I'm considering not using the return leg of my plane ticket since I can't extend the return date beyond a year but I still have enough money to continue travelling.

When I told some friends that I should call the airline to cancel the return part of my ticket some said "Why bother since you're not using it and won't get any money back anyway".

Well I checked and indeed I can't get any refund. But if I don't cancel and don't board the plane, will an airline (Korean Air in my case) consider this as causing them some hassle and perhaps have some repercussions should I fly with them again in the future?

For instance perhaps they could've put somebody else in my seat if I had warned them by cancelling, but maybe they overbook all flights anyway so I'd actually be doing them a favour?

  • possible duplicate of Do you have to take the second leg of a flight?
    – user82
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 17:08
  • 3
    Well I knew about that question and know that I'll lose the rest of the flight. The other question is about skipping a medial leg and still using the final leg. Mine is about skipping the final leg. The answers to the previous question tell you you'll lose the rest of your ticket. In this question obviously whether you take the final leg or not the ticket is done... but what I want to know is does it get you some kind of "black mark" or not for not informing the airline that I'm not showing? Commented May 12, 2012 at 20:44
  • 2
    Good point. +1'd.
    – user82
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


I'm presuming that you've got a non-refundable fare otherwise this is a fairly pointless question - just contact the airline, cancel your ticket, and get your money back.

If it's not a refundable fare, the best option is to NOT cancel it - yet.

There are a number of things that can happen between now and when the flight is scheduled that can give you cause go to the airline and ask for a full refund, even for tickets that don't allow it.

The first of these is a "schedule change", where the airlines sometimes rearrange their schedules and thus change the times of flights. If the change is sufficiently large (eg, more than about 2 hours) the you can normally contact the airline and ask for them to refund the ticket.

The second is "waivers", which airlines sometime publish around times of bad weather/strikes/etc. These waivers are basically the airline giving passengers the option to cancel/change their plans in order to reduce the number of services they have to fly. Generally these waivers are short (often a day or two, occasionally as much as a week) and will only cover one or a small number of airlines. Keep an eye on the airlines website in the days before the flight to see if they have such a waiver covering your flight.

The odds of either of these happening are low - but they do happen so it's worth checking!

If neither of those happen, then it's generally good form to contact the airline a day or so before your flight and cancel the ticket. It's possible that by doing this you'll end up with a "credit" for future travel, as even most non-refundable tickets can be canceled - but there'll normally be a fee involved. If the value of the ticket is less than the fee you'll get nothing. If it's more, you'll get the difference.

If you know that you're not going to get a credit back, then there's no "need" to cancel the ticket - the airline won't "black mark" you or anything like that - but it's still good practice to do it anyway. If nothing else, think of the person who needed that seat but wasn't able to get it because the flight was full - by canceling your ticket a day or two before, you give them the option of getting onto the flight!

  • The ticket was I assume a non-refundable ticket since it was the cheapest I could find, but since it's a 1-year Australia-Turkey return that still cost about $2,000. But reading around on the Korean Air website they say I can only get a refund if I cancel a month or more before the expiration of the ticket, which is now 13 days away. But maybe I'm missing something! (-: Commented May 13, 2012 at 5:15
  • 2
    Best option is to pickup and phone and call. Ticket rules can be complex and vary a lot between airlines and fare classes - don't take anything you read on the website as being correct as it could be for a different fare class.
    – Doc
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 5:23
  • 4
    Also, for non-refundable tickets, there are often taxes/fees that can be refunded (less admin fees), which can be worth doing for expensive tickets
    – Gagravarr
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 12:26
  • In general, canceling your ticket will not get someone onto the plane who would not have otherwise flown. Instead, it will move someone from standby to a reserved seat. That person would have flown on standby anyway, since we are assuming that you don't show at the gate.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 2:55
  • 1
    schedule change has happened to me when I had decided not to fly and I felt like the luckiest person on Earth! Got a full refund :D
    – papakias
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 7:57

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