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Throwaway ticket/ HCT - what to tell the Immigration/Customs officer?

Throwaway ticket/ HCT - what to tell the Immigration/Customs officer?

Old Feb 21, 16, 11:45 am
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Throwaway ticket/ HCT - what to tell the Immigration/Customs officer?

hi guys,
new here on the forum, I've been browsing through the topics on throwaway tickets and came across that we should tell NO ONE if we intend to not take the last segment on our reservation...but being a complete newbie at this, what if the boarder services guy ask? do you tell them then?

my situation is this:
frequently fly from Canada A, to a city in USA B, for work.
usually I book pretty early and get a good fare, but this week I fell behind and booked last friday for a flight intending to leave the following Monday.

I found, A to B round trip was going to cost over $2000, where as a similar trip A to B to C, C to B to A was going to cost only $800...

I don't intend to go to C at all.

stupidly i called the United Premier desk and they told me my entire reservation would be canceled if i missed a flight but its ok if i book separately...what I ended up booking was A to B to C on one reservation and a separate return trip just B to A at a slightly higher cost.

Now, I'm worried about what the boarder guys will ask. from my experience they have always asked where I'm going and doing there...since my return trip on Friday doesn't match my destination on Monday, should I just tell them the truth that I intend to go to B because it was a lot cheaper to book and just throw away my B to C ticket? would that get my in trouble? don't want get in trouble with my Nexus nor the airline...

any advice would be appreciated.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by flyer321 View Post
hi guys,
new here on the forum, I've been browsing through the topics on throwaway tickets and came across that we should tell NO ONE if we intend to not take the last segment on our reservation...but being a complete newbie at this, what if the boarder services guy ask? do you tell them then?

my situation is this:
frequently fly from Canada A, to a city in USA B, for work.
usually I book pretty early and get a good fare, but this week I fell behind and booked last friday for a flight intending to leave the following Monday.

I found, A to B round trip was going to cost over $2000, where as a similar trip A to B to C, C to B to A was going to cost only $800...

I don't intend to go to C at all.

stupidly i called the United Premier desk and they told me my entire reservation would be canceled if i missed a flight but its ok if i book separately...what I ended up booking was A to B to C on one reservation and a separate return trip just B to A at a slightly higher cost.

Now, I'm worried about what the boarder guys will ask. from my experience they have always asked where I'm going and doing there...since my return trip on Friday doesn't match my destination on Monday, should I just tell them the truth that I intend to go to B because it was a lot cheaper to book and just throw away my B to C ticket? would that get my in trouble? don't want get in trouble with my Nexus nor the airline...

any advice would be appreciated.
Honesty is always the best policy with customs and immigration officials.

But there's no need to volunteer unsolicited information about why you're going to B via C on this ticket, other than it was cheaper than going directly to B.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 11:49 am
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Welcome to FT, flyer321!

Originally Posted by flyer321 View Post
since my return trip on Friday doesn't match my destination on Monday, should I just tell them the truth that I intend to go to B because it was a lot cheaper to book and just throw away my B to C ticket? would that get my in trouble?
Never lie to a border agent. They have unlimited power and no sense of humor. Border agents don't care about throw-away tickets, and they won't even know about your B to C segment anyway.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 11:49 am
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How about the truth? Lying to law enforcement will usually result in more problems...
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Old Feb 21, 16, 11:51 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk!

I highly doubt it will come up. If it does, just tell him if you plan to go from C to B on your own.

In the future, you can schedule it so the B to C throwaway flight leaves the following day ( as you have I believe 24 hours for the connection).
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Old Feb 21, 16, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by zrs70 View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk!

I highly doubt it will come up. If it does, just tell him if you plan to go from C to B on your own.

In the future, you can schedule it so the B to C throwaway flight leaves the following day ( as you have I believe 24 hours for the connection).
4 hours is the maximum cnx time for a North American ticket before you get charged for a stop over, unless there is no flight leaving in that window.

24 hrs applies to inter-continental itineraries.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 12:02 pm
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thank you for the responses and reassurance everyone =)
tell as is it is!
thanks again, much appreciated!
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Old Feb 21, 16, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by zrs70 View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk!

I highly doubt it will come up. If it does, just tell him if you plan to go from C to B on your own.

In the future, you can schedule it so the B to C throwaway flight leaves the following day ( as you have I believe 24 hours for the connection).
Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
4 hours is the maximum cnx time for a North American ticket before you get charged for a stop over, unless there is no flight leaving in that window.

24 hrs applies to inter-continental itineraries.
These replies are somewhere between confusing and bad advice.

. It is quite possible that the officer will ask the OP where he is going. OP should just say "B".

. It is almost certainly not the case that the officer would say "but you have a ticket to C". If he does, just tell the truth. Their job is not to enforce airline click through contracts.

The 24/4 hour issue is 100% irrelevant to customs.

[transprof, I realize your reply was just a correction of zrs70's.]
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Old Feb 21, 16, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Welcome to FT, flyer321!


Never lie to a border agent.
Agreed.

Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
They have ... no sense of humor.
Sure they do, they're people. I've made small talk with them on occasion, and if you get the right vibe, an occasional joke is fine.

E.g.,
Canada border agent: Do you have any firearms?
Me: I know that's the stereotype for us Americans, but no, I do not.

Perfectly benign. But you have to size up your audience obviously.


Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Border agents don't care about throw-away tickets, and they won't even know about your B to C segment anyway.
Many of them absolutely can see your ticket. I've flown one-way into countries, and been asked why I have no return (separate ticket). I've also originated in places that is not home and been asked to explain it (e.g., "Your ticket started in Hawaii, but you live in California.")
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Old Feb 21, 16, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by flyer321 View Post
I found, A to B round trip was going to cost over $2000, where as a similar trip A to B to C, C to B to A was going to cost only $800...

I don't intend to go to C at all.

stupidly i called the United Premier desk and they told me my entire reservation would be canceled if i missed a flight but its ok if i book separately...what I ended up booking was A to B to C on one reservation and a separate return trip just B to A at a slightly higher cost.
In general it's nt a good idea to call the airline to say you're not planning to fly as ticketed -- but they gave you good advice. If you'd not flown B to C on your proposed A-B-C, C-B-A ticket the entire return would have been canceled. So, when you showed up at B to fly back to A you would have had a problem.

Last edited by Xyzzy; Feb 21, 16 at 2:56 pm
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Old Feb 21, 16, 2:58 pm
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flyer321 Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by flyer321 View Post
I don't intend to go to C at all.
<snip>
..what I ended up booking was A to B to C on one reservation and a separate return trip just B to A at a slightly higher cost
If you have checked luggage it may be only available at airport C. You may or may not be able to pick to pick it up at airport B. If carry on only no problem.

If there are flight disurputions the airline has to get you from A to C. This could direct or via any other airport that suits the airline. You may never get to airport B.

All about risk & reward (lower fare)
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Old Feb 21, 16, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by exwannabe View Post
These replies are somewhere between confusing and bad advice.
+1
Agreed.

Originally Posted by exwannabe View Post
It is quite possible that the officer will ask the OP where he is going. OP should just say "B".
+1
What OP plans to do is perfectly legal. It might not be kosher with airline policies, but airline policies are not the law. As long as OP keeps the return ticket on a separate PNR, there is nothing wrong with this plan.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 5:01 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Welcome to FT, flyer321!


Never lie to a border agent. They have unlimited power and no sense of humor. Border agents don't care about throw-away tickets, and they won't even know about your B to C segment anyway.
But they do perhaps know. I got called out in the Netherlands about three weeks ago as I put 4 days as the number of days staying. I was planning to stay one extra day and just do a SDC but since I can't do that until 24 hours of the flight my booked flight was still listed. I'm not sure what pops up on their screens but I'm sure they have access to certain things.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
If you have checked luggage it may be only available at airport C. You may or may not be able to pick to pick it up at airport B.
Unless C is international and B is IAH, he's fine here, since he'll reclaim his bags for customs at B.
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Old Feb 21, 16, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Unless C is international and B is IAH, he's fine here, since he'll reclaim his bags for customs at B.
OP's origination is "Canada", so there is a good chance he clears customs there and checked bags would go on to C.
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