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Delta prohibits 'throwaway' ticketing

A Delta Air Lines plane taxis on the

A Delta Air Lines plane taxis on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, U.S. (July 20, 2009) (Credit: Bloomberg)

Q: My family needs to fly from Baton Rouge to Richmond. To fly as cheaply as possible, I bought three one-way fares from Atlanta to Richmond for $60 each. Now, I need to find a cheap fare from Baton Rouge to Atlanta to connect to the Atlanta-Richmond flight. Round-trip fares from Baton Rouge to Atlanta are cheaper than one-ways, so I thought we'd buy a round-trip and not use the return flight. (The flight into Atlanta arrives at 5:58 p.m. I was going to buy a flight from Atlanta to Richmond leaving at 6:30 p.m. Is that too tight?) And Delta says we would be charged $150 a ticket as a change fee for a flight we didn't take. Can they do that?

A: Atlanta Hartsfield is huge and prone to delays. You probably wouldn't be able to run to your connection and make the boarding cutoff for your next flight. If you miss it, even if there are seats on the next flight, you'll pay a "walk-up" fare. Delta's rules prohibit "throwaway ticketing," which is what you propose by not using the return flight of a round-trip ticket. Will they charge you $150? It doesn't sound like good customer relations.

Tags: airlines

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