Is it fair to buy a return ticket I know I will never use just because it's cheaper?

  • I am planning a trip to Asia and then back to Rio. The thing is that I am traveling on flexible dates, so I am thinking of buying a one way ticket to Hong Kong, and I was planning to do the same when I want to come back.

    But what I noticed is that, for example, a one way ticket from Melbourne to Rio costs no less than $2700 dollars for the month of May.

    When I do a search for a round-trip from Melbourne to Rio and back, I can find flights for $2200.

    I know I will not be using that return to Melbourne, but I'd still prefer to save those $500.

    Can there be any issue with buying a round-trip with a return that I will never use?

    The flight route is ZRH -> AUS

    Although not relevant for the question, I understand you're travelling from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to Melbourne (Australia); you're mentioning Asia, but Melbourne is not in Asia.

    Yep, sorry about that. I meant I am starting my trip in Asia, but then I plan to end it up in Australia

    "Is it posssible?" or "Is it risky?" might be fair questions, but "Is it fair" is outside the scope of the site.

    This has nothing to do with fairness. The seat is paid and the airline won't go bankrupt because of this and no employee will loose his job. They might even be able to sell the seat to another traveller and earn extra money.

    @choster - unusual wording in the title, but the question in the text is the relevant part. And as people have said, there can be issues :/

    @choster excuse me, english is not my native language, maybe I used wrong wording.In anyway I am trying to understand what are the possible risks involved ;)

    @JordanBelf: FYI: When I search for one-way tickets from Melbourne to Rio in May (e.g. May 4th +- 3 days), I get $1485 (I used kayak.com). You might want to search again!

    @Briguy37 Thanks! You are right! I always use Ita Matrix which I thought was what Kayak was using. $1500 is amazing! =)

    Not much. You just missed your flight back. If this happens for real you have to buy a new ticket

    This Q is confusing. I can't tell what the intended itinerary was, or what the OP was trying to do. The Q mentions **Asia** and **Rio** and **Hong Kong** and **Melbourne**, and a comment mentions **Zurich** and **Austin** (AUS is Austin-Bergstrom). The Q says "_back_ to Rio", as if the trip starts in Rio, but also "Melbourne to Rio", and a comment from the OP says they are "starting [their] trip in Asia" and "end[ing] it up in Australia". I know this is a really old Q, but in the interest of tidying up, can someone with more knowledge and power than I clean up the Q and its comment thread?

    The question is quite simple to understand. I remind you that the question is the one that starts with a capital letter and ends with a question mark. "Is it fair to buy a return ticket I know I will never use just because it's cheaper?" Everything else is simply to give a context, but the question should be simple to understand by anyone as it was 41,285 times.

  • uncovery

    uncovery Correct answer

    8 years ago

    You can do that. since one-way tickets are (almost) always more expensive. Booking a flexible return ticket will also be more expensive than the single ticket version, but you should look into it, since it should be cheaper than the double-return tickets in most cases.

    But you better make sure that you know where and how to buy a ticket in Hong Kong and how much it will cost you AND you need to make sure which countries require you to have a home ticket before they let you in.

    You will have to show return tickets on some immigration checkpoints or even airport check-ins. If you combine several stations and not have a valid return ticket, they will not let you travel.

    Example: You fly to Hong Kong and stay there past the date of your intended ticket back home. You travel to Japan and then back to Hong Kong with the intention to buy a ticket back home in Hong Kong once you are there. At the check-in in Japan back to Hong Kong they will give you trouble already because you do not have a resident visa and you do not have an onwards trip booked.

    Due to this issue, you might be better off to buy a flexible ticket where you can change the flight back from the beginning. Unless you can determine from the beginning which countries you go to, where you will buy what ticket and where you need an ticket back home or one for an onwards flight, you will have difficulties planning the trip without running into problems.

    Or you book the flight back way past the intended return date - but close enough so that you are not indicating to an immigration officer that you will overstay your visa requirements. Then you just buy a new ticket to get back home instead of using your old one.

    ** Some more info regarding flexible tickets **

    You have to know that for each flight, there are several different tickets with different prices - even if you buy at the same time from the same airline. The price depends on the flexibility of changing the ticket. If you want the cheapest ticket, you can get those, but changes can be VERY Expensive, up to the price of a new ticket. If you want to be more flexible, you will need to pay more for the ticket, but it you will be able to change it for a smaller fee.

    I can only recommend you to call a travel agent to help you understand your ticket options. Since most online ticket sales are geared to sell cheap tickets, those often cannot be changed.

    Thanks! I was not very aware of the issue with the 1-way tickets (besides the price). As my trip will start in Hong Kong but will end in Melbourne I am sure I won't be going up again to Hong Kong although I have a return ticket from there. My new issue is that now I have to buy return tickets for every destination I was planning to visit (Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia) even though I have no idea how long I will stay. What happens if I have that return ticket from HK will that count or I need a return for each of the countries? Thanks a lot

    I would **strongly** recommend you to talk to a travel agent. You do not need a "return" ticket for each destination. You only need a ticket that lets you leave the country before your visa expires. The immigration worries that you fly into their country and then they have to pay your flight home. That should not be a problem. If you start booking this by yourself you are going to spend 10x the amount than if you ask a travel agent for information on airlines, prices, and flexible bookings. You can then still go and buy the tickets yourself online.

    Thanks.I will be visiting my agency tomorrow morning. Basically my idea for the trip was to get into each country and decide once there how long I would stay (inside the timeframe of my visa) I understand that is not a possibility now and I must say how long I will stay even before getting is.I think it is a little bit absurd but looks like it is how it works. Thanks a lot for all your help.

    If you get the right tickets, you can still move them around. Keep in mind that Hotels in Hong Kong and Japan are quite expensive so you wont stay forever, and Hong Kong is not a place where you do sightseeing for 3 months. So some corner times can be set anyhow.

    Hotels in Hong Kong are quite cheap, compared to Western Europe anyway.

    "one-way tickets are always more expensive". Not always. I have found many instances where the one way ticket was significantly cheaper. It pays to check.

    Fair point, corrected above accordingly.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM