, and you understand you will have to rebook on to LAS on your own dime, any nice agent will cancel the last segment for you. Good luck!

  70. If I am an international flight back to the states and I skip the last leg, but want to check bags and HAVE to clear Customs, will the airline force me to recheck to final destination or donyou think I can leave with my bag?

  71. Kenny, You will take possession of your bags at the International gateway to present to Customs at the time of your entry to the USA. After you leave the Customs area, you can re-check them or not. No one is going to be following you around to see what you do.

  72. Hi, I have flight from BLR To SFO on Air India and SFO to San Diego on United airlines booked by corporate, return from San Diego to SFO by United airlines and SFO to Bangalore by AirIndia. Now I would like to skip SFO to San Diego in the whole trip which has single PNR. While i checked with Air India they are ok to give me the boarding pass till SFO where i can collect my baggagge. If i skip SFO to San Diego United Airlines cancel the rest of the trip ?

  73. You are likely playing with fire here unless you reach out to UA and please whatever case you can think of and hope you get someone cooperative. Otherwise, UA will likely see you flagged as a no-show and cancel the balance of the itinerary. Hidden City ticketing is against UA’s contract of carriage (as most airlines) and I suppose you are on UA ticket-stock (??)

  74. I am contemplating buying a roundtrip Business Class CGK-LHR ticket on SQ via SIN, and plan to ditch the last leg SIN-CGK on the return. My question is – anyone understands how SQ calculates / apportions PPS Value on a multi-sector ticket? Surely, SIN-CGK isn’t going to be worth half of the entire LHR-SIN-CGK sectors?

  75. Recently I had an AA international flight with a domestic connection but I just missed the flight, I called up AA, rented a car one way, and drove to the connection (about 3.5 hours away). It was no problem missing that first flight.

  76. That;s what happens when you have a good reason for missing the segment, you notify the carrier of the problem and in your case, the carrier actually created the problem for you. They were probably relieved that you did not ask them to pay for the car.

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