I bought a round-trip flight with KLM from Amsterdam to Toronto and already used the first part of the ticket to arrive to the destination. The ticket is not refundable. Now my plans have changed and I don't want to fly back.

I remember when I was buying the ticket, a one-way flight was twice as expensive. So I'm fine with not getting any refund back for the second half.

What would be the best thing to do?

If I cancel the ticket (there is a cancellation fee), will they charge me extra for the price difference of one-way ticket plus cancellation fee?

If I don't show up, are they going to charge extra for the price difference? In this case, is it better not to check-in?

  • 4
    I don't have a full answer on this, but I found the following on the KLM website: 'In case you cancel your flight(s) for other reasons than those mentioned above and have a non-refundable ticket, you can request a refund of unused airport tax. ' So might still be worth cancelling the flight. I don't think they are able to charge you more money for cancelling your ticket.
    – drat
    Jan 18, 2018 at 7:04
  • 2
    Are you sure there’s a cancellation fee? If it’s non-refundable, there should be no fee for that (or they consider they pay back the ticket but charge a fee which is equal to its price do the end result is 0). Note that in many cases you actually will n’t Be able to cancel a non-refundable ticket online.
    – jcaron
    Jan 18, 2018 at 8:36

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure about KLM specifically, but in general it works the following way

  1. If you cancel BEFORE your outbound flight, they will charge a change fee AND the price difference to a one way ticket. If you don't pay up, they will cancel your outbound flight. DON'T DO THAT
  2. If your cancel AFTER your outbound flight, they will most likely charge you a change fee and refund half of the ticket cost as airline credit for future flights. That applies often to non-refundable tickets as well. Whether that's useful or not depends on the details. It may be, if the refund is significantly bigger than the change fee ($200-$300 or so) and if you fly the airline regularly
  3. If you simply don't show, nothing happens. No refund, no extra charges. The airline has no real leverage. That's what most people will do in this situation.

One would think that the airline would encourage cancellation to no-shows, so they can resell the seat. But due to their convoluted revenue optimizations systems, that's not the case.

  • 1
    This doesn't line up with my experience, at least outside the US? Usually airlines separate cancellation and change fees. I've never had to pay more to cancel a flight, and indeed have gotten refunds on taxes etc instead. Jun 1, 2021 at 5:05

Every flight has rules attached to it which sets out the conditions for the particular flight. You should have received it via email when you booked. You can otherwise request it from the airline.

For example, this is a Qatar flight to Johannesburg from Dublin (https://matrix.itasoftware.com/#view-rules:research=DUBJNB;solution=0fNXz2onl1MHLsrfQzptto8/Bsts6jTuULSSKwKdQlggJE00A;fare-key=0/0), it has the following penalties listed:


On the other hand, I had a ticket with Norwegian Airlines over the summer I didn't use and there wasn't a cancellation fee nor a no-show fee. It depends on the airline and the class of ticket sold.


Either way you should try to recoup the taxes and fees. I think at least in Europe they're required to repay them for flights you don't use, since they're only paying them on your behalf if you actually take the flight.

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