Which airlines will cancel the return leg (and intermediate legs if any) of a flight if you do not use the outward portion? This is assuming you bought outward and return as one transaction, rather than buying them separately.

Airlines are apparently notorious for cancelling return legs without warning in these circumstances. See for example https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/which-airline-no-show-flight-clause-cancel-no-refund-air-travel-a8978801.html

However I recently was able to travel with Vueling having missed the outbound flight, arrived at my destination by other means and then used the return half of the ticket to get home. I checked with Vueling and they definitely have a policy of not cancelling such return tickets.

Similarly Ryanair say "You don't need to notify us if you are unable to travel and if you can’t use your outbound flight, you can still use your return flight." https://help.ryanair.com/hc/en-us/articles/360017824978-Refund-Policy

So my question is, does anyone have a list of which airlines will cancel return flights and which will not?

  • 5
    I imagine the list would largely consist of low cost airlines such as Ryanair and Vueling, due to their pricing models.
    – Traveller
    Nov 9, 2021 at 17:54
  • 22
    Any list provided as an answer will be (a) incomplete, because there are thousands of airlines, and (b) eventually out of date, because airlines come and go (or their own policies change). Nov 9, 2021 at 19:20
  • 7
    ...because, those airlines see each segment as a totally separate trip. That's a huge problem for you: if your London-Munich trip is delayed, making you miss your Munich-Rome connection, tough beans. It's your fault for not leaving enough contingency time, even though it's the same airline! Nov 10, 2021 at 6:18
  • @Traveller the question explicitly mentions Vueling and Ryanair as not being on the list
    – Aaron F
    Nov 10, 2021 at 10:16
  • 2
    @Traveller ah now I see, sorry for the misunderstanding
    – Aaron F
    Nov 10, 2021 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


Instead of giving a list of airlines, I’ll give a few pointers which can help find out.

The reason airlines cancel subsequent segments of a missed flight is to avoid passengers taking advantage of hidden-city ticketing (where a flight A-B-C is often cheaper than A-B or B-C) or abusing cheap round-trip fares with attached conditions (staying at the destination a minimum amount of time or over the week-end, for instance), which cost a lot less then two separate one-way flights.

For the former, it implies the airline selling connecting flights (usually through one of their hubs). For the latter, it implies airlines which have return fares.

Both are the traditional model of the incumbents (former flag carriers) and other “full service” airlines.

On the contrary, most low cost carriers usually have a much simpler model: each flight is independent. No connections, and no discounts for return trips. You can book the two segments separately, it will usually be exactly the same price as the return flight (there may be a small difference due to taxes and/or local currencies, but it will be quite symbolic.

So those airlines, like Vueling or Ryanair in your question, do not care if you miss a flight. You paid for it whether you did or did not fly, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

On the other hand, full service airlines do have an interest in preventing you from “abusing” their “cheap” fares, and are a lot more likely to cancel subsequent flights. Note that this may vary depending on the fare paid: fully flexible fares usually won’t have these policies applied (since there’s no “discount”), but of course reading the fine print is essential.

There are certainly exceptions here or there (and there are airlines which are difficult to classify), but that’s the essence of it.

  • @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ I think jcaron is referring to subsequent flights on the same ticket. Because that's really all this is about.
    – Jan
    Nov 10, 2021 at 12:43
  • Correct. The OP was referring to "full-service" airlines Nov 10, 2021 at 13:13
  • You can book the two segments separately, it will usually be exactly the same price as the return flight → you may have a booking fee that is applied to the separate tickets, vs only one fee if this is a return trip.
    – WoJ
    Nov 10, 2021 at 20:25

Vueling doesn't seem to mind at least

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