Upcoming trip airline travel question
May 14, 2014 4:59 PM   Subscribe

I have an upcoming trip to and from Chapel Hill, NC. While there, we will be traveling to the Washington DC area. My return flight leaves RDU, near Chapel Hill and routes through IAD, Dulles, at DC. Skipping the flight from RDU would save about four hours of driving back to North Carolina and realistically provide another full day in the DC area. Can I do this? If so, what are the restrictions and gotchas? Can I roll the RDU-IAD flight revenue over into a seat upgrade? Personal experiences with trying to do this welcome. Direct experience from airline and travel pros also welcome. Speculative answers less welcome. Thanks very much!

After trying to reach a real human at the issuing agency, American Express travel, and the airline, United, for an upcoming trip and in each case failing with an expected wait time in excess of an hour, I thought, what the hell? AskMe might actually increase my data on the subject.
posted by mwhybark to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Airlines will often cancel your entire ticket if you don't show up for the first leg. That would be my main concern with this idea.
posted by brilliantine at 5:02 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The airline will not let you do this. Your entire ticket will be void if you try to pick up the second leg only.
posted by quince at 5:06 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

No, you can't do this without changing your ticket with the airline or they will cancel your ticket.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:08 PM on May 14, 2014

Definitely don't just skip part of your itinerary, or you'll find the rest cancelled as others have said. But, it's worth it to see what your options are for changing the flights so that you arrive in RDU, and return home from IAD. Airlines are a lot more flexible about this than they used to be.
It might be worth the addl fee to a travel agent to try and sort out the options and make the change for you. The agent I work with charges $30 and seems like it might be worth that to you to avoid an extra drive to NC, and not have to spend hours on the phone yourself.
posted by msbubbaclees at 8:29 PM on May 14, 2014

Response by poster: $30 for a change fee is eminently reasonable. I do understand I'd have to get the tickets changed. I suppose the outstanding issue is just getting through to the agency or airline.
posted by mwhybark at 10:22 PM on May 14, 2014

flyertalk.com web forum sounds like it's a good place for you. It has tons of information and I'm sure many people who could have helpful tips for something like this.
posted by crawltopslow at 12:32 AM on May 15, 2014

American Express travel will pass on the $150 change fee from your airline, I'm not sure how $30 will be possible. You should work with them if possible.

Your best bet is them to cancel your original itinerary and issue the following flight:


The flight will use your original fare (minus $150). This may or may not be cheaper than your original flight. In my experience, you will pay $150.

Rolling your 'leg' costs into an upgrade won't be possible, and something I've never heard of. In fact, your new flight might cost more than your original.

(I've travelled on 300 flights the last 3 years)
posted by sandmanwv at 6:14 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

sandmanwv: American Express travel will pass on the $150 change fee from your airline, I'm not sure how $30 will be possible. You should work with them if possible.

I assumed the $30 was a service charge from the agent in addition to the $150 from the airline.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:37 AM on May 15, 2014

Response by poster: so 2x 150+30 = 360 / 4 = $90/hr, therefore not worth it
posted by mwhybark at 9:28 AM on May 16, 2014

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