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I booked a morning flight (US domestic) on Delta airlines. Unfortunately, something came up at work and I need to shift to an evening flight (same airline, same origin, same destination, 8 hours later) so that I can spend the day at work.

I can't get any money back for the morning flight. Is there any harm in keeping both tickets? Will the airline notice that I can't possibly take both flights and cancel one or both tickets?

There is a reasonable chance that my work engagement will be cancelled or rescheduled. (It has already been rescheduled once.) So if that happens I'll take my original flight. Thus there is some reason to keep both tickets.

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    I have booked the same ticket & itinerary on delta several times to take advantage of the 24 hour hold. Do they see it? I am sure, the systems are pretty sophisticated. I don’t think they care, after all they’re getting paid. – user 56513 Jun 4 at 18:19
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Delta indeed may notice this and cancel one or more of your bookings. From their policies (in a page intended for travel agents):

All duplicate bookings generated by a single GDS subscriber are prohibited, including:

Multiple itineraries for any number of passengers with the same passenger name, whether identical itineraries or not

Reserving one or more seats on the same flight or different flights for the same time frame, regardless of the class of service or format used to make the reservations

Additionally, creating a reservation where it is logically impossible to be used on each segment created across one or more PNRs or GDSs is not permitted.

And from their contract of carriage:

E) Duplicate, Fictitious and impossible/illogical bookings

Delta prohibits duplicate, impossible, or fictitious bookings, including but not limited to multiple conflicting itineraries for the same passenger on the same day or bookings with connections that depart before the arrival of the inbound flight. Delta reserves the right to cancel any such booking which has not been ticketed, and to cancel and refund any such booking which is ticketed at a refundable fare.

They do have systems to catch this, where it's physically impossible for you to take both flights. Anecdotal experience varies on how this is enforced, with some people saying it worked out and some saying that the airline canceled one or contacted them to make them choose which reservation to keep.

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    This seems to be mainly about "bookings that have not been ticketed". Once the airline had been paid for both tickets, they have much less reason to object. – Henning Makholm Jun 4 at 20:08
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    Delta reserves the right to cancel any such booking which has not been ticketed, and to cancel and refund any such booking which is ticketed at a refundable fare. In my case, both flights have been paid and ticketed and are nonrefundable fare, so this doesn't seem to apply to me. – Thomas Jun 4 at 20:37
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    It's clear that their rules prohibit this (this is an "impossible" booking). Whether or not they take any action I cannot say; it appears they have done so inconsistently in the past. – Zach Lipton Jun 5 at 0:38
  • on another airline, someone I knew booked a 30 minute flight from a-b, back from b-a, and then a-b and b-a again all on the same day. Half of them were cancelled. He had to call and explain why he needed to do that; the system was able to retain them after he talked to an agent. the same may apply at Delta. – Kate Gregory Jul 20 at 15:07

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