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City A - City B - City C, all one ticket, roughly $220. The layover in city B is only an hour, and City A - City B is a transatlantic flight. The direct flight for the first leg is about $380. There is a direct flight City B - City C a few hours later for $30.

My question: Is it reasonable to book the full route and the single leg later, in case I miss my connection? This is over $100 cheaper. The second flight gives me a guarantee of when I'll reach the end destination, whereas if I just miss the connection, that specific flight might be full and I could have to wait longer. If I don't miss the connection I will not be taking the second flight.

This feels similar to hidden city booking, but I am planning on going all the way through the trip, so most of the concerns there don't apply. The remaining concern is that airlines won't like or won't allow me to book two flights knowing that I will only take one of them (but not knowing which one at this point).

  • Would this be a one-way ticket, or your outbound or inbound flight? If it’s the outbound it seems to me your airline might cancel the return booking if you do miss the City B - City C connection and decide to use your contingency booking, unless you tell them what you’re doing at the time and they agree not to cancel. – Traveller Oct 14 at 15:32
  • One way, I'm coming back to a different city – Zach Oct 14 at 17:28
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It’s a good idea to make sure you don’t miss your flight.

Some airlines will cancel your booking though, for example United airlines as stated in United’s Contact of Carriage have the right to cancel your ticket:

The types of improper reservations that UA will cancel without notice include, but are not limited to … reservations made for the same passenger on flights travelling on or about the same date between one or more of the same or nearby origin or destination cities; and reservations with connections that depart before the arrival on the inbound flight.

Therefore, if you do book two flights I recommend doing it with different airlines when it shouldn’t be a problem. A lot of people cancel flights these days and it isn’t unusual.

On the other hand, though, flight tickets are sold together on the basis that the airline thinks you can make the connection. Therefore, if you miss the connection it will be the airline's fault.

  • I'll check to see if it's the same airline once I get home tonight. I know it would be the airline's fault, but losing $30 (if I make the connection but have payed for the other flight) is preferable to a few hours extra delay in getting to the final destination. – Zach Oct 14 at 17:30
  • Not sure how this is enforceable if you just use a different DOB when booking - otherwise lots of people with the same name will be angry. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Oct 14 at 17:58
  • @JonathanReez Using a different DOB is providing false info and you can't fly – user89966 Oct 14 at 18:12
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    Nope, nobody ever checks your DOB. I always put random stuff there when flying domestically. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Oct 14 at 18:14

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