Friday, May 24th 2024

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from airports that start with Y."

What happens if I intentionally miss a leg of my flight ticket?

I often see people wondering what happens if they intentionally miss a leg of their ticketed flight.

For example, let's say you booked a flight from Your Hometown to Final Destination City, but it has a layover in Desired City on the way there.

And Desired City is where you actually want to end up.

You can certainly leave the airport once you get to your layover at Desired City. You're not breaking any law, assuming you meet all the usual requirements for visiting somewhere.

Just make sure to travel only with carry-on, unless you're absolutely sure there's a way to retrieve your checked luggage at Desired City.

BUT, the problem is, the airline will notice you intentionally missed the next leg from Desired City to Final Destination City.

And all airlines automatically cancel the remaining legs on your ticket, once you *intentionally* miss any leg.

So, if you have a roundtrip ticket, and you do this on the way *there*, they will automatically cancel your flights home.

But, if you have a roundtrip ticket, and you fly all the legs on the way there, and then leave the airport at Desired City on the way *home*, well, they'll still cancel all remaining legs, but it doesn't affect you.

What if I book two one way flights instead?

Yep, you could book a one way flight from Your Hometown to Desired City to Final Destination.

And then if you leave the airport at Desired City, it doesn't affect your other, separate, one way ticket home at all.

Yes, there are caveats - if you do this too often, the airline may get angry and try to do something about it (usually by impacting your frequent flyer account somehow). But generally speaking, if you're a normal person that does this every now and again, nothing will happen.

Why do the airlines do this? They're so annoying!

From our point of view as a traveler, it's hard to understand why you can't just skip a leg. Why does the airline care? It should be cheaper to fly a plane with one less person on it, right?

From the airline's point of view, they price all of their tickets based primarily on the demand levels between Your Hometown and Final Destination City.

So if you, as the savvy consumer, notice that you have two options:

Option 1) Your Hometown to Desired City to Final Destination - $200
Option 2) Your Hometown to Desired City - $400

The airline certainly knows that Option 2, a non-stop flight from Your Hometown to Desired City is what everyone really wants (higher demand), and will pay more for it.

And Option 1 may be to a Final Destination that less people want to go to, so the airline can price it lower.

But the airlines don't want people to undercut them out of that money by buying the less desirable Option 1, and converting it into the more desirable Option 2 for free.

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