Because round-trip airline tickets are sometimes less expensive than one-way tickets, some travelers purchase the less expensive round-trip fare and simply do not use the return portion. Doing it this way is fairly easy to accomplish, but certain restrictions can add considerable complications to the process.

Step 1.

Contact the airline before the day of the flight. Ask the company to modify the round-trip ticket for one-way usage. Although airlines practice a varying degree of flexibility, many airlines will modify a round-trip fare to allow one-way use, though some airlines may charge a penalty or fee for this service.

Step 2.

Use the ticket for the outbound flight. When the day of the flight arrives, check in at the airport and board the plane under normal flight procedures. Your flight accommodation will not change based on the one-way or round-trip status of your ticket.

Step 3.

Contact the airline again when you reach your destination. If you were unsuccessful in negotiating with the airline in Step 1, contact the airline and ask for a change to your return date or a refund on the unused portion of your ticket. If you are unconcerned with a refund or change to your return-trip ticket, disregard this step.

Step 4.

Contact the airline when you are ready to return. If you were able to successfully negotiate a change to the return portion of your ticket, verify the change and check in at the airport for your updated return flight. If you were not able to negotiate a change, you may need to purchase a new ticket for your return flight.


Ticket change policies vary from airline to airline, and some airlines may charge a hefty ticket change fee for modifying your return ticket. If the change fee exceeds the cost of a new ticket, simply purchase a new ticket instead.


Do not return to the airport for the return flight when its day arrives. This process is valid for using a round-trip ticket to fly to a destination but not return; many airlines automatically cancel the return portion of a round-trip ticket if you are not on the departing flight.