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I am considering buying an ABA round-trip ticket from Air France with a very tight timing: the onward flight would arrive on a Monday, and I would need to return immediately on Tuesday.

Suppose the onward flight on Monday gets cancelled, or severely delayed, and thus I miss the return flight on Tuesday. It is not likely to happen, but entirely possible. Would Air France still get me back to city A at no extra cost?

If this were a ticket from X to Y with transfer through Z, and I missed the ZY leg due a delay on the XZ one, then they would get me to the destination. But the situation I am asking about is different because it concerns a return flight, not a single trip with transfer. The onward and return parts are purchased together though (buying them separately would cost more).

  • Hmmm, this is a difficult one - on one hand, they are separate tickets and thus not linked, but on the other hand the airline sold you the itinerary and thus should know the risks involved, which might trigger a duty of care. How tight are we talking here? – Moo Jan 4 '18 at 21:05
  • @Moo Very tight: arrive at 22:00, leave at 7:00. Basically just pick up fragile luggage that can't easily be posted. I am trying to move permanently, and for various reasons, one of the options I am considering is taking two trips to be able to bring everything safely. – Szabolcs Jan 4 '18 at 21:33
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    That's not tight at all - if the outbound flight gets delayed past a reasonable point, the airline will rebook both flights (especially if you ask them). If the outbound flight gets cancelled, then you don't have to worry about the return at all, as you won't be there to use it. If the outbound flight is only slightly delayed (an hour or two) and you still miss the checkin time for the return, the airline is going to argue that they got you there in a reasonable time to make the return flight, and they would have a point. – Moo Jan 4 '18 at 21:43
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    What exactly do you mean by "onward flight"? Assuming it means the flight from A to B (and the "return flight" is from B back to A), something confuses me: if the onward flight is cancelled, you would already be in city A, so you would have no need to use Air France's services to get back there. – David Z Jan 5 '18 at 2:17
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If they are purchased as one return/round-trip ticket, then yes, Air France should re-accommodate you if the outbound is delayed. However, Monday->Tuesday is not a 'tight timing' unless we're talking about a 2300-0100 windows or similar.

Many airlines would still re-accommodate you on separate tickets if they are the operator of both flights and you meet any applicable minimum connection time.

  • I have a 22:00–7:00 window, which is pretty tight. Basically, I just need to pick up fragile luggage that can't be easily (or cheaply) posted. If there is any problem with the Monday flight, it's basically guaranteed I would miss the Tuesday one. I could try to add an extra day to the window, but it's inconvenient and a hassle (and an extra night of sleep to arrange). Of course I should ask Air France directly instead of Travel.SE. I will try that again, but after keeping me on hold for half an hour, they just hung up, so I thought I'd try here too. – Szabolcs Jan 4 '18 at 21:25
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    @Szabolcs 9 hours is an eternity in airline world ;) If Air France sells you this itinerary, they expect to fly you out and back. I've book similar as mileage runs and never had a problem, sometimes with returns as short as 90 min. – Johns-305 Jan 4 '18 at 22:19

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