Abandon P fare return portion?

Old Oct 18, 2022, 5:39 am
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Abandon P fare return portion?

So, what pragmatically happens if you have an Air Canada "P" discounted business class return fare to Europe, and you abandon the return portion, i.e. call in to cancel while at destination, or just not check in for the return? Do you just forfeit the unflown part (and get on AC's sh** list if you do it too often and they suspect fare fraud/arbitrage)? Do you retain a prorated portion as credit towards any future AC flights? Or get it as cash back, less penalty? Or can only use the "coupons" for that specific origin-destination pair as a change?

I booked home (Canada) - Europe - home on a really good P fare some months back.
Now a client wants to see me in Asia on the back end, i.e. visit them en route going home the long way. Trouble is, client wants me to use their travel agent, who has access to heavily discounted refundable J. Fine. But that agent says they can't take over and "cash in" my existing ticket (less cancellation fee), client doesn't want to pay my P cancellation fee "for policy reasons", and if they reissue the whole thing they want to bill me back for the "personal" Canada-Europe leg (one way) at their current fares that are much higher than what I paid for the return. After tilting at bureaucratic windmills for a while, I'm inclined to stop arguing, fly to Europe on my existing ticket, have them issue me a separate ticket Europe-Asia-home only, and figure out how to fairly deal with the fallout.

Looking up my specific fare (PRCT87) using CowTool and then hunting up the detailed fare rules on ExpertFlyer, my head is spinning. I'd pay C$600 penalty for outright cancellation and cash refund prior to departure. I'd pay $500 to make a change before or after departure, plus fare difference, but nothing obvious about credits/retained value though I may be looking in the wrong place. Anyone dealt with this sort of stuff before? Thanks!
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Old Oct 18, 2022, 5:51 am
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Really depends what you mean by "abandon".

If you simply no-show for your flight, you won't get a dime back in cash or credit.

If you called to cancel the (Europe - Canada) leg, then the agent would reprice the itinerary as if you'd bought a one-way, and give you any remaining balance back, likely as a voucher. Keep in mind that trans-Atlantic fares can often be nearly as expensive one-way as round-trip, so definitely don't be hoping you'll get back half of what you paid for the Euro trip.

Personally, in your position I'd probably try and pay the $500 to move my (Europe - Canada) leg out to sometime in 2023, then fly to Europe one-way on points, hang out in Europe for a bit and then fly the P-fare leg back home as a mileage run, but then again I have the benefit of a ridiculously flexible schedule where that kind of travel *isn't* a huge pain in the neck.
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Old Oct 18, 2022, 7:40 am
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Can you change your return date to sometime in the future on the off chance that you could use that portion later?
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Old Oct 18, 2022, 8:43 am
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Just don't show up at the gate.

If you were to do this on a regular basis, you might get in trouble. Once or twice won't be an issue. I have done this on occasion. I do know that they keep records, but it never became an issue.

If it were clear that you did this by design they might have a case that you are trying to circumvent the conditions. In your case, you bought in good faith but then something happened. Back to McDonalds insisting giving you a discount as long as you eat their junk in its entirety, which obviously makes no sense. They surely would not want to go to court on a case which they cannot win.
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Old Oct 18, 2022, 1:00 pm
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I know this fare well and COVID was such a great time as all change fees were eliminated from fares. Now that we are back somewhat to normal - the $500 change fee can often be worth it for the crazy discount you got. What will happen if you don't show? With AC - I don't think they chase the occasional or one-time offender and they don't necessarily make automatic debit memos to agencies (but this may not be true). So - you may be fine - but if you booked through an agency then you may end up with a debit memo requiring you to actually pay way more for the privilege of having only flown half the fare. LH is really good at this - and my agency here in Zurich reminds me that I have to fly all the segments as ticketed.

If you want to use it - you are best to find the availability and just rebook and pay - if you can find the space (P . . and especially R . . are becoming rare commodities).

[Adding to the next comment - the PRTC fares are typically 12 months - and allow free stop in selected European gateways in both directions. They are great and very useful. It is true you can take the remaining segments away and then when you are ready to make the change - you can add the flights. For intra-europe short-haul - you can also book in "Y" if P is not available in order to make the fare work. I guess you can also book Y over the ocean but that would not make much sense . . . ]

Last edited by zrh2yvr; Oct 19, 2022 at 12:18 am
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Old Oct 18, 2022, 8:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Academic
Can you change your return date to sometime in the future on the off chance that you could use that portion later?
If it's worth it to you to pay the $500 to change to use it in the future don't do it this way "on the off chance".

My understanding is you can just cancel the return reservation and keep the return ticket open now. You don't pay the $500 fee until you try to rebook. At that point they reprice the whole thing based on the new itinerary and add the $500 fee. If you don't actually use it you can just let the ticket expire after a year.

Note that when it reprices it'll be based on the new itinerary. So for example if you rebook the return to be 9 months after the outbound it might mean your P fare no longer actually applies since it might not allow a 9 month stay length. So it may reprice the whole trip to be in much more expensive fares and not be price effective.
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Old Oct 18, 2022, 9:51 pm
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Can you not fly home on your own ticket, and have your client book the trip to/from Asia. Why do you have to get yourself into a ticket mess for other's convenience?

I was in Japan a few years back on a personal trip, and ticketed back to east coast US. My employer wanted me to stop by our west coast US office before flying home. I told them not a chance.
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Old Oct 19, 2022, 9:12 am
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Fly outbound, call in to cancel return, keep note of your eticket number and see if you can use it again the the future.
when you make the change to a new flight is when they will collect the 500$ penalty plus any adcol for fare/taxes etc
Cancel your ticket entirely, pay the 600$ fee, but only if you can find a good latitude one way or PE with upgrades applied to Europe
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