View Full Version : Dodgy Tickets

Final 3 Greens
27th Apr 2004, 16:56
A travel agent has just tried to sell me a heavily discounted return ticket on the basis that I can throw away the second coupon and use the first as a cheap one way ticket.

Whilst it is irritating to be "stung" for an expensive one way flight, my immediate reaction is that this tactic is fraudulent and I did not accept the offer, I booked one way only.

Any lawyers out there care to comment? Am I being too naive?

Boss Raptor
27th Apr 2004, 17:12
It is possible and not necessarily dodgy or illegal but the agent will come under some pressure from the airlines and consolidators if they sus his game as that's officially a no no...on the other hand it could be a dodgy ticket...I never buy tickets from any source other than my trusted business travel arranger and if he chooses to buy my ticket from a consolidator he only buys direct from the airlines designated consol agent here in the UK...and yes we have done the trick you mention...

1st May 2004, 15:52
I checked in a few days ago, and was asked by the check in staff if I intended to use the return half....said no...she said, shall I can it now...I said what a load of B******cks, if a return ticket, is cheaper than a single. she said, that's the system.....so lets all play the game....

1st May 2004, 16:23
Yep, that's the way it works. The carriers will not let the principle drop as that would officially open the floodgates. From the moment that they started to supply tickets to 'bucket shops' (consolidators), then they were confounding their own rules.

Agents that advertise or make a habit of this may get into trouble, individuals are not so likely to be touched as the bad punlicity would not be good. "Airline punishes a person for buying a ticket that they had authorised and permited them to travel on the outward journey of ..."

ps Hi Bumz! :D

Final 3 Greens
2nd May 2004, 08:19
Thanks for the comments guys, BTW I've checked with a lawyer friend and this practise apparently creates a breach of contract between the passenger and the airline (not the agent), so it is unlawful behaviour by the pax.

As you say, it doesn't seem to be an issue for individuals in Europe, as the airlines don't pursue, but apparently this is not the case in the states presently.

It seems that there have been recent court cases for damages, as well as people being added to "refuse" lists and thrown out of FF clubs.

It will be interesting to see if that trend comes to Europe.

2nd May 2004, 13:01
The only time it will become a problem is if you ask for a refund of the unused flight coupon. There are many excuses (read reasons) you can use for not using the return leg... even as lame as a traffic jam. They won't hold the aircraft for you - will they!!?!!

2nd May 2004, 14:03
"Breach of contract" ?

Where in the contract (ticket) or rules (ticketless) of travel does it state that you "must" travel ? As long as you pay for the journey and the airline supplies it then the contract has been fulfilled.

If you choose not to travel then the airline normally has the right to retain your money particularly on discounted tickets. As has been pointed out already, you cannot demand a refund for the unused portion, but your failure to utilize it would be your loss (or gain). How would the airline have suffered a greater loss by your failure to travel than if you had actually travelled ? That would need to be established to even stand a chance of quantifying a loss.

Final 3 Greens
2nd May 2004, 16:40
BeazlebubWhere in the contract (ticket) or rules (ticketless) of travel does it state that you "must" travel ?
Here, in the general conditions that the pax accepts by having the ticket issued, in this case KLM, ....

"(b) The passenger wishing to change any aspect of his
itinerary (i.e. the place of departure, a stopover or the place of destination as mentioned in the ticket), shall contact Carrier in advance. The fare for the altered itinerary will be calculated and the passenger will be given the option of accepting the new fare or maintaining his original itinerary. Should the passenger change his original itinerary without the consent of Carrier, Carrier will assess the correct fare for the altered itinerary. Any difference between the fare of the original itinerary and the fare of the altered itinerary shall be settled in accordance with subparagraph (d)."

"(d) Should the fare of the original itinerary be higher than the fare of the altered itinerary, the difference shall be reimbursed by Carrier to the passenger. Should the fare of the original itinerary be lower than the fare of the altered itinerary, the difference shall be paid by the passenger to Carrier."

My lawyer friend assures me that failing to use the second coupon is changing the original itinerary without the consent of the carrier and thus consitutes breach of contract.

To answer your question about how the loss is calculated, that's pretty simple.

If the A-B fare is EUR500 and the A-B-A fare is EUR 300, then the pax owes the airline EUR200.

Whilst is appears that these contracts are honoured more in the breach ;), if the airline wanted to get stroppy, it could.

Hotel Tango
2nd May 2004, 16:56
DO NOT admit in advance that you will not use the return. Say nothing and simply don't use it. There are a whole host of 'valid last minute reasons you could give as to why you didnt use the return coupon(s) should the airline bother to chase the matter up (which they won't).

Final 3 Greens
2nd May 2004, 17:44
Hotel Tango

I'd choose not to do that, because this flight is on business for a client.

Would they expect me to submit a falsified invoice? Of course not, so why would they expect me to take a dodgy deal from their corporate travel agent.

Notwithstanding the fact that I would, no doubt, get away with it, what message would it send about my professional ethics?

If they can't afford a legit ticket, I'd rather not do business with them.

And of course, they have subsequently paid for a legit ticket.

Hotel Tango
2nd May 2004, 18:56
F3G , I was in fact responding to Bumz-rush and making a general statement vis-a-vis a cheap return versus an expensive one-way. If airlines insist on charging ridiculous one-way fares costing double or more of an excursion type return and I have to pay out of my own pocket, I know what I'm going to do! However, I certainly will not declare my intentions in advance. Your case (i.e client is paying and requires invoice) is different, but you didn't mention that in your first post.

2nd May 2004, 18:57
I have been doing this for years and refined it somewhat through back to back tickets.

This is where you buy two return tickets.
For example, a day return can be very expensive so the way round it is to buy two over the weekend returns with the two outward flights being on the same day.

If you are really lucky as I have been, I have been able to use the other returns as an out and back too hence getting two trips for less than half the cost of one.

Final 3 Greens
2nd May 2004, 19:22
It seems that the airlines must be aware of all this activity (their revenue leakage people are pretty smart) and yet it is allowed.

Do I detect collusion with pax, for whatever reason?

Makes easy, the Ryans and other locos look pretty above board, since all the sectors are priced individually, thus avoiding this nonsense.


You didn't say that you were responding to Bumz Rush, that makes your post read a little differently too.

4th May 2004, 02:56
Buying several return tickets at once is legal.

To obtain the cheapest fare between two international ports for a regular commuter we combined several advance puchase fares as the passenger didn't stay long enough at the destination. Thus he travelled on one ticket and returned on another. His first return leg was at full fare, but the rest wasn't.

There is nothing in the rule books that say that you cannot do it.

Final 3 Greens
4th May 2004, 07:05
Animal Club

No one is saying that the practices discussed here are not legal.

Not legal means committing a criminal offence and breach of contract in this instance is not a criminal offence (to the best of my knowledge.)

The example you give is different to the one I quoted, but if you read KLMs t&c's carefully, I think that they could argue their case strongly (since you have in effect changed your itinerary for every ticket) and in any event, they can put you on the refuse list or hurl you out of the FQTV club, since possession is 9/10ths of the law, as the old saying goes.

But since this goes on widely and does not seem to be enforced in Europe at least, then the airlines must be choosing to turn a blind eye... I still wouldn't take the risk, why should I, as a professional I use the ethics argument to justify advice given and if I as busted for flying on a dodgy ticket, it wouldn't make me look too good, would it?

4th May 2004, 12:16
What I find a bit strange is that in the days when we used to construct through fares according to IATA rules (do they still do that?) it was common practice to include ficticious points in the itinerary to achieve a lower fare quote.

So, for example, if you were travelling from Heathrow to Los Angeles via several intermediate points, the fare you paid might actually be that for Southend to Merced CA, although you would never know that unless you deciphered the Fare Construction box on the ticket.

I don't quite grasp the distinction between that practice and this one. It still involved 'throwing away' unused sectors for which the passenger had paid, only in this case those sectors didn't have separate flight coupons.

4th May 2004, 23:31
I feel more is being made of this than perhaps need be. Is there not some distinction between 'change' and 'cancellation'?

Having read the extract of KLM's T&C's it seems to me that they have covered themselves either way quite nicely but that they are essentially ensuring that they are covered for real world changes of itinerary that could of resulted in a higher total fare than at the time of original purchase, not so much non-use which would be of no financial detriment to them what so ever.

Having said that I do agree with the comment regarding not involving any third party unwittingly in the purchase and subsequent use (potential miss-use) use of a ticket in this way.

For my own part where it involves no one else I frequently fail to use the return portion of tickets purchased as a cheaper alternate to the one way ticket, I have never considered it wrong, I have never asked the question to be honest. I shall next time, If I am told that I am in some way contracturally obliged to use both parts my wrist watch may pack up shortly before return causing me to miss the flight. I shall not ask again and will, I sure, by the next trip using the same carrier have forgotten ever having asked the question.
I feel that I am doing nothing morally wrong and really think the chances of being hunted down, dragged through the courts and being made to pay for not using a ticket I have paid for are zero.

Just a thought but surely if I dont travel at all then I have no itinerary (and therefore contract with the carrier) therefore I cannot change it and consequently be charged extra since it doesn't exists as I have failed to check in, travel under and be bound by said contract or T&C's laid down by the carrier.
This is un-notified cancellation or non-fulfillment on my part, not 'change of itinerary' as referred to and as such how does the carrier determine the cost difference against a non-existent reference. Can they lawfully compare it to the original one way cost as this is not a 'change' of itinerary it is a comparison to something I have already paid for in full but not utilised. From the part of the KLM T&Cs quoted there is no mention of cancellation on my part or of a requirement to notify thereof.

The concept of potentially being forced by law to pay an additional ammount for a service I elect NOT to receive is, to my mind at least, insanity.

Final 3 Greens
5th May 2004, 04:41
Syllogism Check

As insane as it might seem, by buying a cheap return you are enabling yourself to take advantage of an offer that is not available to one way pax.

Therefore if you cancel by no showing, the theory is that you are liable to pay the difference for receiving less :(

But it never seems to be enforced.

In terms of natural justice, this seems very unfair and I do wonder if there is a defence of unfair contract/dominant party, but to be honest I'm not going to tak the risk for reasons stated in earlier posts.

O'Leary may take some stick on these boards, but what you pay with Ryanair (and easy) is straight forward and transparent.

What irritates me about this subject is that the person potentially left carrying the baby in this game is the pax,when it is the industry who set up and manipulate the rules f :mad: g great.

5th May 2004, 09:10
the logical extension of this to a 'reductio ad absurdum'seems to be the passenger who arrives at destination, dies and is cremated. Ashes shipped back separately, can the airline then claim off the passengers' estate for the flight he/she didn't take because of force majeure?

I know it's silly, but so is a there and back ending up cheaper than a one way.

5th May 2004, 10:19

I was with an airline when my staff issued the aforementioned tickets. If any error was made in a fare construction it was my job to collect the difference in fares. I never had to.

Please, may I suggest that you call the airline offering these strange fares and ask the question about not utilising the second coupon. The airlines are not idiots... they know that this situation is going to occur time and again and obviously don't care. They want a bum on a seat and will do almost anything to get it as their product is the most perishable item. There's no chance of resurecting the seat once the aircraft has departed.

I started with the airlines in the days mentioned by Desk Jockey and felt bound to offer the cheapest fare available for any itinerary so long as it was within (in those days) IATA rules and airline fare construction rules (it won me business). So rules change... use them to your advantage. The airlines want you to. They want your business.

If you're ever in doubt about any offer from an airline call the airline concerened. You may need to call a couple of times (speak to different people) to get the interpretation of the rules that you want, but 9 times out of 10 the airline will agree with your interpretation. Be bold!!

Sorry if I bored you.

5th May 2004, 13:45
Similarly, if you book a cheap return on a ferry and only travel one way, the ferry company reserves the right to charge the full one way fare to your credit card.

Presumably nothing in law to stop the airlines doing this as well. To answer F3G's legal concerns, I think this would be the most likely outcome if an airline were to take any action.

1st Jun 2004, 17:23
In my example the airline (B A ) actually, when I requested a one way flight, told me it was cheaper to buy a return.....then issued the return ticket....I moved to the next desk, and was then asked would I mind cancelling the return sector now...to make it easier for them......

Also....was I entitled to reclaim the unused airport tax........

7th Jun 2004, 15:53
I have been a frequent traveller in Europe over the last year and while asking at the ticket desk for routes/fares etc., BA, AF & LH agents all suggested booking 2 return tickets back to back over a two week period, if doing 2 trips within a week to get a cheaper fare......use the system!!

8th Jun 2004, 07:23
CosmosSchwartz... they cannot do that. The passenger can plead any number of reasons (not excuses) for not taking the return journey - from say a traffic jam to a death in the family. As I said these operators want your business. Use their rules and you'll win.

8th Jun 2004, 08:56
The airlines can use the rules to charge the extra. But in general they won't do it unless they can see an individual passenger regularly and deliberately abusing the fare rules. It's not worth their while for the person who only does it once or twice.

8th Jun 2004, 10:02
There is a new "Departure Control System" in development which will eventually eliminate these anomalies (estimated roll-out 2006).

Just how far the participating airlines want to take "Son of DCS" isn't yet clear, but the major selling point is the ability to maximise revenue and prevent "fiddling" IATA fares.

As I get more details of this new DCS capability, I'll post a new thread.

11th Jun 2004, 01:27
Sorry to come in a bit late on this thread. Last year I wanted to buy Stansted-Antalya return with roughly an eight week stay. Some agents suggested to avoid the high price versus the 7/10/14 day cheaper tickets, I should buy two returns for eight weeks apart, using the outward part of the earlier ticket and the return part of the later one. Another agent said this would not work, as any ticket where the outward was not used has its return automatically cancelled. Is that right, or did I throw my money away on the expensive ticket?

11th Jun 2004, 05:29
The agent was dead right. If any segment in an itinerary is not flown, the rest of the itinerary is auto-cancelled and reservations staff are instructed not to re-instate the booking unless the customer proves that the "non-flown" segment was, in fact, completed.

(This has caused problems in a few cases where the airline has cancelled a flight at the last minute (eg technical problem) and dispersed the pax using a "Flight Interruption Manifest" document! The agent issuing the "FIM" does not have to amend the booking at the time, as the FIM is used for speed, but should make the amendment at a later stage. Unfortunately, if that amendment is not done, the itinerary will auto-cancel!)

Final 3 Greens
11th Jun 2004, 06:23
Update/Another dodgy offer

I've just had another "dodgy" offer from the same travel agent, who is the corporate provider for one of my clients.

I need to go A-C-B-A.

The agent suggested a dodgy return A-B-A (throw away the return), a dodgy return C-B-C (throw away the return that is some weeks hence), a single B-C and then a dodgy return B-A-B (throw away the return.)

This is taking the p*ss to a pretty serious degree IMHO and poking the airline (same carrier for all flights) with a sharp stick.

So I have refused this offer and following my own research, booked two returns, A-B-A and B-C-B, saving over 250 euros on the barmy schedule form the agent.

Having studied the fare rules, I cannot see any problem with doing this, since I am not altering either itinerary.

The fact is that I have a meeting in country C, then go to country B for 3 days, returning to country C for 2 days, before returning home. So the flight sequence will be A-C-B, then B-C and then C-A.

Bealine, do you think that this is a legit itinerary? NB: carrier is not BA ;)

11th Jun 2004, 09:57
Thanks for the information bealine. I was beginning to think from the above, that I'd stupidly not taken advantage of something "everyone" does. Cheers!

Pax Vobiscum
13th Jun 2004, 13:38
I'm sure bealine is right about the return leg being cancelled - the way round this is to get two tickets, one A-B-A and the other B-A-B, the second half of each ticket being thrown away if not needed.

As an example, my security consultancy work often requires me to go to a client for a day or two to 'do my thing', come back home for a week to record my findings, and then return to client to present my findings. Hence a typical itinerary might be:
Day 1 - early LHR-FRA
Day 2 - evening return from FRA-LHR
Day 8 - early LHR-FRA
Day 8 - evening return FRA-LHR

It's much cheaper to book two tickets, say BA Day1 LHR-FRA, day 8 FRA-LHR and LH Day2 FRA-LHR, day 8 LHR-FRA, than to do the obvious! Sometimes the client changes the date of day 8 to day 9 or 10 and, since the tickets are usually not flexible, I have to buy another, but it still works out cheaper for me (and the client, who's usually paying :D ). I don't know if this would work just as easily for Antalya, but I don't see why not.

Final 3 Greens, if your itinerary is A-C-B-C-A, then you need returns A-C-A and C-B-C (I suspect this is what you meant to say and the hypothetical destinations have caused confusion). AFAIK there's no problem with this, although I'll let the experts have the final call. I don't know if A, B & C are all european destinations. If this is a long-haul trip, then there are all sorts of issues about stopovers etc that could complicate matters still further.

Final 3 Greens
13th Jun 2004, 15:20
Pax Vobiscum

You are quite right in the sequence :O

14th Jun 2004, 12:53
CosmosSchwartz/Animalclub from the P&O Ferries website, under Ts&Cs:

"All tickets of Restricted Duration are only valid where the outward and return journeys are completed within the specified period of time, with the same vehicle and passengers and using the same operator. If you fail to travel on one part of your booking then we may charge you a supplement. That supplement will be the difference between the amount you have paid and the price for the standard single fare appropriate to the sailing used. This payment will be collected using the credit card details provided when paying for the original booking."

If you sign up with them then you sign up to their Ts&Cs!!

14th Jun 2004, 14:44
the way round this is to get two tickets

........and, the other workaround is to buy two return tickets where you know you're only going to show for the outward sector (usually, because of stupid "fare rule" anomalies, far cheaper than the one way fare!) of each!:p

14th Jun 2004, 19:00
There is a problem with Antalya, unlike loco (or other) destinations within Europe. I can't buy the B-A-B ticket, AYT-UK-AYT, you mention Pax Vobiscum, within the UK in advance. Still, we can't really expect everything to be low cost just because we want it. :( C'est la vie!

15th Jun 2004, 03:00
Newswatcher - pay cash.

15th Jun 2004, 08:03
animalclub if you have found a way of using cash for an online booking, you should patent it. :confused: I find the coins get stuck in the wiring! :p

16th Jun 2004, 01:20
newswatcher... Good point. Any chance of visiting a travel agent or airline office to use cash?

16th Jun 2004, 08:05
Need to go to Milan Linate tomorrow from London.

Looked at Easi: Stansted to Linate 71.99 inc all taxes, but I hate Stansted, and not too keen on fighting for seat, etc.

Looked at BA: web site easy to navigate, but I hit "return" not one way, and saw 317.00. Made note, made cup of tea, and returned to follow up.

Followed up: return is 317 single is 401. I opted for same fare structure. (except -return-.) both ex LHR.

How are we as non travel agent professionals expected to actually pay 70 more for a flight, in same aircraft, same seats, same food, and possibly same destination.....

comments please.

16th Jun 2004, 12:18
Bumz_Rush, pity you don't like Stansted, as Ryanair will take you to Bergamo for a mere 64!

Is Gatwick any good? Same price from Easyjet for one way to Linate.

At Heathrow, BMI will take you one way for 137.

Otherwise Alitalia seem to have a two-way for about 90 inc! But I sympathize with you, when I see that they want a whopping 270 for one way!

Have a good trip!:ok: