I'm looking to book flights from) Philadelphia (PHL) to Detroit (DTW). Direct flights are quite expensive. I noticed, in expanding a search to surrounding airports, that I can book from Allentown (ABE) to Detroit for far less, and the connection is through Philadelphia.

Can I book this flight but board in Philadelphia? I'll be traveling with carry-on luggage only, so on the return, it's obviously no problem. But would I be allowed through security and on to the plane in PHL with out having flown from Allentown?

  • Why don't you call the airline and get a definitive answer and share it with us?
    – user13107
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 1:42
  • 1
    Mark's answer is definitive enough for me. I read the linked answer, and while not a duplicate, it is relevant. However, on an external link from there I got the idea to look at separate one-way flights, which were not crazily priced. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 1:46

2 Answers 2


Don't you hate that? ;) Sadly, no, if you miss a leg of a flight at any point on a ticket, they'll cancel ALL other legs of the flight.

So unless you can get yourself to Allentown, you are unable to take that flight.

It's for various reasons, logistics, regional pricing, airport taxes, but basically, no, you can't.

Similar question here, with the same response

  • 3
    This is one of the most dangerous things that people do to try to save money. If you buy a round-trip and only the first direction (making it a one-way), you will usually get away with it. (Sometimes frequent fliers get into trouble with the airline for doing this too often). But if you buy a multi-segment trip and miss the first, the remainder will definitely be cancelled quickly. The airline can sometimes work with you to use alternate routings when there are weather or mechanical problems, but you should never buy a ticket up front expecting to do something like this. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 21:16
  • What is the source for your answer? The other answer you linked to doesn't mention any source either.
    – user13107
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 1:43
  • 1
    It's on many airlines TOS, but here's a link from business insider.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 1:54
  • I had a reservation cancelled because of confusion over whether or not I was on the standby list for an earlier flight for the first leg (two legs each way). I didn't think I was on the list, but I actually was and I cleared. But when I wasn't at the gate, they canceled the whole thing. I nearly lost my upgraded seats, but they did reinstate it. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 21:29

I don't think the previous comment made "Sadly, no, if you miss a leg of a flight at any point on a ticket, they'll cancel ALL other legs of the flight." is true. I once made it very late to a flight and they rushed me through without even scanning my ticket. I don't think they meant to not scan it. I told them my name and showed them my Id and they allowed me to go through since they were just about to close the doors. It wasn't until I was sitting in the plane that I realized my ticket was not scanned. I was traveling from Hawaii to Texas which had a connecting flight in (LAX) Los Angeles.

I was worried that because my ticket was not scanned there was no record that I was even on the plane and they might cancel my entire trip. This was in April/May2018

The only thing that occurred was that I was not able to get points for flying from Hawaii to LAX, but I'm not complaining I never use those things anyways. I made it on my Los Angeles to Texas flight with no issues. Perhaps some airlines have rules against flying connection only, but the one I was on apparently lets you catch connection flights thankfully.

Maybe just check with the airlines you use to book your flights to see what their policy is because they might allow it?

  • 2
    I don't doubt your experience but the vast majority of reports say that missing the first flight will cause cancellation of subsequent flights. Your ticket may not have been scanned, but airline staff had your name and we don't know what might have happened behind the scenes to, in effect, acknowledge in the airline's computer system that you were on board the aircraft. I agree with other posters that the most likely (read: almost assured) result of missing a flight on a multi-flight ticket does indeed result in cancelation of subsequent sectors. It's a bad bet. Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 15:06

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