As we know airlines combat hidden city ticketing by cancelling your entire ticket (including return trip) if you skip a leg. But how is this handled -- what happens if you are late from your connection, can this misfire? I guess the question is, do you need to worry that a late connection causes your entire ticket to be forfeit? Especially because the delay easily can be a day or at worst even more in case of transoceanic routes which only fly once a day.

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    As an anecdote my friends did this from NYC-Spain where they missed their layover in London. They got the next flight from London fine and the airline mentioned nothing about the return flight until they tried to check in for it the next week and were told it had been cancelled. They ended up having to buy a new flight, and many many calls later they got the ticket prices refunded a few weeks later
    – Uciebila
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 9:49
  • It depends on the country. In case of huge delays, EU rules that you can ask to return to original airport (and still having usual compensations). To stop in an intermediate city: I assume you need to negotiate with airline (reduction of costs, possibly no more compensation). Note: I missed connection various times (also on international flight) you will get hotel and rebook (once they offered me just a stand by, because no place in next 2 days) Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 10:02
  • Knowing airlines do those cancellations, I would contact them as soon as possible, hoping to stop them or getting them to un-cancel the reservation if they can. Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 11:36

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It would be very rare and unusual for the airline to void the rest of your ticket on purpose in case of a delay with a "hidden city" argument . They only would do this if they assume you missed the connection on purpose.

However, when a missed connection occurs, some rebooking needs to happen and it happens depressingly often that your return flight get wiped out by accident or incompetence, especially if multiple different airlines are involved (marketing carrier, multiple operating carriers).

I guess the question is, do you need to worry that a late connection causes your entire ticket to be forfeit?

Yes, you do. But not because of hidden city ticketing penalty but because of complexities and incompetence in changing, rebooking, or re-issuing the existing ticket. Best practice is to check the confirmation number online with the airline after the change and to check in as early as possible. If they screw up you are still entitled to transport but it can take a lot of time and energy to sort this out.

Example: we were flying outbound with Delta+KLM but due to a delay we got rerouted with Air France. My return on Al Italia was wiped out. My son+partner returns were perfectly fine although all 3 tickets were on the same reservation.

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