Skip first flight, second flight on different carrier?
October 2, 2011 9:36 AM   Subscribe

If I skip my first leg, will my return leg be cancelled? Note/quirk: The reservation is on two separate, non-related (i.e. not same alliance) airlines, but there is only one ticket. Flight was booked on a Travelocity.

I will/would call them, but this sounds like I'm being a little sneaky, but within the rules. I need to skip the first because I made a mistake booking the flight, and it would be cheaper to book a new one way rather than handle the change fees, etc.

Are these in all intents in purposed two one ways?
posted by sandmanwv to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
It's on the same ticket? You had better assume that the return leg will be canceled. You might luck out, but I wouldn't count on it. Even if they are not in the same alliance, the airlines still have ways of communicating with each other and canceling and changing reservations.
posted by grouse at 9:43 AM on October 2, 2011

If you miss the first leg, or any part of your flight itinerary, the rest will be cancelled. This is pretty much standard AFAIK.
posted by gnutron at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2011

Is it possible not that it's one ticket, but that the two bookings simply came on the same invoice? Can you log into each respective airline's website to check each booking? If you can, and if neither mentions the other, you might be fine, but I wouldn't bank on it.

I'd call the second airline, and only the second airline. Tell them you booked through an intermediary, that something came up which might make you miss your first flight on [other airline], and you're wondering whether your return flight with them would be fine in that case, or if you'd be SOL. For all you know, they might say you've only booked a one-way with them, and won't have a clue what you're talking about, though I'm not sure how much collusion goes on with these things.
posted by matlock expressway at 10:12 AM on October 2, 2011

I asked a similar question on flyertalk, and the answer was that if you skip any leg of ticket, the rest of your itinerary will be automatically cancelled.

I'm not sure if your "different airlines" wrinkle is relevant to that or not, so take that for what it's worth.
posted by jcreigh at 10:27 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just call and ask. Who cares if it sounds sneaky? Their problem, not yours.

You bought the ticket and want to know the conditions that come with it. It amazes me that we have a service industry with so much power that we walk on tiptoe around their ever-more-absurd rules lest we offend them and they deny us their product.
posted by pla at 10:27 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I asked an airline about this once, and they did say that I wouldn't be allowed on the remaining legs of the flight because that behaviour tends to be correlated with people who are a security risk.
posted by Kololo at 10:43 AM on October 2, 2011

We just went through pretty much this exact same situation, (creepily so, in fact - I just asked my bf if he'd gotten a Mefi acct) and the useless people at Travelocity basically said taking both flights or paying the change fee are the only ways to handle the situation. If you're a no show they cancel the whole thing.
posted by brilliantine at 10:46 AM on October 2, 2011

In my experience, it is possible to cancel the outbound leg of a trip without canceling the return (or vice versa). You can cancel the leg you don't intend to take up to 1 hour before its departure, and if you are very clear that you will still be using the other leg, it should be fine. The first choice would be doing it online at the website of the airline you are flying on, because that way you can control what is entered into the system. If you call, tell the person you speak with that you are only canceling one leg, ask them to cancel that segment, and then after it is done ask them to verify that the return leg is still ticketed. Then call the second airline and verify with them as well.

Note - this works for canceling the outbound flight but keeping the return - you cannot to the best of my knowledge cancel just one flight segment of a leg with layovers and keep a connecting flight (e.g. if you are flying LA to NY with a layover to Chicago, you could not keep only Chicago-NY without the LA-Chicago segment without doing a ticket change).

If you do not cancel but don't show up, any other flights on the same ticket are likely to be automatically canceled.
posted by unsub at 11:01 AM on October 2, 2011

Just a data point but we had missed our connection and decided to rent a car at the layover site instead of staying overnight, flying to our original destination and then driving. The airline staff assured us that this would not affect our return flight. When we went to check in for the return, we were told that our return had been cancelled but there was no problem getting it fixed. (Hardly sounds like any of the major airlines, does it? Well, that's what happened.) I would suggest that if you do keep your ticket, call again (or check on line) the day AFTER your outbound flight and make sure the return is still in the system.
posted by metahawk at 2:28 PM on October 2, 2011

it depends where you are flying. and with which airline.

This past spring I booked a flight from Vancouver to Bergen via Seattle, Reykjavik and Oslo, with the same itinerary, backwards, to return home in April this year.

On my way back, I decided to leave Bergen a little early, I took the overland train from Bergen to Oslo (HIGHLY recommended this train! gorgeous scenery), I stayed in Oslo for a few days then I took a flight from Oslo to Reykjavik, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

The people at the Oslo airport (on my way in) assured me that it would be ok for me to do this. My travel agent in Vancouver, however, adamantly told me that the balance of my flight would be canceled if, on my return journey, I skipped that first leg of Bergen-Oslo.

Well, to make a long story short, on my last day in Europe I showed up at the airport in Oslo at the time that my Bergen flight would have arrived and checked in. No problems - only a few stomach rumbles from nervousness. The folks at the Oslo airport were right all along.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:27 PM on October 2, 2011

the facts: I was traveling with Icelandic to Oslo, and with SAS from Oslo to Bergen.
And what I did: I asked the airport personnel in that country how this would be handled in their airport. They know better than Travelocity, Expedia or even my own travel agent. Hearing from the Oslo people gave me some degree of reassurance, and I was pleased that they were right.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:39 PM on October 2, 2011

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