I booked and paid for a round trip non-stop ticket from Brussels to NY and back for my daughter's wedding. Since then, I found out that I actually have to get there earlier than originally planned.

I figured that's not such a big problem, I'll get a one way to the states and come back on my original ticket. Only I was just informed that if I don't take the first flight, they'll cancel my return.

So I looked into a way around this. They can cancel my first flight for me, for an additional charge, and leave my return flight as is.
The cost of the round trip ticket was $513 USD. To make the change of cancelling the first leg, they will charge me an additional $2,406.60 USD.
This is absolutely absurd, abusive and dishonest. They already have my money. If I don't occupy that seat, there is no additional cost to them. Anyone know of a good way around this?

  • 1
    And what about change the date of the first leg?
    – Ivan
    Jun 6 '15 at 15:13
  • 3
    It might be cheaper to cancel the whole trip then book again with the new dates, are your tickets cancellable ?
    – blackbird
    Jun 6 '15 at 15:20
  • It sounds like you are trying to turn a return ticket into a oneway ticket. This is usually a mistake. Can you not change the date of the first leg?
    – Calchas
    Jun 6 '15 at 16:27
  • I had a similar situation few years back. I missed the first leg of the flight (Turkish Air.) and flew few days later with another company from another city. When i reached the destination i went to the TA office at the airport and they manually 'put back' my return ticket, which i noticed before was removed from their system due to no show on the first flight They charged me no additional cost or anything.
    – Nemirni
    Jun 6 '15 at 17:09
  • Not a solution for you, but as an amusing recent example of the extreme lengths people will go to to avoid this sort of thing: theguardian.com/money/2015/jun/05/…
    – timday
    Jun 7 '15 at 9:50

There is (generally speaking) no way around this. In your situation you have four options:

  1. Cancel the original ticket and book a new one. This may be useless if the original fare doesn't allow refunds. However it would free up a seat for some other traveler who might need a last-minute ticket.

  2. Book a new one-way ticket and alter the original reservation. You've already found out this is prohibitively expensive, since one-way fares can often be more expensive than round-trip fares. The reasons for this are discussed here.

  3. Alter the date of the original Brussels->NY flight so that you can get there earlier.

  4. Ignore the original reservation and get a brand new return ticket.

The airlines are following a certain contract to which you've agreed when booking the ticket. It may or may not be absurd, but that's just how modern airlines operate.

  • 1
    1 would be preferable to 4. Even if the ticket is in principle non-refundable, you may get lucky. Happened to me once with Lufthansa: a few days after cancelling a "non-refundable" ticket, I unexpectedly received a full refund, down to the last cent. It also seems like common courtesy to let the airline know in advance that you won't make it.
    – fkraiem
    Jun 7 '15 at 2:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.