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Strategy for flexible return from Europe on paid J

Strategy for flexible return from Europe on paid J

Old Jun 21, 22, 11:28 am
  #1  
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Question Strategy for flexible return from Europe on paid J

One way J tickets to Europe are about as much as round trip. I'd like to purchase RT, get there, and then change my return for when I feel like coming back.

How will my return fare be calculated? Would it be half of the RT pricing at that moment or would it be the one-way pricing? Should I book the original return far in the future and then move it up?

Booking it sooner and then canceling for fight credit seems like a bad idea because I'd be just purchasing a one-way ticket for the return.

Miles one way tickets don't seem to have the same annoying pricing as paid but I don't want to use miles.
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Old Jun 21, 22, 3:52 pm
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If you are booking a ticket in J, then I would be very surprised if there was any issue changing to any date that you want; just phone and make the change

If you are not buying J, but another discounted class, then it all depends on the fare rules; looking at the lowest NYC-LON fares of AA, date and time changes seem to be free. You would of course need availability in the booking class or there would be more to pay; looking at the fare rules, I cannot see that you would be able to cancel for credit anyway

If you actually wamt a one way ticket, I would suggest picking another airline. TP, for example, has a one way fare from New York to London for $1111 and Icelandair at $1457 and SQ at $2022

You can then buy a r/t ticket when you want to return from $2300 or a one way for $1500.
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Last edited by Dave Noble; Jun 21, 22 at 4:02 pm
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Old Jun 21, 22, 4:31 pm
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Thanks Dave Noble. I'll be booking discount J. As an example I started booking a $5k INX8C8S3 RT fare in August. Then I searched EF for I class availability on the same return itin starting a few days from now and see reasonable options with I class availability.

Do you believe I'd be able to switch to one of those flights for no cost if I were there now on this INX8C8S3 fare booked ticket? Just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly as I may be confusing fare class with booking class.
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Old Jun 21, 22, 4:50 pm
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Do you really want to spend $5000 when you can get options for half that price?

Not sure on dates and route you are looking at, but AA's I class fares ex USA to Europe seem to allow free changes, so you can change the return to your heart's content. There is the issue that there has to be I availability on the flight you wish to change to, otherwise you will be looking at several hundred dollars in fare difference

Obviously you do need to meet any minimum stay requirement
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Old Jun 21, 22, 6:07 pm
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Originally Posted by rayfes View Post
As an example I started booking a $5k INX8C8S3 RT fare in August. Then I searched EF for I class availability on the same return itin starting a few days from now and see reasonable options with I class availability.

Do you believe I'd be able to switch to one of those flights for no cost if I were there now on this INX8C8S3 fare booked ticket? Just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly as I may be confusing fare class with booking class.
Return flights can often be changed using historical fare rules, so you should have more flexibility in terms of changing the return date. That said, there may be one-way private or consolidator options on AA for much less than $5,000 o/w depending your your departure city.
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Old Jun 21, 22, 7:04 pm
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Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
Return flights can often be changed using historical fare rules, so you should have more flexibility in terms of changing the return date. That said, there may be one-way private or consolidator options on AA for much less than $5,000 o/w depending your your departure city.
It's more the ability to use original booking date to measure advance purchase (in addition to using historical fare filings) as most cheaper roundtrip J fares to Europe can have significant advance purchase requirements (up to 90 days). But this fare rule only applies if changing the return after departure. If you attempt to change return before departure, they will use change date to measure advance purchase and you may have to pay a significant fare difference due to no longer qualifying for cheaper longer advance purchase fares. However, as noted above, you also still need original booking class inventory on a flight ('I' in this case) to keep existing fare. You also still need to meet minimum stay requirements on roundtrip fares (not an issue if just extending return). There are also somewhat cheaper fares for mid-week departures vs. weekend. So if you originally book a mid-week return and want to change to a weekend, you will generally get bumped up to a slightly higher priced fare and will have to pay fare difference.

The advance purchase requirements is encoded in 4th letter of fare basis code on international fares. The '8' in fourth letter of INX8C8S3 means this fare has a 28-day advance purchase requirement. 9 = 90, 6=60, 5=50, 8=28, 4=14, 7=7. There would have likely been cheaper 50-day or 60-day advance purchase fares available if booked a few weeks ago (it is now too late to qualify for them for flights in earlier August). There are also cheaper seasonal fares for departures in September and beyond.

Last edited by xliioper; Jun 21, 22 at 7:20 pm
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Old Jun 21, 22, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
But this fare rule only applies if changing the return after departure.
I presumed this would not be a problem given the OP was initially searching for one-way fares, but your assessment is certainly more complete.

One strategy is to book the latest (or nearly latest) possible return date valid for the desired fare and change it as return plans firm up.
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Old Jun 21, 22, 8:50 pm
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Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
I presumed this would not be a problem given the OP was initially searching for one-way fares, but your assessment is certainly more complete.

One strategy is to book the latest (or nearly latest) possible return date valid for the desired fare and change it as return plans firm up.
Note that it's still possible to book a return for later August and qualify for 50-day or 60-day advance purchase fares (even if outbound flight only qualifies for a 28-day advance purchase fare). However, if you attempt to change return date after departure to be less than 50 days out from original booking date, you would only qualify for the pricier 28-day advance purchase fares. Also, if you book a return in September on a cheaper seasonal fare that requires September travel or later and want to change it to an August return, you will also get bumped to a higher priced non-seasonal fare.
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Old Jun 22, 22, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
Note that it's still possible to book a return for later August and qualify for 50-day or 60-day advance purchase fares (even if outbound flight only qualifies for a 28-day advance purchase fare). However, if you attempt to change return date after departure to be less than 50 days out from original booking date, you would only qualify for the pricier 28-day advance purchase fares. Also, if you book a return in September on a cheaper seasonal fare that requires September travel or later and want to change it to an August return, you will also get bumped to a higher priced non-seasonal fare.
So, in general, is the answer that for changes after departure, if your new flight falls within your existing fare rules and has the correct inventory, you are fine?

And what if your new itinerary breaks the fare rules? Is it repriced using current fares or fares at the time you booked?
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Old Jun 22, 22, 4:19 am
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
So, in general, is the answer that for changes after departure, if your new flight falls within your existing fare rules and has the correct inventory, you are fine?

And what if your new itinerary breaks the fare rules? Is it repriced using current fares or fares at the time you booked?
The definitive answer is given in the fare rules. generally, changing the dates after commencement of journey will allow for repricing based on fares on date of purchase, but should check rules for certain. If existing fare can be used, then it can be a free change
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Old Jun 22, 22, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
So, in general, is the answer that for changes after departure, if your new flight falls within your existing fare rules and has the correct inventory, you are fine?

And what if your new itinerary breaks the fare rules? Is it repriced using current fares or fares at the time you booked?
It is repriced using fares available at the time you booked if you use historical date for measuring advance purchase, but you will still be subject to same rules in them (and the fare filings at the time you booked could be lower, equal, or higher than current fare filings). So if you book a fare that requires Sun-Thu inbound travel and change return to be on a Fri-Sat, it will refare to the historical fare for Fri-Sat inbound travel. Or if you originally booked a return fare that requires a 50-day advance purchase, and change return date to be earlier so that it no longer meets the 50-day advance requirement from historical time of booking, it will refare to the higher historical fare that has shorter advance purchase requirement (typically, 28 days). This also assumes there is bucket inventory available on flights corresponding to the fare class for these fares. They won't reprice outbound flown fare unless you do something more drastic like change return date so that it no longer meets min stay requirements of outbound roundtrip fare (typically a Saturday night or 7 days). Booking "Roundtrip fares" always involves booking an outbound and return fare together. The "roundtrip" part refers to the roundtrip booking/min stay requirements in the fares and does not imply that a single fare is involved. You can search historical fares on ExpertFlyer by backdating ticketing date.
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Last edited by xliioper; Jun 22, 22 at 7:41 am
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Old Jun 23, 22, 6:50 am
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Thank you for the thoughtful replies! Specifically I'm looking for AUS-MUC leaving in the next month or 2 and returning before it gets cold. Cursory search of google flights showed $5k RT on AA throughout the summer. I have had good experiences with short haul TP and am open to non-AA carriers. If a much cheaper lie flat J option exists I'll take it.

To summarize the findings here, I need to follow the fare rules for the original ticket which means making sure I meet any advance purchase and day of the week reqs for example. If I change the return after the outbound, the advanced purchase req may be 50 or 60 days.

I'll also need to make sure there is fare class availability as well. Meeting those reqs should result in a free-of-charge return flt change.

I have no doubt I'll need to call in to change the return. Thanks again!
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Old Jun 23, 22, 9:42 am
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Based on what you're trying to do, I think the two biggest issues you will face are (1) day of week of travel, and (2) inventory availability. Obviously read the fare rules to know what days your return fare is valid on, and then keep the revised return date on one of those valid days. That said, changing from, say, a Mon-Thurs fare to a Fri-Sun fare usually isn't more than a couple hundred $ (in business). Inventory availability will be a crapshoot, sometimes they can be very stingy on "I" inventory. Flying an O/D pair with lots of flight and routing options obviously helps, I'm not sure how many choices you'll have for AUS-MUC (only via LHR?) unless you're okay with two stops.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by rayfes View Post
Thank you for the thoughtful replies! Specifically I'm looking for AUS-MUC leaving in the next month or 2 and returning before it gets cold. Cursory search of google flights showed $5k RT on AA throughout the summer. I have had good experiences with short haul TP and am open to non-AA carriers. If a much cheaper lie flat J option exists I'll take it.

To summarize the findings here, I need to follow the fare rules for the original ticket which means making sure I meet any advance purchase and day of the week reqs for example. If I change the return after the outbound, the advanced purchase req may be 50 or 60 days.

I'll also need to make sure there is fare class availability as well. Meeting those reqs should result in a free-of-charge return flt change.

I have no doubt I'll need to call in to change the return. Thanks again!
If you are thinking you will likely stay 2 weeks or more (which appears to be the case), there are AA I fares from around $4K roundtrip on AUS-MUC with a 14-day minimum stay requirement. These also have a 50-day advance purchase requirement. So the soonest departure date from today (June 23rd) would be August 12th (to meet 50-day advance purchase) and the earliest return date would be August 26th (to meet 14 day minimum stay requirement). The longer you wait to purchase, the further back you will have to push departure date in order to meet 50-day advance purchase requirement.
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Old Jun 23, 22, 7:31 pm
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Here is a starting point...I took out all the airports with recliner seats in J, capped it at $1500 one-way, but you may have to start in a different city, like JFK. There are some angle flats there with Condor, too. Probably TAP is your best option for $1100, JFK-LGW or get off at LIS....Or Condor to Germany for the same price but with angle flats...

Austin and 6 more to Europe | Explore (google.com)

Austin and 6 more to London | Google Flights


If you are adamant to depart from AUS, this is your flight:

Austin to Frankfurt | Google Flights


Then it will be easier to return from Europe one way or roundtrip in J for under $1700...Or with AA miles in October....
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