I'm scheduled to fly WAS-PHX next week for business, and just received news of my grandfather's passing. I'll need to head back a little earlier than planned from PHX to make it to TPA for the services.
It looks like UA will refund change fees
in the event of a death in the immediate family, so I started looking at my options. First, I looked at earlier flights back to WAS that would give me time to turn around and leave immediately WAS-TPA... and all of the fare differences were astronomical. Then I looked at switching my return to PHX-TPA directly, which was safer anyway, and this reduced the cost to $270 (plus the change fee, which would ostensibly be refunded after I sent a copy of death certificate).
But then I looked at what it would cost to just book a one-way PHX-TPA... and it's under $150. Obviously, this is the most economical choice, by far. No change fee to be refunded, half the price of the fare change offered to me.
What might happen if I leave my original ticket alone, ditch my return flights, and fly out on an earlier one-way ticket to the funeral? Will one or both itineraries get canceled if they see an overlap in the system? I've never had to do this, and I know the airlines are immensely paranoid about anyone who is seen as attempting to "game" the system in some way. I just want to get to my grandfather's funeral after my business trip without spending twice what I would otherwise have to!