I found two (Austrian) articles (in German; from a not unserious newspaper): https://derstandard.at/1271377233456/Nach-versaeumten-Hinflug-Urteil-untersagt-Airlines-Storno-von-Rueckflug https://derstandard.at/1358305364054/OGH-kippt-AUA-Hin--und-Rueckflugklausel

from 2010 and 2013, respectively. If I understand them correctly, some court in Austria ruled that Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa are not allowed to prevent passsengers, who missed the first flight, to board on the return flight. (The first article says that in this case, the passengers must pay the price difference to a one way ticket, the second article says that passengers do not have to pay the price difference anymore).

What is the situation today? Are there similar rulings in other (possibly EU) countries? So my question is: Which airlines allow (and under which circumstances) to use only the return flight?

Edit: I was told that this question might be far too broad to be allowed for this site and that I should reduce it. So I want to ask this question only for EU airlines (and afterwards I will probably open a question for non-EU airlines).

  • A recent sentence by Spain Supreme Court(link in Spanish) also banned that practice. But IIRC you need two Supreme Court sentences in the same direction in order to set jurisprudence, so it is probable that the airlines will try to keep the practice for a while and challenging it may require going with the lawsuit all the way up to the Supreme Court again.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 28, 2018 at 20:28
  • If you're asking about any country and any airline worldwide then this is far too broad, and may even be unanswerable. I'm voting to close on that basis, but a more focussed question, such as EU only, or US only might yield fruit.
    – user79658
    Nov 29, 2018 at 1:54
  • There's also cases where the airline doesn't book 'round-trip' tickets, just two separate flights that are linked.
    – Johns-305
    Nov 29, 2018 at 13:19
  • @SJuan76: Thank you for your comment! THat's interesting! Do you mean two sentences such that, say, Iberia changes this practise or two sentences such that all (EU) airlines change this practise? Nov 29, 2018 at 16:49
  • @Johns-305: Thank you for your comment! Do you know how I as a passenger can distinguish between the two? (That's the first time I hear about that.) Nov 29, 2018 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


My experience:

I travelled UK - Italy for a week's holiday in late-2015. I just missed the check-in cutoff time for my outbound flight (actually, they said I could still check-in, but not my luggage). Rather than wear the same underwear for a week, I elected to move my outbound flight to the later afternoon departure, paid the change booking fee, and then had to hang around the airport for hours. I had no problems with the return flight, which I made sure I arrived in good time for.

I suspect that if you miss the outbound flight and immediately change your flight to a later one, they will still honour the return. If however, you just don't show up, don't talk to the airline, and make your own way to the return departure point, I would expect them to have cancelled your return leg as well.

  • When they issued you a later afternoon outbound departure, did they just reissue the outbound or the entire return ticket keeping the return flight the same as in original itinerary? Nov 29, 2018 at 21:09
  • @BhushanKale: Since I only just missed the check-in with luggage time (it was ~35 mins before departure time), the plane hadn't actually taken off. I can't really remember for sure, but I think they just modified my existing booking for me, changing the outbound flight and keeping the same return flight. They charged me a change booking fee (~£140!!) and gave me a boarding pass for the later flight.
    – Nick
    Nov 29, 2018 at 21:18

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